One of the multifunctional benefits of green roofs is the improvement of building thermodynamics.
At the same time, research has shown that the green roof’s thermal behavior and its effectiveness is highly influenced by the surrounding climate.
Green roofs can mitigate for the urban heat island phenomenon while the vegetation layer can influence indoor thermal conditions.
Studies have suggested that different regions, greening styles, plant materials and substrate formulations affect the thermal behavior of green roofs.
For example, the thermal properties of a green roof vary significantly with moisture, which is dependable on the region.
Generally, however, a green roof controls the temperature of the whole building and creates more stable conditions, keeping it cool in the summer and reducing heat loss in the winter.
For optimal thermal comfort and sustainability however, the application of both a vegetated system (green roof) as well as minimal synthetic insulation is advised.
The winter thermal benefits depend on vegetation type and material properties of layers (thickness, physical structure and thermal conductivity).
The vegetation layer is a better insulator than the substrate layer.
An occasion where the green roof’s effectiveness is reduced is as ice penetrates, which leads to greater heat losses as the thermal behavior of the soil is affected.