The partners of the ‘NaturBuild‘ project have published the Documentary analysis that compiles the regulations and practices on Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) carried out in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. To prepare this document, they have carried out a documentary analysis and consult 10 experts in green roofs in these countries.
In this way, the ‘Analysis of Mediterranean regulations and practices on nature-based solutions‘ includes information about legislation related to NBS, common types of green roofs, and occupations involved in green roofs installation, maintenance and deconstruction activities, and description of green roofs examples, among others.
The first section deals with the national regulations of the four Mediterranean countries analysed, which are covered by European regulations. Some conclusions are:
- None of the countries has an obligation to install green roofs on new buildings.
- Although installation, maintenance and deconstruction are different processes, the public promotion of green roofs refers almost exclusively to installation..
- There is a lack of social awareness and general knowledge about green roofs in all participating countries. Along the same lines, the financial issue is the main reason that hinders their installation by the private sector (especially in Greece and Spain). However, in the document there are examples of city councils that are aware of the benefits of green roofs.
- In all countries, green roof materials that have free circulation on the market must bear the CE marking or comply with the European Technical Assessment.
- In Portugal and Spain there are “technical standards” published by professional organizations, but they are not mandatory. In Greece and Italy, in addition to these ‘technical standards’, there are regulations that include instructions on the construction of green roofs on old and new buildings, but they do not include technical criteria on the maintenance or deconstruction of green roofs. In Italy there is the ‘Standard UNI 11235:2015: Instructions for the design, execution, inspection, and maintenance of green roofs’ (it does not specify anything about deconstruction).
- In general, there are no specific regulations on deconstruction of green roofs in any of the four countries.
- Before replacing a roof with a green roof, a careful assessment must be made. The demolition of a roof must comply with all legal requirements stipulated in the country, especially regarding the disposal of inert waste and any possible dangerous waste. In addition, a preliminary, thorough assessment of the feasibility of a green roof is required.
- In the case of not adequated installed green roofs, experts together with specialized technicians should investigate and identify the non-compliance of the green roof system and then plan how to intervene to solve the problem.
Green roof benefits
The second section addresses the benefits of green roofs: the improved building energy performance, the contribution to the reduction of climate change or the increase of biodiversity, among others. In addition to these advantages, deconstruction is advocated over demolition of a green roof, as it contributes to the circular economy
- Organic materials (soil and plants) can be separated and used for composting.
- Inert waste (rubble, bricks, plaster…) can be separated and reused, as is, as subsoil.
- Inert waste can be reprocessed and transformed into concrete and hydraulic-bonded mixtures.
Green roof examples
The third section includes examples of current green roofs in the four countries, specifying, and the types of roof, location, type of vegetation used, etc. The conclusions drawn from the roofs highlighted in each country are as follows:
- The same three types of green roofs exist in the four countries: intensive, semi-intensive and extensive, depending on the climate of the region.
- In Spain and Italy, extensive green roofs are the most frequent.
- In Portugal, the most frequent are intensive and semi-intensive, as extensive green roofs are still recent.
Occupations involved in activities related to green roofs
The fourth point establishes, by country, the professions involved in the installation and maintenance phase of green roofs. According to the analysis of the expert’s answers, the following professions are required:
- Technical occupations: mainly architects, biologists, landscape architects and engineers (civil engineers, agricultural engineers).
- Operational occupations: mainly gardeners, plumbers, electricians, masons, equipment operators, etc.
National organizations dedicated to green roofs
Finally, the document lists the local and national organizations in the four countries that publish technical information related to green roofs.
For more information you can consult the document in English, here.