Green roofs for climate adaptation
Green roofs and greening of buildings was the theme of an event on 22 August attended by about 40 people interested in the subject, most of them local government staff from Hamburg and the surrounding area.
Participants were invited by Hamburg’s Ministry for the Environment and Energy and TUTECH. In 2014 Hamburg was the first major city in Germany to put in place a comprehensive green roof strategy and measures to provide freeholders with information and access to subsidies from the Hamburg Investment and Development Bank. One consequence of climate change is cities that are overheated and experience severe rainfall. Green roofs can help to avoid damage and reduce the heat island effect by storing water and reducing run-off. Michael Richter of HafenCity University (HCU) explained the principles in detail. Research into green roofs has been going on here for years. Prof. Wolfgang Dickhaut, head of the Department of Environmentally Sound Urban and Infrastructure Planning at the HCU, marshalled numerous facts and studies to refute the frequent argument that green roofs are too expensive to build and maintain. Dr Hannah Bornholdt rounded off the presentations, reporting on Hamburg’s experience of promoting green roofs and showing that greening façades is another area where Hamburg still has plenty of potential.
The specialist presentations were good and easy to understand. Participants’ appreciation was reflected in their many questions and comments and in lively discussions. The event culminated in site visits to the various intensive and extensive green roofs at the ministry building in Wilhelmsburg and to the dementia garden at the KerVita retirement complex – a roof garden than won the 2017 Hamburg Prize for Green Building. The verdict of the participants was that green roofs are great and improve people’s quality of life; the extra effort is worth it for people and the environment.
The event was part of the “Climate adaptation made easy” project with which Hamburg Metropolitan Region aims to communicate the results of KLIMZUG-NORD and stimulate further concrete municipal projects. TUTECH provides consultancy on behalf of Hamburg Metropolitan Region, especially for local governments in the region. Services range from an informal telephone conversation to information events, provision of contacts to researchers and concrete support with project proposals.