Green roofs for a wide brown land: Opportunities and barriers for rooftop greening in Australia

There is increasing public, industry and government interest in establishing green roofs in Australian cities due to their demonstrated environmental benefits. While a small number of green roofs have been constructed in Australia, most are roof gardens or intensive green roofs. Despite their potential as a climate change adaptation and mitigation tool and their widespread use in the northern hemisphere, there are very few examples of extensive green roofs in Australia. One of the major barriers to increasing the prevalence of extensive green roofs in Australia is the lack of scientific data available to evaluate their applicability to local conditions. Relying on European and North American experience and technology is problematic due to significant differences in climate, available substrates and plants. This paper examines green roofs in Australia, discusses the challenges to increasing their use and the major information gaps that need to be researched to progress the industry in Australia.