Jure Šumi, Knauf Insulation’s Green Solutions’ Advocacy Lead, envisages an urban future where grey concrete is replaced by vibrant parks, gardens, green roofs and walls.
The two stunning Bosco Verticale towers have become international landmarks for Milan in Italy. Featuring 800 trees and 20,000 plants, they are a celebration of green infrastructure and natural inspiration.
In the Kolkata region of India, Piali Ashar Alo primary school now features a 600 m2 green roof and garden that keeps the children cool during the soaring summer heat, helps absorb water during the rainy season and is the perfect place to have lessons in biodiversity.
In the UAE, the 3,000 m2 Dubai Opera Garden provides a welcome place to relax in the Middle Eastern heat, while at the French business park of Zac des Montagnes in Ouest à Champniers an 8,300 m2 green roof installed on a retail building is capable of absorbing the equivalent of almost two 2,500 m3 Olympic swimming pools of rainwater every year.
Different types of buildings in different countries, but with one common factor, each project features Knauf Insulation solutions whether it is our Urbanscape Green Roofs (for the school, retail park and Dubai Opera) or our Rock Mineral Wool in the case of Bosco Verticale.
More importantly all the projects, demonstrate an exciting green infrastructure vision of the future of buildings.
Jure Šumi, Knauf Insulation’s Green Solutions’ Advocacy Lead and the spokesman for the World Green Infrastructure Network (WGIN), says: “At Knauf Insulation we envisage an urban future where grey concrete is replaced by parks, gardens, green roofs and green walls.
“Places that are climate resilient, energy efficient and carbon neutral. Places where communities and biodiversity can thrive in naturally beautiful surroundings. In other words, urban centres inspired by green infrastructure.”
Jure has been deeply involved in the European Commission’s New European Bauhaus initiative which is designed to “re-imagine living space” and sustainable communities.
“Let me give you a great example of how the greening of a building can be a life-changing gift to the community,” he says.
“Legislation in Ljubljana, Slovenia, mandates green roofs for buildings bigger than 400 m2. When a new shopping mall was built in the centre of Ljubljana a green roof was installed featuring a basketball court, running track and play area, it became a place where people could feel part of a community together.
“Previously the neighbourhood was far from any major park and surrounded by concrete. Now it has the gift of its own green space.”
Local municipalities must engage with their communities and ask what they need, says Jure. School children want places to grow vegetables and flowers, communities want parks, people want more greenery in their lives. And all this green infrastructure adds up in terms of improving carbon capture and biodiversity.
In Europe, there are European Commission proposals that provide unique international opportunities to allow green infrastructure to flourish, says Jure.
Among these is the European Commission’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, and the European Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.
Jure says: “Green infrastructure such as our Urbanscape solutions are great for biodiversity, absorbing carbon, excess rainwater and air pollution as well as cooling buildings and saving energy, but they also provide sustainable centres of the community that transform lives.
“For every revision and every consultation in these European Commission's proposals, Urbanscape and Knauf Insulation will be campaigning for the incorporation of more green roofs.”
Photo: Urbanscape® Green Roof was installed to striking effect on Jumeirah Gate, a hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.