First Green Roofs Ecology Research Center in Israel

Israel’s first Green Roofs Ecology research center has been dedicated at the University of Haifa. The center will focus on research and development of non-irrigated green roofs that are suitable for Middle Eastern climates.

The University of Haifa’s research center for Green Roofs Ecology will strive to improve 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.

Awareness of the “green roofs” gardening method on building roofs has increased in the past few years. The green roofing system enhances a building’s energy efficiency while minimizing environmental damage. The rooftop vegetation creates better insulation for the buildings, which lowers air conditioning and/or heating consumption, and improves photosynthesis in the city.

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? 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, and if drainage from green roofs might cause more environmental damage than good.

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.