Green roofs have been found to promote energy savings for buildings through their insulating properties, yet these benefits have not been sufficiently quantified to the point where they are taken seriously in energy policy. My thesis research aims to investigate the potential for green roofs to decrease building cooling expenditure and reduce the urban heat island effect through proper siting and plant selection. Further, my work explores the relationship between insulation, storm water management, and biodiversity, and the tradeoffs green roofs will experience when trying to optimize ecosystem services for the unique benefits of local communities.
Through energy modeling, GIS suitability analysis, and temperature recording of buildings with green roofs, I have come to the conclusion that green roofs do have the potential to reduce building energy savings - but only when special consideration is given to location, building composition, and green roof layers. This reveals that green roofs do not always produce the benefits that sustainability initiatives claim them to produce. This research acknowledges the inherent complexity in assessing green roof performance, given the myriad factors involved in temperature influence, yet still shows evidence for certain buildings either benefiting from or perhaps losing money through their green roofs.