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Integrating conventional and green roofs for mitigating thermal discomfort and water scarcity in urban areas

dos Santos, Sylvana Melo, Silva, Jhonata Fernandes Ferreira, dos Santos, Gilles Chaves, de Macedo, Patrícia Martins Torres, Gavazza, Sávia
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.219 pp. 639-648
buildings, drinking water, green roofs, harvesting, monitoring, rain, semiarid zones, temperature, tiles, urban areas, water harvesting, water shortages, watersheds, Brazil
This paper aims to evaluate the possibility of using the roofs of habitations in Caruaru city in the semiarid region of Pernambuco, Brazil, for two purposes: as green roofs to mitigate extreme temperatures inside the houses and for rainwater harvesting and storage for potable purposes. For this, a preliminary study was carried out with inside and outside temperature monitoring of rooms with a green roof and conventional roof to verify the thermal variation in a real situation. Furthermore, the potential of rainwater harvesting for Caruaru city was evaluated based on precipitation data provided by the Water National Agency and an estimation of the available roof area (buildings and houses). In this context, two scenarios were analysed: (scenario 1) the whole roof surface was used for rainwater harvesting and saving and (scenario 2) green roofs were implanted in part of the roofs.The results of this preliminary study indicated that the use of green roofs resulted in lower temperature variations throughout the day, decreased internal temperatures, and decreased thermal amplitude in relation to a conventional roof (with tiles). Regarding the reduction of the catchment area because of the recommended use of green roofs in a semiarid region, considering green roof application just over the bedrooms (which was considered to cover 16 m2 in total), the water saving potential of the public supply system decreased, with a monthly average of 23.13% versus 28.43% (without green roofs). Implanting green roofs in part of the roofs of houses, although there is a reduction in the rainwater volume that can be harvested, can result in an increase in thermal comfort, whereas this is not feasible with the use of the entire roof area to harvest potable water. Thereby, the results indicate that the simultaneous use of the two kinds of roofs (conventional and green) is feasible even in a semiarid climate.