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Conservation right up to the rooftop

by Rosanna Galvin

Mostafa Razzaghmanesh on the ANZ building’s green roof in the Adelaide CBD.The greening of Adelaide’s rooftops could be the answer to the growing demands of urbanisation in South Australia, says UniSA PhD candidate Mostafa Razzaghmanesh (pictured right).

Together with Fifth Creek Studios, an architecture and landscaping company founded by Graeme Hopkins and UniSA alumnus Christine Goodwin, Razzaghmanesh is working to develop resilient green roofs as part of a project jointly funded by the South Australian Government and Aspen Development.

A recipient of the University President’s Scholarship – awarded to research students on academic merit – Razzaghmanesh says green roofs, which cover the highest part of a building or structure with vegetation, address some of the problems associated with urbanisation.

“Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world, with 85 per cent of its inhabitants living in towns or cities. Urbanisation growth increases impervious areas such as roads, roofs, parking lots, highways and pavers in the metropolitan areas,” he says.

“This leads to removal of native vegetation cover in the urban area, which increases run-off volume, peak flow and reduces the time of concentration. These effects bring more pressure on urban drainage systems.

“Green roofs, as one of the Water Sensitive Urban Design systems, can cover the already available dense area and provide environmental, economic and social benefits.”

Working principally on the 22nd rooftop floor of the ANZ House building in the Adelaide CBD, Razzaghmanesh is examining water quantity and quality through careful monitoring and laboratory testing. The PhD candidate says his findings will have a positive effect on the future of green roofs in Australia.

“The current research project is investigating the water quantity and quality, with results showing that in some cases the green roofs act as a source of nutrients, as well there being a general trend indicating that pollutants concentration are decreasing in the beds,” Razzaghmanesh says.

“We have also found there is a possibility to reuse this run-off for non-drinking purposes such as toilet-flushing and urban landscape irrigation.

“Laboratory and field investigations of rainfall and run-off confirm that green roofs can retain significant amounts of stormwater and can also reduce the peak flow and ease the time of concentration.

“Integrating green roofs into the built environments of Adelaide could work as a climate change adaption tool that could yield significant benefits.

“Green technology is relatively new in Australia and there are research gaps and practical barriers to applying the technology widely. The outcomes of this study will assist urban planners in developing a resilient green roof model for the city of Adelaide.”

Green roofs have been identified as a suitable Water-Sensitive Urban Design technique in Adelaide’s 30 Year Plan, which documents the vision for the future of the Greater Adelaide region. The plan highlights the need to incorporate green roofs into future buildings and structures.

When he’s not working on top of one of Adelaide’s rooftops, Razzaghmanesh is based at the School of Natural and Built Environments.

To find out more about green roofs and the green roof project at ANZ House, click here.

Illumination sheds light on research degrees

An upcoming information evening, ‘Illumination’, being held at City East campus is set to shed light on research degrees at UniSA.

Leading academics and current PhD students from UniSA’s research centres and institutes will be on campus to help answer questions about higher research degree study.

The evening will include information booths and presentations that will highlight the areas of research available at UniSA and the range of scholarships on offer.

‘Illumination’ will also detail the opportunities open to research degree students, such as international travel, industry engagement and publication options.

‘Illumination’ will be held at the Basil Hetzel Building, City East campus on August 8 from 5-7pm. For more information, click here.