While I’m not going to rehash the numerous benefits of green roof-ery here, I will say that, unless you have a super-special relationship with a little something called gravity, having a verdant living roof over your head generally works best when said roof is flat.
Well, leave it to a Dutch designer to come up with a clever, urban biodiversity-boosting solution that allows homeowners with pitched roofs to get on the vegetative roof game while transforming their homes from “blockages within the ecosystem” to “stepping stones for wildlife in the city.”
The creation of mouse-loving Roel de Boer, the “New Dutch” green roof system is composed of a lightweight recycled plastic base tile that affixes to existing roofing tiles along with a conical pocket-tile that can be filed with soil and whatnot. I can't imagine tending to a bunch of flower-filled funnel-tiles would be the easiest thing in the world — a good ladder and some world-class balancing skills would probably come in handy here.
As pointed out by Randy Woods over at EarthTechling, the thermal insulating properties of this “New Dutch” roofing tile system probably aren’t quite as effective as a flat roof that’s been covered with an even layer of soil topped with plants. However, Roel de Boer claims that with the tiles, a “house stays cooler in summer and warmer in winter” while the “air purifying and sound-absorbing effect of vegetation provides a more comfortable and quieter neighborhood.
EarthTechling also notes the rainwater-filtering capabilities of New Dutch roofing tiles: “On rainy days, stormwater is funneled into the pockets and is absorbed by the plants. The excess rain slowly drains away, but only after being delayed briefly by the pockets and filtered of contaminants, thus reducing the peak water loads on wastewater treatment plants."
And as mentioned, New Dutch roofing tiles double as a “protected” habitat for wildlife, namely birds and other critters may fall prey to predators at lower altitudes. Perhaps a few of these clay tile birdhouses, also of Dutch origin, could be sprinkled throughout the pitched roof garden to make an avian visitors feel even more at home.
More over at Roel de Boer (in Dutch).
Related green design stories on MNN:
- Green roofs: Ingenuity sprouts from Manhattan rooftops
- Upcycled houses and good vibes aplenty
- Solar design never looked so cool: 7 modern projects