Green roofs


Growing vegetated landscapes on rooftops in cities around the world.

A green roof, also known as a ‘living roof’, ‘eco-roof’, and ‘vegetated roof’, is a vegetated landscape installed on a rooftop. Green roofs are common in the northern hemisphere but rare in Australia due to barriers that we are working to overcome.

Our research impact

We have developed green roofs and quantified their benefits by:

  • evaluating plant species for use on Australian green roofs by assessing their characteristics and performance
  • developing and testing substrates that support plant growth, are lightweight, chemically and physically stable, and can be retrofitted to diverse building types
  • quantifying the hydrology and energy benefits of green roofs, investigating the interactions of substrate, soil moisture and vegetation on thermal fluxes and building insulation
  • examining the psychological and productivity benefits of green roofs for urban employees and residents and determining the most preferred green roof types.

Impact snapshot

  • Our substrates based on waste materials (bottom ash), local materials (scoria) and recycled materials (crushed brick and roof tiles), are now used by the green roof industry.
  • Our research informed the Growing Green Guide, a free industry-standard guide to integrating vegetation with construction through green roofs, walls and facades. A Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Award winner, it has been downloaded thousands of times, translated into other languages and used as a teaching tool around the world.
  • Industry has used our research to develop green roofs including Pixel Building The Venny Community Centre, Minifie Park Early Childhood Centre, Council House 2 and Growing Up (132 Queen Street).
  • Our Burnley Living Green Roof provides valuable data about green roof plant and substrate performance under local conditions to help government, industry and the community make informed decisions.


Researching the benefits of demonstration green roofs across Australia

Mimicking natural ecosystems to improve green roof performance

Living roofs for healthier living? Impacts on employee stress, engagement, well-being and performance

Green roofs – improving urban environments in a changing climate

Pixel building green roof

The Venny green roof

The Growing Green Guide for Melbourne