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Low Impact Development 2008 © 2008 ASCE

Contribution of green roofs, green façades and green streets to reducing
stormwater runoff, CO2 emissions and energy demand in cities
Daniel Roehr1, Jon Laurenz2, and Yuewei Kong3

Founder of the greenskins_lab, Design Centre for Sustainability [DCS], and
Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
[SALA], University of British Columbia [UBC]. 385-2357 Main Mall. Vancouver,
BC, Canada. V6T1Z4; PH (604) 827-4056; FAX (604) 822-2184; e-mail:
Co-founder, architect and researcher for the greenskins_lab, DCS-SALA-UBC;
e-mail: jonlaurenz@yahoo.com
Researcher for the greenskins_lab, DCS-SALA-UBC; e-mail: kevin.kong@shaw.ca

Keywords: green roofs, green façades, green streets, energy savings, stormwater
runoff, green factors, green envelopes, CO2 emissions


The research focuses on the environmental benefits derived from an overall

intervention of green envelope types [roofs, façades and streets] in the city core of
Vancouver, Canada. To achieve this, it analyzes previous precedents conducted in
cities such as Berlin, Germany; Malmö, Sweden; Toronto, Vancouver, Canada;
Chicago and Seattle, USA; and applies the data to a particular case study area in
Downtown Vancouver. It then applies the Seattle Green Factor to the case study area,
and quantifies the contribution of the green envelope interventions in order to
ameliorate environmental impacts in terms of reducing stormwater runoff, CO2
emissions, and energy demand by buildings.

Calculated results from the case study area shows that the addition of green roofs,
green façades and green streets would reduce stormwater runoff up to 13% (4% by
green roofs, 3% by green streets and 6% by green façades), reduce building energy
demand by 9%, and CO2 emissions by 12%. With these findings, the paper proposes a
new Vancouver Green Factor for the selected area, which introduces new concepts to
these types of green factors, such as the volumetric value of urban surfaces.