Nov 06 2012
The University of Haifa has dedicated Israel’s first research center for Green Roofs Ecology, which will focus on research and development of non-irrigated green roofs; improving biological diversity with green roofs; and developing ecological and evolutionary theories. The center has been established thanks to a generous gift from a British expert in the field, and was facilitated by VP for External Relations and Resource Development Amos Gaver.
Over recent years, awareness of the “green roofs” gardening method atop building roofs has increased. It is intended to enhance a building’s energy efficiency while minimizing environmental damage. The rooftop vegetation creates better insulation for the building, which lowers air conditioning and/or heating consumption; improves photosynthesis in the city; and of course serves as an urban living space for various animals.
Until now, Israel has not had a research center for green roofs and research from other countries has not necessarily been applicable for the unique climate and flora of the Middle East. The new center, headed by Prof. Leon Blaustein of the University’s Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology, will be examining the field in the Israeli context: Will it be possible to assemble green roofs in the Israeli climate without artificial irrigation? Will Israeli flora be reliable to serve for green roofs; And do green roofs increase the biological diversity of insets and plants? Research at the center will also examine the utilization of greywater irrigation for the roofs; whether a building’s height affects insect attraction to a green roof; whether drainage from green roofs might cause more environmental damage than good; and more.
One of the University of Haifa’s roofs has already been transformed into a green research laboratory with 48 different plant beds. Its first research project is focusing on the preferred types of plants and how the different plants attract insects and birds. The center’s team has already begun seeking out additional roofs around the campus that would be suitable for use as green roofs, and along with maintenance staff promises to turn the campus into a much greener place.
The center’s festive dedication ceremony was attended by the benefactors and University President Amos Shapira.