Contributions to the design of rainwater harvesting systems in buildings with green roofs in a Mediterranean climate

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Green roofs (GRs) are becoming a trend in urban areas, favouring thermal performance of buildings, promoting removal of atmospheric pollutants, and acting as possible water collection spots. Rainwater harvesting systems in buildings can also contribute to the management of stormwater runoff reducing flood peaks. These technologies should be enhanced in Mediterranean countries where water scarcity is increasing and the occurrence of extreme events is becoming very significant, as a result of climate change. An extensive pilot GR with three aromatic plant species, Satureja montana, Thymus caespititius and Thymus pseudolanuginosus, designed to study several parameters affecting rainwater runoff, has been in operation for 12 months. Physico-chemical analyses of roof water runoff (turbidity, pH, conductivity, NH4+, NO3, PO43−, chemical oxygen demand) have shown that water was of sufficient quality for non-potable uses in buildings, such as toilet flushing. An innovative approach allowed for the development of an expression to predict a ‘monthly runoff coefficient’ of the GR system. This parameter is essential when planning and designing GRs combined with rainwater harvesting systems in a Mediterranean climate. This study is a contribution to improving the basis for the design of rainwater harvesting systems in buildings with extensive GRs under a Mediterranean climate.

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