This so called ‘InnovationLab’ is a 450 m2 roof located on the Benno Premsalahuis, a building of the Amsterdam University of Applied Science (HvA). In addition to plants (the green layer), the roof has a water reservoir (the blue layer) and is equipped with ‘smart’ valves and sensors. The sensors measure the amount of rainwater in the reservoir and the valves keep rainwater inside the buffer to water the plants, or release the water at a set flow rate.
Blue-green roofs are a possible answer to increasingly heavy rainfall and drought in the city. As such, the VU Amsterdam University and the Amsterdam University of Applied Science (HvA) use the InnovationLab as part of their educational programs and conduct research on the effects of the roof. They work together with MetroPolder Company, who developed the roof. A few experiments that are conducted on the roof are:
Effectiveness of solar panels on green roofs:
It is expected that the energy yield of the solar panels will be higher on green roofs than on traditional grey roofs. On the InnovationLab 4 test surfaces are set up, each with a different combination of layers.
- Traditional grey layer (bitumen)
- Grey layer (bitumen) with a blue and a green layer on top
- Blue layer with white gravel
- Blue layer with native plants
The researchers expect solar panels to be cooled by the plants under the panels, which will absorb and evaporate the water underneath. Due to more hours of sunshine and stronger solar heat, this effect is expected to be more clearly measurable in summer.
What is the cooling effect of a blue-green roof on the classrooms directly under the roof on the fourth floor of the building? This is interesting information that could save energy costs for air conditioning during hot periods. It is expected that the temperature on a blue-green roof can be up to 40 degrees cooler than on a normal grey bitumen roof.
Reuse of rainwater:
Instead of using the regular tap water, the rainwater that is collected in the blue gravel layer (reservoir) of the roof will be used to water the green layer of plants on the roofs. The researchers investigate how much water is saved and also look into the effects of evaporation.
We need your help!
The InnovationLab is the first of many smart blue green RESILIO roofs to come. Our team is developing 10.000 m2 roof in Amsterdam as we see water buffering as a crucial step towards a climate resilient urban fabric. Through a public supported Decision Support System the privately owned water buffers on roofs can optimize the retention capability and battle drought, heat stress and extreme rainfall. We are creating a dynamic micro water management system and are dealing with new governance issues, climate dependent parameter settings & financial aspects as Cost Benefit Analyses. We're looking for input from other cities in order to optimally disseminate and scale up towards other countries in the future. For more information, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.