Green roof retrofit potential in the central business district


The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the potential for green roof retrofit to commercial buildings in a city centre to property managers and other property professionals.


This paper addresses the research question: what is the potential of existing buildings in the CBD to accommodate a retrofitted green roof? Furthermore, it questions how many buildings are suitable for green roofs? The researchers compile a unique building database incorporating information about 536 commercial buidings and evaluate the potential suitability of each building to undergo a green roof retrofit. Assisted by other commercially available databases and software, the researchers are able to assess each roof based on criteria derived from an extensive literature review.


A relatively small proportion of roofs are found to be suitable, partly a result of local climate conditions and rainfall patterns, and the physical property stock. On a purely physical assessment, only a very small proportion of CBD stock is found to be suited. These buildings are most likely to be in low secondary locations, ungraded or B grade buildings, privately owned, concrete framed and not overshadowed by adjoining properties.


Property managers and other property professionals can now determine the potential of their portfolio stock for green roof retrofit based on the review of building attributes required for success adaptation in this paper. It possible that greater potential for green roof retrofit exists in the suburbs or regional towns where lower rise buildings may reduce the amount of overshadowing found in city centres. Follow‐up research could focus on a comparison of regional and suburban developments.


This is the first study of its kind and has assessed such a large number of buildings for their suitability for green roof retrofit; the findings provide a reliable guide for policymakers regarding the potential number of city centre buildings which would be possible to retrofit. Such findings should influence policymaking and incentives to target effective sustainability policies with regards to existing buildings.

Keywords:Environmental management, Global warming, Roofs, Buildings, AustraliaType:Research paperPublisher:Emerald Group Publishing LimitedCopyright:© Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2009

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