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Completed project

Researching the benefits of demonstration green roofs across Australia (GC16002)

Key research provider: Melbourne University
Publication date: Tuesday, May 23, 2023

What was it all about?

From 2017 to 2022, this investment explored cultural, community and horticultural barriers to greater green roof construction in Australia so that steps can be taken to overcome them.

The project involved four workstreams investigating 1) how the industry can overcome barriers to uptake, 2) the development of trait-based, plant palettes for different green roof build-ups, 3) how maintenance can be better incorporated into green roof design and development and 4) what features make green roofs attractive and can also increase mental well-being for a wide range of people.

These findings will have positive short, medium, and long-term impacts on the Australian green roof industry. It brought the many different sectors of what is an inherently multidisciplinary industry together on several occasions, both in person and online, increasing understanding among the various stakeholders, empowering them, and facilitating a shared understanding of what is needed to progress the industry. This led to an industry roadmap and the development of a “community of practice” which has formed independently but as a direct result of the project.

The project has increased industry understanding of the need for ongoing maintenance of green roofs and the importance of developing maintenance schedules for each green roof project. To upskill green roof contractors and reduce costs to building owners wanting to install green roofs, maintenance guidelines have been produced with example templates for different types of green roofs.

The results of the green roof plant trials and experiments and environmental psychology research were directly incorporated into green roof design guidelines. This will increase the diversity of green roof plant palettes by giving landscape architects and green roof designers the confidence to specify new species that have been robustly evaluated. It will also lead to the construction of green roofs that provide greater well-being benefits for the people living and working with them.


The project has developed a range of outputs including scientific papers that have been published in international journals, industry guidelines including the Burnley Green Roof Guide (an evidence-based guide to plant species and palettes for Australian conditions) and a Roadmap for Green Roofs, Walls and Facades in Australia’s Urban Landscapes 2020-2030 which is already generating positive change in the Australian green roof sector.