“More green instead of grey” is the new motto of the City of Salzburg in Austria. Not only do many of the city’s residents want more green spaces, but so do the local water authority and spatial planning and building authorities.
Green light for green roofs in Salzburg
Salzburg, like other cities in Austria such as Vienna, Linz and Graz, sees many advantages from green roofs. This is especially true in densely-built up urban areas. Green roofs are a smart solution. They are a viable alternative, both economically and ecologically. They have many advantages and are considerably cheaper in the long-term when compared with conventional approaches.
The Green Light for Green Roofs information leaflet, aimed especially at specialists and interested citizens, is now available from the City and the local water authority.
“The advantages of green roofs are obvious,” says Barbara Unterkofler, a member of Salzburg’s City Council. “Green roofs represent the optimal solution and are also a central component of modern and sustainable urban planning,”
Green roofs not only provide a better urban climate, they also help the urban drainage system. Green roofs store rainwater and release excess water slowly over a period of time. This eliminates the need to irrigate the plants.
In addition, the water has a cooling effect on the building in summer; in winter, the green roof and substrate has an insulating effect. Roof gardens are also a natural habitat for animals and plants. And where citizens can access the roofs, they provide addition amenity space in the city.
The approach to green roofs in Salzburg
Whilst other cities in Austria have approaches that include incentives and grants, Salzburg takes a slightly different view. Planning applications now have to demonstrate that new buildings will produce zero discharge of rainwater into the drainage system. This approach is used in many cities in Germany. Green roofs can help developers meet the zero discharge rate while also providing essential urban habitat for nature, improving air quality and cooling the city in the heat of the European summer.
What’s not to like?