Green roofs – improving urban environments in a changing climate

Green roofs are an emerging climate change adaptation technology that is widespread in Europe and North America, but rare and untested in Australia. Our research will significantly progress the Australian green roof industry by overcoming barriers to their implementation. This will lead to multiple environmental, economic and health benefits at a variety of scales. Benefits for individual buildings include greater energy efficiency, increased roof life and the attenuation of noise. Environmental benefits include biodiversity habitat, reduced volume and improved quality of stormwater flows and cooling of the urban environment. This will further reduce energy use and greenhouse emissions, while reducing human health risks during heat waves.

This research was funded through an ARC Linkage grant (2010-13), with Melbourne Water; Department of Sustainability and Environment; City of Melbourne and Committee for Melbourne as industry partners.


Farrell, C., X.Q. Ang and J.P. Rayner, 2013a. Water-retention additives increase plant available water in green roof substrates. Ecol. Eng, 52: 112-118.

Farrell, C., R.E. Mitchell, C. Szota, J.P. Rayner and N.S.G. Williams, 2012. Green roofs for hot and dry climates: Interacting effects of plant water use, succulence and substrate. Ecol. Eng, 49: 270-276.

Farrell, C., C. Szota, N.S.G. Williams and S.K. Arndt, 2013b. High water users can be drought tolerant: using physiological traits to improve green roof plant selection. Plant Soil, DOI 10.1007/s11104-013-1725-x.

Williams, N.S.G., J.P. Rayner and K.J. Raynor, 2010. Green roofs for a wide brown land: Opportunities and barriers for rooftop greening in Australia. Urban For. Urban Green., 9: 245-251.