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6 misconceptions about roof gardens

/ 12:15 AM October 24, 2015

Cultivating the ideal setting to promote in-building ecosystems, roof gardens are integral options to reduce heat absorption of buildings and improve the quality of air in the city.

In 2001, new buildings in Tokyo covering more than 1,000 square meters per area were required to green at least 20 percent of their useable roof space to combat the “heat island” effect. The enlightened policy was widely praised by urban planners at the time, but it was hardly an original idea—the Hanging Gardens of Babylon built over 2500 years ago, for example, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, engineered an unforgettable, ascending tier of gardens populated with all kinds of trees, shrubs and vines.

Urban roof gardens, we now know, have proven environment, economic and emotional benefits. More and more developers and landowners in the city are joining the green movement to help save our earth’s depleting resources.

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In-building ecosystems

For their in-building ecosystems, Rockwell Center and Greenbelt 5 in Makati, The Medical City in Pasig, the Mind Museum in Taguig, and the Sarossa Hotel in Cebu City all use the European-designed Daku roof garden engineering system. The Medical City in Pasig has multiple roof levels incorporating the gardens, where patients even use to stroll and enjoy the view.

Daku is exclusively installed by Specialty Contracts & General Construction Services Inc. (Specserv), a pioneering Filipino company, handpicked by distributors and consumers alike for its extensive knowledge on waterproofing for the past three decades.

Daku dispels six misconceptions about roof gardens:

1. Roof gardens are prone to leaks. Not necessarily. All roofs must have proper waterproofing and drainage systems installed by a trusted contractor with wide experience. Daku uses Nuraplan PVC sheet membrane that is root- and rot-proof. This technology has insulated, for example, the Ayala Triangle Garden basement parking area for 15 years from the “root attack” of very large trees above it.

2. Roof gardens flood. Old roof garden systems certainly due to soil-clogged drains. Daku, however, uses a unique planting medium allowing water to easily flow into a storage and drainage cell called FSD 20, designed to efficiently collect then gradually siphon off excess rainwater.

3. Roof gardens are useful only for aesthetic purposes. No, they also reduce the heat absorption of buildings, lowering air-conditioning costs. On a social level, they create recreational spaces, and when used with imagination can even be utilized for small-scale urban agriculture.

4. Roof gardens are high-maintenance. The Daku element reservoir-and-substrate system can store up to 55 liters of water per square meter, significantly reducing irrigation requirements. Moreover, the planting medium (unlike normal garden soil) entails far fewer man-hours of cultivation labor.

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5. Roof gardens are structurally unfriendly. Untrue, because the lightweight engineering system behind Daku only weighs 170 kilograms per sqm even when wet.

6. Roof gardens are too expensive. In truth, choosing the right system not only creates welcome spaces for social interaction and lowers a building’s environmental footprint (likely reducing energy costs), it also often adds to property market value.

Waterproofing expert

Specserv has been the country’s authority in waterproofing for more than 30 years and the pioneer of infallible roof garden engineering systems with its use of the newest innovative products. For more information, visit www.SpecservInc.com.

Specserv has modified the Daku roof garden engineering system to service homeowners who also wish to be part of this inner-city ecological innovation. Dubbed Bungkal (short for Bubong Kalikasan or “Nature’s Roof”), the recalibrated technology now offers affordable and adjustable light-roof garden systems to residences.

The megacities we live in need not be concrete jungles. There can still be pockets of greenery that nourish the soul and at the same time help solve broader environmental issues—one rooftop at a time.

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TAGS: column, property, roof garden, tessa prieto-valdes
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