Go to Forum Home Literature and resources Green roofs and facades

Viewing 6 reply threads
  • Author
    • #30337

      hi and well done for getting things rolling. at some point soon i will get out my books and have a look! I feel that integrated food production and the use of green facades to increase habitat and health is something i want much more info about, urban greening. the use of landscaped (for habitat) green roofs is an area that has had some worl recently http://www.livingroofs.org etc but facades seem a lovely use of building area to replace trashed green space!

      any thoughts?

    • #32154

      Hi Andy  – I have managed to find a couple of new books on the subject of green roofs / facades / urban agriculture that might interest you. 

      I've requested a review copy of the first one titled “Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls” by Nigel Dunnett and Noël Kingsbury. 

      ISBN: 0-88192-640-X
      Price: US$34.95, £25.00 
      Format: Hardcover
      Pages: 256 pp.
      Dimensions: 7.63 x 9.25 in (235 x 195 cm)
      Illustrations: 130 color photos, 7 line drawings
      Copyright: ©2004 Timber Press 
      Publication Date: May 15, 2004

      The second book is due to be published in a couple of weeks, a potential stocking stuffer:

      “Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes
      Designing Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Cities “
      Andre Viljoen
      Price: £29.99
      ISBN: 0-7506-5543-7
      Published: 20/12/2004

      I'll add them both to the books section of the website and let me know if you're interested in reviewing either for this forum (and ultimately the website books section).


    • #32155

      ive only just looked again at this section! yes i would like to review them – is it far too late to do so?

    • #32156

      I came across an interesting article at


      – Canadian: the vision of a productive and greened over urban environment is quite a widespread one.. and I suspect the climate change implications of food production will force a change to us all incorporating growing space and systems in our homes, workplaces and local communities – at some stage – and even if we give up on climate change mitigation and concentrate on adaptation, it still seems that ew should be designing buildings and open urban spaces to be suitable for this purpose!! Perhaps the building regulations should allow space heating in conservatories if you are growing your own bananas, and can prove it..add banana inspection to the building control officers' workload, they'd like that.

      From the Canadian Medical Association Journal Oct 15, 2002; 167(8) pg 895: “According to a recent study, growing just 10% more produce in a regional system would result in an annual savings of 1.2 million to 1.4 million L of fuel and an annual reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 3 million to 3.5 million kg.” Citing “Food, fuel and freeways,” a report produced in 2001 out of the Leopold Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University. The report is available at: http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/pubs/staff/ppp/food_mil.pdf

      Will come back to this when time allows!

      Any luck with those publishers?

    • #32157
      David Olivier

      Surprisingly I read that some varieties of banana (from east Asia) will soon be virtually hardy outside in sheltered gardens in southern England and Wales so there may be no need to waste greenhouse space on them – unless you insist on having them in winter as well as other seasons.

      AFAIK English horticulturists have been using green facades for centuries – growing plants, especially fruit trees, on walls. Old gardening books are chock-full of instructions of what to grow where – west, north, east & south. This knowledge hasn't been lost yet as the UK has so many gardeners.

      Energy for food production is a big issue as an American family of 4 is estimated to use 34,000 kWh/year of primary energy to produce and transport their food – getting on for 10 percent of their total energy consumption. OTOH it may be quicker to reduce food energy than to get people to design and construct buildings to use far less energy.

      There are some counterintuitive results with food (as with energy); e.g. it takes less energy to ship bananas or tomatoes from say the Canary Islands or Egypt than it does to heat a greenhouse in the UK or the Netherlands to grow the crops locally. Local production of such crops can be a bad idea unless the glasshouse is heated by renewable energy – which of course few are since hardly anyone in UK knows about the successful work overseas (in Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, etc) to design 100% solar greenhouses.


    • #32158
      David Olivier

      It's a huge topic! Today I don't think a large proportion of owners or tenants want to grow their own food but climate change, etc may call for different policies.

      If energy use by the UK food supply system even distantly approaches the US level (8,500 kWh/yr.cap) it could easily equal the UK construction industry's energy use for materials production, transport and construction (i.e, “embodied energy”). In that sense eco-designers should be aware of it and some clients may want to make it a feaure of eco-buildings. There must also be scope for using edible plants in “public landscapes”. I once read of a development in Calfornia where the city council landscaped some streets with almond trees and made a regular profit.

      I suspect it will only become an big issue again when we start having drastic oil shortages on a par with 1973. But as I said before some may still prefer to pay others to grow their food. Past precedents will have to be resuscitated as fossil fuels run down.

    • #32159

      I would love to see new housing estates that incorporated communal growing areas, like allotments but shared by the homeowners of a particular close, apartment block or whatever. The communal ownership might help with the issue of theft and vandalism that affects traditional allotments and perhaps an estate wide GYO guru could be on hand to help people with their queries and monitor activity.

      I think the fact that allotments are dislocated from their guardians and are usually hidden away somewhere is potentially discouraging to new growers.

      I know some allotments are way oversubscribed but I drive by loads in east London/Essex that are virtually derelict. A huge shame in my opinion.

Viewing 6 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.