Solutions

B-Green-XL - sustainable green e-roofs - greening the city from the top down

A New Green Deal Challenge or Brussels

How can Brussels lead by example to become a green, sustainable city? Green solar roofs are a nature-based multi-purpose services-solution: to improve air quality, to be a carbon sink, absorb rainwater, reduce energy consumption, and empower residents by means of a “Green Deal challenge competition"

Team
Brussels Green Deal
Natasa KURUCKI ; Mikko SALO ; Arnold WEISZENBACHER
Contact details
mikko.salo@iki.fi

Solar oases in Brussels - greening from the top down

Roof gardens with photovoltaics help tackling air pollution, increasing biodiversity, and transforming buildings into self-sustaining living units. But there are few green solar roofs in Brussels. How can integrative planning and implementation be optimized? How can economic efficiency be increased?

Read more about Solar oases in Brussels - greening from the top down

A New Green Deal Challenge or Brussels

How can Brussels lead by example to become a green, sustainable city? Green solar roofs are a nature-based multi-purpose services-solution: to improve air quality, to be a carbon sink, absorb rainwater, reduce energy consumption, and empower residents by means of a “Green Deal challenge competition"

Solution context

Roof gardens with photovoltaics help tackling air pollution, increasing biodiversity and transforming buildings into self-sustaining living units. But there are few green solar roofs in Brussels. How can integrative planning and implementation be optimized? How can economic efficiency be increased?

The effects of climate change - in particular, the increasing heat stress and heavy rainfall events - pose significant challenges to cities, which will only increase in the future. In the development of sustainable new urban districts, the right course must already be set today in order to be able to cope with these effects and contribute to climate protection over the long-term.

In the context of urban development, increasing the quality of life in the built environment, improving thermal comfort and optimized climate resilience, green roofs offer interesting perspectives. Measures such as a low degree of land sealing, tree plantings, shading, rainwater management, a high degree of greening, roof and facade greenery can contribute to the improvement of the urban microclimate. Moreover, it allows sustaining and increasing biodiversity, improve building performance and develop urban agriculture. Due to the limited use of pesticides in an urban area, honey harvested from urban beehives can be healthier than from rural bee populations.

Between 2017 and 2020, almost 85 000 m2 of photovoltaic panels will be installed on the roofs of public buildings. These panels contribute to meeting one of the climate targets of the Brussels metropolitan area: double the production of renewable energy between 2017 and 2020. Green roofs and photovoltaics are not mutually exclusive.

There are many good reasons to combine photovoltaic and greening: e.g. to enhance building performance through cooling effects.

The focus of this challenge is therefore not the question "green or solar?", but "How to promote green solar roofs and facades in Brussels…with ambitious confidence?".

Solution description

From above it strikes that Brussels has little green. Over time, progress is slow. 

Brussels needs to show the way by means of a 'Green Deal'

  • As the capital of Europe, Brussels should lead by example 
  • Cleaner air and healthier environment required by citizens
    – Nitrogen dioxide levels to be reduced by 25% to comply with legal limits
    – Concurrently, the need for overall GHG emissions reduction
  • New Green Deal is the vehicle to achieve these objectives
  • House owners and tenants to be empowered to drive change

The solution consists of green solar roofs as a nature-based services approach to improving air quality, serving as a carbon sink, reducing energy consumption and empowering Brussels residents with “green deal challenge competition”

TARGET: make 50% of roofs’ usable surface ‘working’ for cleaner air, heat absorption, energy production and well-being of residents by 2025

IMPLEMENTATION: community involvement via win-win challenge competition:

  • Top-down: political example by positive competition
  • Commission leads by installing green solar roofs on Commission buildings and challenge local authorities to follow
  • Local authorities, in turn, challenge their communities to a cooperative competition for greening Brussels together
  • Subsequent trickling down at individual level between community residents
  • Bottom-up: Empowering local communities to take a more direct role in the process, e.g. the election of ‘Green Officers’

    ELEMENTS 

  • Social innovation (positive competition for a green cause)
  • Provide toolkit and expertise for citizens to implement nature-based solutions on their own
  • Create a platform to match supply and demand
  • Implementation of a ‘Green Officers’ network by training and empowering local leaders with the right skills
  • Adjusting the home-ownership tax according to green-index of the roof
  • Remove green tax for hotels which implement green or solar roofs

IMPACT ASSESSMENT
Climate impact mitigation 
Ecological (biodiversity)
Health
Energy savings
Social inclusion (job)

 

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