New how-to guide for green roofs and walls launched

A COMPREHENSIVE guide to creating green roofs, walls and facades to help manage the impacts of a changing climate on urbanised areas was last week launched, following three years of work between inner Melbourne councils, the Victorian Government, the University of Melbourne and industry experts.

The Growing Green Guide aims to provide building owners, planners, designers, developers and home owners with vital information so they can integrate green infrastructure on their buildings and help manage the impact of a changing climate.

City of Melbourne Environment Councillor Arron Wood said the Growing Green Guide was the result of three years of collaborative work between the Cities of Melbourne, Port Phillip, Yarra and Stonnington, the University of Melbourne, the Victorian Government and industry experts.

"The best minds have been brought together to develop a guide that will help transform existing buildings and create new ones which can use their roofs, walls and facades to work with the environment rather than against it," Cr Wood said.

"We know the city can be 4 to 7 degrees hotter than surrounding suburbs due to the urban heat island effect. Green walls, facades and rooftops not only look good but help cool our city and retain stormwater which can help reduce flash flooding.

"We estimate that right now there are around 50 green walls, 100 green roofs and many green facades across Melbourne. Our vision is that these numbers will multiply with the release of this comprehensive guide," Cr Wood said.

The guide offers ideas for cooling buildings and the environment, while also increasing liveability. It provides information on the design, construction and maintenance of green infrastructure, outlines the research undertaken and technical explanations, as well as providing a number of case studies and details on considerations required when incorporating vegetation on new or existing surfaces.

Stonnington City Councillor Sam Hibbins said that with Stonnington having second lowest amount of public open space of any Victorian municipality – at 6.7 per cent or 20 square metres per person – it is important to look for innovative solutions to create more open space and green the city.

"We can do this with green walls and roofs and strategic land purchases. The Growing Green Guide is a vital resource," Cr Hibbins said.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Ryan Smith said the Growing Green Guide was made possible through $250,000 in funding from the Victorian Coalition Government's Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership program.

"This is another great example of adaptation at a local level, where through Coalition Government's funding, local communities are empowered to take their own action to be more climate resilient.

"The Coalition Government is pleased to see councils, University of Melbourne and the local community joining forces to produce a valuable tool for urban landscapes," Mr Smith said.

University of Melbourne senior lecturer and researcher, John Rayner, said green roofs, walls and facades provide multiple benefits for the environment and community, while adding that having local guidelines on how to achieve these outcomes is a first in Australia.

"University research in green infrastructure over recent years helped to define, shape and develop the guide, ensuring that it is current, relevant and applicable for projects in Victoria," Mr Rayner said.

City of Port Phillip Mayor Amanda Stevens described the Growing Green Guide as a great example of how Councils can collaborate to address sustainability issues and provide leadership, both to local government and industry.

"Port Phillip has a strong commitment to sustainable buildings, minimising water use and climate change adaptation. The multiple benefits of green roofs, walls and facades allow buildings to be more resilient to hot weather, while minimising water use and energy use," she said.

More information is available from the Growing Green Guide website at <>.

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