Concurrent Sessions 4 | Feb 20, 2020 > (CS4-ER) Integrating Natural Elements into Creative Building Practices

(CS4-ER) Integrating Natural Elements into Creative Building Practices

posted on 5:29 PM, November 14, 2019

Moderator: Michael Stanyer

Blue-Green Connected Roofs: How much better does a “blue-green connected” roof perform to reduce heating/cooling loads and manage storm water?

Presenter: Harvy Takhar

Enhancing biodiversity in an urbanized area can be achieved by implementing green roofs. A healthy green roof can reduce the energy loads for heating and cooling a building as well as reduce stormwater runoff. However, in many climates green roofs underperform mainly due to drought conditions leading to poor vegetation health during the warmer season. Perhaps including a cavity underneath the green roof’s vegetation and growing medium with a wicking system can keep the vegetation healthier and optimize the performance. This system is called a "connected blue-green roof" for the purposes of this study.

The BCIT research team, in conjunction with the City of Vancouver and research partners, have constructed various instrumented roof assemblies that include a conventional, blue, green and connected blue-green roof. The research aims to provide a quantitative measure for each roof type to measure the heating/cooling load and stormwater management, and to observe the health of the vegetation.

Adaptation through Amphibiation

Presenter: Dr. Elizabeth English

Amphibious housing presents intriguing possibilities in the quest for sustainable responses to the impending global climate change crisis. Suitable new housing types are needed for populated regions where sea level rise and heightened storm activity are expected to intensify flooding. Amphibious foundation systems allow a house to remain close to the ground with the appearance of an ordinary house, but to rise with rising floodwater and float on the surface until the flood recedes, at which time it returns to its original position. 

This strategy has great potential to benefit vulnerable populations that currently face the difficult choice between leaving their traditional homelands or living with the devastation that severe flooding can cause in their communities.  Amphibious architecture works in synchrony with nature, allowing water to flow where it will rather than attempting to control it. Thus, amphibious retrofitting is a particularly appropriate, low-cost strategy for indigenous cultures with strong connections to place and respect for natural systems.