Graz joins other Austrian cities in promoting green infrastructure

The City of Graz in Austria recently set up a programme to increase Green Infrastructure in the city. Together with Vienna and Linz, Graz becomes the third major Austrian city to drive forward green roofs and green walls.


Graz - green infrastructure
Promotional Campaign – City of Graz, Austria

Promoting urban greenery, green roofs and green walls – Graz

The promotional campaign is not only an advocacy campaign but also one that provides grants and subsidies to support various Green Infrastructure interventions.

In the first place, it is now possible to apply for a grant or subsidy to increase greenery in the urban core of the city. In particular, the municipality provides a grant for initial advice or consultation on whether green roofs and walls can installed on existing buildings.

The funding is aimed at:

  • Increasing local food supply as well as horticultural awareness in communities
  • To encourage the design of ecological and climate-friendly buildings by vegetating the exterior surfaces of roofs and walls

green infrastructure - urban food Vienna
Communal garden on a roof in Vienna, Austria


Green Roofs and Green Walls or Facades for the City of Graz

The city sees green roofs and walls as a means to ameliorate some of the issues associated with climate change such as:

  • Contributing to making urban life more attractive for citizens
  • Reducing the impact of the Urban Heath Island Effect (UHIE)
  • Reducing overheating in buildings those reducing cooling costs
  • Delivering climate change adaptation
  • Reducing urban flooding

This is especially true in the inner areas of the city.

Technical Advice and Support is Part of the Funding Package

The programme provides funding for expert advice on whether a part of the building envelope can be greened. This could be either a green roof or a green wall or both. This is unique, we believe, as funding generally covers just the installation of the green intervention in most cities in Europe. Rarely are the costs of consultants covered in such programmes. The funding requires the consultant to provide detailed information on the following:

  • Suitability of the roof or wall to take greenery in relation to the criteria of the programme
  • A list of recommended list of plants suitable to the location and type of greening
  • Assessment of the structural capacity (building statics) of the area to be planted
  • Estimation of the likely maintenance costs
  • A report on the potential risks that may affect the implementation of the project


Linz - green roof- green infrastructure
Green roof in Linz, Austria


The Funding Parameters for Communal Gardens, Green Roofs and Green Walls

Communal Gardens

Funding for communal gardens in Graz will be granted for hand tools, non-GMO seeds, plants suitable for cultivation, biological fertilisers, components for the construction of raised beds, fences and also composting systems. The activities must be communal and not private.  The size of the communal garden must be at least 30m2 and involve at least 8 households.

Green Roofs

Only green roofs with a minimum area of 1000m2 and at least 20m wide will be considered. Furthermore, the green roofs should also have a minimum depth of 10cm and cover at least 66% of the roof area. A plant list will need to be supplied to ensure that the vegetation conforms to the Austrian Green Roof Standard (ÖNORM L1131). All aspects of the green roof system will also need to conform to the Austrian standard.

Green Walls

The criteria for green walls are:

  • The facade/green wall will cover at least 40% of the whole wall surface
  • The area should be at least 50m2 in area
  • The green walls should be publicly visible
  • Fully automated irrigation will be required for modular green wall systems
  • Thermal insulation layers are not covered by the grant/subsidy
  • The supply and installation of the green walls will be supplied and installed by qualified suppliers/installers


A Greener Graz for the Future

The programme should ensure that Graz becomes a greener city in the near future. We are aware of a number of new major developments in the city that have already embraced Green Infrastructure in their designs. By supporting residents and buildings owners to take forward a greener Graz, the municipality is financially supporting the retrofitting of the city. Hopefully in future other cities in Europe will also take this on board and replicate it in their own jurisdictions.