The first ever Israeli research center for Green Roofs Ecology is about to start functioning at University of Haifa. Non-irrigated green roofs, improvements on biological diversity and development of ecological and evolutionary theories will be among the areas on which research at the center will focus.
The center is facilitated by VP for External Relations and Resource Development Amos Gaver and funded by a British expert.
The “green roofs” gardening method aims to enhance building’s energy efficiency, and at the same time reduce environmental damage. It is known to improve buildings’ insulation and therefore lower heating and air-conditioning consumption, reduce quantities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by increasing photosynthesis, and provides living conditions for various animals in urban settings.
Considering the unique climate of the Middle East, findings based on “green roofs” research developed in other countries were not applicable in Israel. Hence, the new center, headed by Prof. Leon Blaustein of the University’s Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology, will focus on making this type of work suitable for Israeli conditions. Besides assembling green roofs without artificial irrigation, selecting the most suitable species for the purpose, and studying the effect of “green roofs” on local biological diversity, the center will also test various ways to utilize greywater irrigation for the roofs.
The conversion of the rooftops has already started. One of the buildings at the University of Haifa is now equipped with a green research laboratory roof that has 48 different plant beds. These will be used to establish which plan species are most suitable and their effects on insects and birds in the area.
University President Amos Shapira and a number of benefactors attended the official dedicated ceremony.