Otakaro Orchards Cafe and Information Centre boasts the first ‘green roof’ in Christchurch. 

A green roof is a covering of plants on a flat or slightly sloped roof, and as well as being aesthetically pleasing, it has many great benefits for the environment!

Because of the way the roof is constructed, the layers of plant and soil have an insulation effect. This means two things for the building; the first is that the roof stays cool and so less energy is needed to cool the roof down, and second is that indoors stays warmer as the layers of soil keep the roof insulated and the heat in.

The layers of plants and soil reduce ambient noise – which is great for busy inner-city locations.

The plants capture up to 80% stormwater –  this is compared to 24% for regular roofing. The soil also acts as a natural filter for the water so it comes out purified. Stormwater management is made much easier.

The high volume of plants help to filter out carbon dioxide in the air and thus lower pollution. If there are enough green roofs in a district, they can even help to combat the ‘urban heat island’ effect, where inner city areas can be 2-3 degrees C hotter than the surrounding rural areas due to the heat-reflective properties of paving and concrete.

Green roofs can help to extend the life of the roof itself, as it absorbs many of the weather elements that regular roof materials have to bear. This means a roof can last years longer than a traditional roof.

And the last benefit – green spaces make people happy! Green spaces encourage social and physical activity and so help boost people’s mood. They’re also aesthetically pleasing – we’re planning on planting native New Zealand plants in ours.