Czechs increasingly fond of green roofs

Photo: AxelHH, CC BY 3.0

A growing number of building owners in the Czech Republic cover their roofs with grass and other vegetation, in order to reduce the effects of climate change, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported this week.

Photo: AxelHH,  CC BY 3.0
According to the NGO Svaz zakládání a údržby zeleně, associating the country’s landscape architects, the green roof surface increased by 250 000 square metres last last year.

Green roofs are currently one of the most popular measures taken to reduce the effect of ever more frequent summer heatwaves. Vegetation planted on roofs keeps buildings cooler by reducing the flow of heat through the roof and inside the building and also reduces the amount of rainwater discharged into the sewers.

Among other things, green roofs also help prevent the occurrence of the so-called “heat islands”, urban areas that are significantly warmer than the surrounding rural areas. According to the daily Hospodářské noviny, the temperature difference between regular and green roofs can be as much as 40 degrees Celsius.

While the number of vegetation-covered roofs in the Czech Republic keeps increasing, their number is still very low compared to other European countries, Pavel Dostál from the landscape architects’ association told the daily.

In Berlin alone, it is around four million square metres and in Vienna, around 2.6 million. In Germany, building owners are motivated to plant vegetation on their roofs by receiving subsidies of up to 50 percent of the overall installation costs.

One of the cities which try to implement a green roof strategy in the Czech Republic is the Moravian capital of Brno, which recently earmarked 20 million crowns for such projects. According to Michal Sedláček, chief architect of the city of Brno, around eight million crowns have already been distributed among the city’s building owners.

Although initial investments into eco-friendly buildings and production halls may seem discouraging, according to Libor Musil, head of the manufacturing and construction company Liko-S head, green roofs and systems for retaining rain water can ultimately save the owners up to millions of crowns.

Apart from reducing energy costs for air conditioning and sewer rates, they can also have a positive effect on employees’ health by keeping the air cleaner.