Long-term and seasonal hydrologic performance of an extensive green roof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Sustainable strategies such as green roofs have been implemented as stormwater management tools to mitigate disturbance of the hydrologic cycle resulting from urbanization. Green roofs, also referred to as vegetated roofs, can improve the urban landscape by reducing heat island effects, providing ecosystem services, and facilitating the retention and treatment of stormwater. Green roofs have received particular attention because they do not require acquisition and development of land and represent an application of biomimicry in design and construction. In this paper, we evaluate the effects of precipitation, evapotranspiration (ET), antecedent dry period (ADP), and seasonal variation on the run-off quantity and distribution of an extensive, sedum covered, green roof on a commercial building in Syracuse, NY, USA. The green roof greatly facilitated retention of precipitation events without significant changes over the 4-year study. The green roof retained on average 95.9 ± 3.6% (6.5 ± 5.6 mm) per rainfall event, with a range from 75% to 99.6% (33.2 to 3.3 mm). However, as precipitation quantity increased, the retention of water decreased. This high water retention capacity was the result of the combined effects of ET, stormwater storage (plants, growth media, and stormwater retention layer), and limited surface run-off from the roof deck due to variation in the sloping of the green roof and the tapered insulation to the deck drains. The water retention capacity of the green roof did not change significantly between growing and nongrowing seasons. Slightly greater precipitation during the growing season coincided with increased ET. Average potential ET during the growing season was approximately 3 times greater than during the nongrowing season. The hydrologic performance of the green roof was not significantly impacted by an ADP greater than 2 days.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2471-2482
Number of pages12
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number16
StatePublished - Jul 30 2018


  • evapotranspiration
  • green roof
  • hydrologic response
  • urban stormwater run-off
  • vegetated roof

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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