Green city instead of grey?

green rooftops can help alleviate the climate crisis

You can still sign the petition for the ongoing Citizens’ Initiative ‘Green Garden Rooftops’ that wants to make cities greener – implement green rooftops in industrial and trade areas to help alleviate the climate crisis!

Written by Lea Gormsen // 01.10.2021

The motivation behind the initiative

The ‘Green Garden Rooftops’ European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) started its collection phase in May 2021. The organisers of the initiative believe that plantation on rooftops can help to alleviate the climate crisis. The flat rooftops on many of the buildings in industrial areas absorb a lot of heat for the annoyance of the people working in the buildings, as well as carrying the hot winds from the rooftops across the city and heating it up. Lastly, the heat from the roofs will radiate warm energy into the atmosphere and increase global warming. Therefore, the initiative focuses specifically on flat rooftops.

changing industrial rooftops to green

The ECI mechanism was created to make it possible for citizens to get involved in EU policy-making. For an initiative to be successful, the organisers need to collect 1 million signatures from citizens of at least 7 different EU countries. If this is the case, the European Commission needs to consider the claims and present an answer.

The organisers have decided to focus on this kind of roof because its construction has several negative aspects. For example:

  • As mentioned above, a negative impact on the climate crises
  • Flat roofs can create puddles and clogged drainage
  • Flat rooftops require higher maintenance
  • The stability of such roofs are not capable of sustaining large amount of weight
  • The rooftops are less attractive from an architectural and functional point of view[1]

Ultimately, the initiative seeks to implement green gardens on rooftops of corporations while bearing in mind a greener Europe. The organisers hope that the European Parliament will pass a law that will ensure that all member states are obligated to enforce the proposals of the Green Garden Rooftops initiative.

greener areas in cities

The positive effects of green cities

There are multiple positive aspects of implementing green rooftops, and as mentioned multiple times already, it can help to not warm up the cities and buildings as much. Furthermore it can have environmental benefits. The benefits mentioned on the official website are listed below.

  • Clean air – since more plantvegatation will increase the level of oxygen and decrease the level of CO2
  • Energy conservation – Green areas are natural aids for reducing energy demand, heat absorption and increasing electricity saving
  • Water filtration and retention – plantation slows down rainfall and helps the soil soak more efficiently[2].
  • Wildlife habitat – plants, trees, flowers are ecological territories for a lot of different species, like birds, insects, rodents and organisms.

Economic and social benefits

The organisers also mention a few economic and social benefits that arises following green rooftops:

  • Reputation – engaging in an ecological, climate positive project like this will surely look good in the eyes of the public and the given cooperation will improve their status as a responsible firm.
  • Social – the employees of the firm will experience many benefits from being in “nature” such as peace, less anxiety and stress. This will lead to an improved work performance as well.
  • Government Aid – the government will support the cooperation in this project by granting a credit of a certain amount which will be calculated at the end of the fiscal year.
  • Reduced expenses – the energy it requires to heat and cool a building will decrease.

The initiative does not mention any other benefits, even though there are more! Green rooftops can reduce electromagnetic radiation penetration by 99.4% and have great noise attenuation. Furthermore, green rooftops have much lower burning heat than conventional roofs and the plants on the roof can catch airborne pollutants, atmospheric deposition and also filter noxious gasses. [3]

Another initiative like this

Initiatives like this can already be seen across the globe, but one of the most recognized initiatives is the “Copenhill Rooftop Park”. This Rooftop Park is built on top of an 88-meters-tall waste to energy plant in Copenhagen, and has many functions including a ski slope, hiking trail, outlook posts, playgrounds and a bar at the top. In 2019 it won the Scandinavian Green Rooftop award stating that:

“This prize is awarded to the vegetated part of the Copenhill rooftop park installation which is designed to support natural biodiversity using a combination of hardy vegetation types local to the area as well as an impressive amount of trees, more than 300 in this windy location. The design and execution of the vegetation systems demonstrates the multifunctionality of green roofs and clearly goes beyond the product focused approach otherwise often seen”[4]

This is just one of many initiatives like this ECI, but it is clear why this kind of innovation is highly praised.

How to support greener cities?

If you want to see more of these kinds of initiatives throughout the EU, you can sign up and support the Green Garden Rooftop initiative via this link or share their ideas on your social media. You can also head onto Our Only Home’s website where we will bring you the latest details on the development of the initiative.


Amagerbakken Rooftop Park

The Scandinavian Green Roof Award

European Citizen Initiative

The initiative

About Green Roofs


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