April 27, 2021

Green Roofs? Welcome to the 21st Century Upgrade: Blue Roofs

What is the top insurance claim for property in Canada? Surprisingly it is water damage. And as the climate shifts to one that is hotter, wetter, and more extreme, we can expect more water flooding events.

As Bruce Taylor with Enviro-Stewards says ““With climate change, you won’t get the same amount of precipitation but you get it in a shorter duration in bigger, shorter storms. If you get water faster than you designed for, then it fills up and it starts backing up and you get flooding. And flooding is very expensive wherever that occurs.”

Remember it was less than two decades ago that having green vegetative  roofs to mitigate heat was seen as controversial and not workable. It’s not surprising that Canada’s First Lady of Landscape, pre-eminent Landscape Architect Cornelia Oberlander championed green roofs, and was way ahead in advocating for them as a sustainable necessity.

The CBC’s Vicky Qiao reports on a new innovation, blue roofs that collect stormwater, store it, then trickle drains it. This might be the green roof hack of this century.

In large industrial/commercial  zoned areas that have flat expanses of roof and parking areas, hard surfaces make water drainage difficult, increasing flooding risk and storm sewer overload. These areas also are perfect for the installation of blue roofs, to mitigate and control stormwater.

Where is a good example of a  new blue roof being implemented? No surprise it is in The Netherlands where water management has been pivotal to the success of the country. 

You can take a look below at the YouTube video describing how the innovative Resilio project will create 10,000 square meters of “blue-green” roofs on social housing. There are also active and passive blue roofs, referring to the  capacity of the roofs to retain water and the speed at which the water is released.


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