What are Green Roofs?

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What are Green Roofs? Blog Image

Overview:

According to recent research, green roofs treated with mycorrhizal fungi foster a more diverse soil community that is more likely to support long-term green roof sustainability.

About Green Roofs

  • Green roofs, also known as ‘vegetated roofs’ or ‘living roofs’ — are ballasted roofs consisting of a waterproofing membrane, growing medium (soil), and vegetation (plants) overlying a traditional roof. 
  • The layers of green roof systems must, like any roof, accommodate drainage, stormwater management, and protect the building from the elements with a waterproof membrane.
  • But they also must create a growing area and potentially provide support, irrigation, and root protection barriers while staying as light as possible.
  • Two types of green roofs exist: intensive and extensive.
    • Intensive green roofs are essentially elevated parks. They can sustain shrubs, trees, walkways and benches with their complex structural support, irrigation, drainage, and root protection layers. 
    • Extensive green roofs are relatively light. They support hearty native ground cover that requires little maintenance. Extensive green roofs usually exist solely for their environmental benefits and don't function as accessible rooftop gardens.
  • Benefits:
    • Green roofs last longer than conventional roofs, reduce energy costs with natural insulation, create peaceful retreats for people and animals, and absorb storm water, potentially lessening the need for complex and expensive drainage systems.
    • On a wider scale, green roofs improve air quality and help reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect, a condition in which city and suburban developments absorb and trap heat.

Key Facts about Fungi

  • Fungi, along with Animalia (animals), Plantae (plants), Protista, Archaea/Archaebacteria, and Bacteria or Eubacteria, form the six ‘kingdoms’ of biology.
  • They are eukaryotic organisms, i.e., their cells contain membrane-bound organelles and clearly defined nuclei.
  • Reproduction: Fungi usually reproduce both sexually and asexually. 
  • Distribution:
    • Fungi are either terrestrial or aquatic, the latter living in freshwater or marine environments.
    • They are found in all temperate and tropical regions of the world where there is sufficient moisture to enable them to grow.
    • A few species of fungi live in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, although they are rare and are more often found living in symbiosis with algae in the form of lichens.
  • Importance of fungi:
    • They help in breaking down dead organic material, they continue the cycle of nutrients through ecosystems.
    • Fungi, as food, play a role in human nutrition in the form of mushrooms.
    • They also act as agents of fermentation in the production of bread, cheeses, alcoholic beverages, and numerous other food preparations.
    • Secondary metabolites of fungi are used as medicines, such as antibiotics and anticoagulants. 

Q1) What is mycorrhiza?

Mycorrhizae are a symbiotic association between plant roots and fungi. Their major role is to enhance nutrient and water uptake by the host plant by exploiting a larger volume of soil than roots alone can do.

Source: Rich in fungi soil could benefit green roofs: Study