Burnley’s Living Green Roofs

aerial shot of roof.jpg The Burnley Green Roofs project is Australia’s first dedicated green roof demonstration, training and research facility. Comprising three green roofs built for Australian conditions, it provides opportunities for teaching, community engagement activities,  continuing professional and industry development.

RESEARCH at Burnley is building the evidence of green roof benefits.

1. The demonstration green roof (166 m²) is located 6.6 metres above ground on the heritage-listed Burnley Campus Hall. It is a highly accessible visually attractive landscape providing interpretation of different green roof types, substrates and plants.  There are 14 separate planting zones across the site, according to substrate  depth and irrigation requirements.

There are five different substrate depths across the roof – 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 cm and four lightweight substrates designed for successful plant growth have been used. Components used include scoria, bottom ash (power station waste/Enviroagg®), crushed roof tiles, perlite, coir (coconut fibre/horticultural grade), pine bark and zeolite.

With over 200 different plant taxa, and 3000 individual plants in total! This roof demonstrates the variety of plants suitable for green roofs. Plants have been selected on low water use and results from our research trials.

Tours of the demonstration green roof – The green roof is OPEN to the public during various times of the year. Check the events page for the next opportunity to visit or email GIRG for further information.

Design Award Winner In 2014,the Demonstration Green Roof, won a major design for the project (in collaboration with design practice HASSELL).


2. The research green roof (80 m²) consists of four quadrants, three with different substrate depths (10, 15 and 20 cm) and one single quadrant without a green roof.

This roof has been designed for plant performance trials and to undertake experiments. Current research is quantifying the stormwater retention and energy benefits by investigating how substrate moisture and vegetation influence thermal fluxes and rainfall retention to lower energy needs of buildings and reduce stormwater runoff.

 To see live data feed from the Burnley Research Green Roof  click here.

biodiversity-roof-crop.jpg3. The biodiversity green roof (52 m²)has been designed to attract and provide habitat for lizards, insects and birds.  Features on the roof that are known to encourage and sustain biodiversity include:

  • Indigenous plants representative of Victoria’s endangered native grasslands, including known larval food plants or nectar sources for butterflies and native bees.
  • A small ephemeral pond and shallow creek bed which flows during rain events using stormwater run-off.
  • Different substrates types and depths to facilitate micro-habitats for invertebrates and to maximise ecological variety. The main substrate used is a scoria mix but smaller areas of sand, gravel, and rubble have also been included.
  • Specific habitat features to provide habitat, including logs and sand for insect burrowing, hollow twigs for native bee nesting, and rocks, pavers, tiles and pots for reptile and insect basking.


Green Roof Fact Sheets

Planting for survival fact sheet ; Substrates for green roofs fact sheet; Planting for stormwater fact sheet

One Response to Burnley’s Living Green Roofs

  1. Pingback: Rooftop Workshops – Melbourne Open House 2014 | Do It On The Roof

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