Rooftop greening is increasingly gaining acceptance worldwide. The use of suitable plants is the most important factor affecting the long term sustainability of green roofs. A useful resource for landscape professionals, this book presents a selection of over 70 plants that are suitable for green roofs in the tropics.
Green Prospects Asia
Urban landscape designers and implementers of green roofs will find this fullcolour photo-illustrated handbook a useful reference for research, planning and discussions on rooftop greening initiatives.
The first 36 pages introduce green roofs in general and highlight Singapore's increasing adoption of the practice and its technology in recent years. The chapter entitled "What are Green Roofs" gives a brief history of how modern green roofs originated in Europe in the 1960s to 1970s, especially in Germany and Switzerland. Photographs of various green roofs illustrate the diversity of installation styles and help the reader understand distinctions among green roof-related terms and concepts such as "eco-roofs" or "living roofs" (which support seasonal plants or mimic brown-field ecosystems) and rooftop gardens (typically designed to accommodate more human activity and structural loading). A reading list is suggested at the end of this chapter.
The "Green Roofs for Singapore" chapter makes the case for rooftop greening with research data showing how green roofs help reduce the heat island effect and cut down on other undesirable factors, such as rooftop glare and gaseous pollutants, by which one building can affect the comfort level of occupants in neighbouring structures.
The next two brief chapters discuss the challenges of populating a green roof in the tropics and the suitability of plants that have high water-efficiency (ie, are drought-tolerant) but can also withstand the monsoon months, and introduce the Singapore National Parks Board (NParks) green roof plant selection programme.
The bulk of this volume is dedicated to an illustrated guide of about 80 pages that walks the reader through various families of green roof-appropriate plants, detailing 76 species in all. For each, the scientific and common names are provided and the plant is described by its key features, cultivation needs, propagation methods, uses and geographical distribution.
Through its Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology, NParks has been studying plants for green roof applications since 2003. This 2008 second edition of its green roof plants guide (the first was published in 2005) features an additional 43 plants. This book was the first, and is likely to be still the only reference on plants suitable for green roofs in the tropics.