Greening the Roof

Singapore leads the way in maximising urban space while caring for the environment – by introducing green spaces and solar parks to building rooftops.

PHOTOS ALVINN LIM
 

I

n recent years, Singapore has found creative ways to overcome its space constraints by repurposing its rooftops to contribute to environmental sustainability.

Befitting its reputation as a Garden City, rooftops are often used as green spaces for both commercial and recreational activities. Gardens and urban farms can be found on top of shopping malls, residential blocks and even hospitals. The sky terrace at *Scape, the youth hub in downtown Orchard, is home to Comcrop, Singapore’s first commercial rooftop farm, and has also played host to cheerleading and dance events. Slacklining enthusiasts also use the space to practise their routines.

In tropical Singapore, these green spaces provide natural heat insulation so less energy is required to cool the buildings down. During the monsoon season, the green roofs also help to slow storm-water runoff, thereby lowering the risk of flash floods in urban areas. The turfed roofs of the Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art, Design and Media (pictured) are irrigated via a rainwater collection system installed on them.

Solar panels are also installed on rooftops across sunny Singapore to generate electricity. At 1,200 sq m, the Solar Park on the Green Roof of the Marina Barrage is one of the country’s largest collections of solar panels. A total of 405 panels generate about 76,000kWh electricity per year – equivalent to the annual energy consumption of about 20 public housing units in Singapore. The electricity generated supplements the building’s daytime power needs.

 


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