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An American Ecologist in New Zealand: Part IV, Green Roofs!

Biohabitats ecologist Suzanne Hoehne, tells us about some of the green roofs she has seen in New Zealand, where she is participating in a Rotary Group Study Exchange program.

The first green roof I visited was located at Wynyard Quarter, part of a downtown waterfront redevelopment that incorporates a lot of green infrastructure.  Already completed is the welcome center, which has a green roof.  The building itself is made up of cargo containers. Stormwater360 installed the green roof and the Landcare Research will monitor it for biodiversity of both flora and fauna. Robyn Simcock of Landcare Research also showed me around their facility out in Tamaki, where they are studying green roofs.  Research has been ongoing on five shed roofs to determine vegetation performance, water quality and runoff changes, and biodiversity response. They have had  good rates of reducing runoff both peak flow rates and volumes. For more info see www.livingroofs.org.nz.

The next day we went up in the Sky Tower, which is the tallest man made structure in New Zealand.  From there, I was able to see the green roof on the NZI building. According to the designer Greenroofs Ltd.’s website, all the excess rain water from the green roof is used to flush the toilets in the building.  The building has achieved a 5 star Green NZ rating from the NZGBC.  This is the only green roof that I could see from the Sky Tower.

Finally, the last green roof community I had the opportunity to visit was outside Matamata, New Zealand.  The community only has green roofs, and the building style is reminiscent of rural England.  Three gardeners are employed full time on site.  It has been used as a film site for various movies, one is coming out soon.  If you can guess where this is. . . kudos to you!

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