The European Commission defines Green Infrastructure as “A strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features designed and managed to provide a wide range of ecosystem services such as water purification, air quality, recreational space, and climate mitigation and adaptation. This network of green (land) and blue (water) spaces can improve environmental conditions and therefore the health and quality of life of citizens. It also supports the green economy, creates job opportunities, and improves biodiversity” (European Commission, 2016).
The European Green Pact states that “The construction, use, and renovation of buildings require significant amounts of energy and mineral resources (e.g. sand, gravel, cement). Buildings also account for 40% of all energy consumed during their use phase. Today, the annual renovation rate of the building stock varies from 0.4 to 1.2% across the Member States. This rate will have to at least double to meet the EU’s energy efficiency targets for buildings as well as the climate targets”. The renovation wave, not coincidentally identified as a priority for the Green Deal, aims to address multiple challenges – energy consumption, energy poverty, developing local SMEs, promoting job creation, meeting environmental and climate targets.
The Greening of buildings, including both roof and vertical landscaping, has been a common building practice in advanced countries for decades. Its popularity worldwide has become even greater in recent years in connection with the concept of green infrastructure and so-called nature-based solutions in architecture and construction.
The green building movement is believed to have started in the 1970s. The most important objectives were formulated as follows:
The definition of an environmentally friendly building today also corresponds to these two main aspects: it is a building that creates a comfortable and healthy living environment; it has low operating costs and therefore does not burden nature.
There are different technologies for greening buildings, the most common being:
Vertical Façade Landscaping – Technology for covering or “wrapping” various building volumes with appropriate (trailing) vegetation.
The reasons why landscaped buildings are seen as part of the concept of green infrastructure and greening of construction are the many benefits and especially the BENEFITS OF GREEN COVERS
REGULATORY BASIS FOR LANDSCAPING OF BUILDINGS – EXAMPLES
Numerous examples from Western European countries, USA, Canada, Japan, Singapore, etc. show that a prerequisite for the implementation of building landscaping technologies is their regulation through normative and legislative framework. Below are some examples of regulation and normalization indicated in the development plans of land use plans:
Source : https://www.geoplastglobal.com
Mandatory requirement all flat roofs of
new and renovated buildings to be landscaped, with no minimum area size.
Source : https://www.greenroofs.com
Source : https://www.london.gov.uk
Portland, United States
TYPES OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT
The element of compulsory support is combined in many cities with various options of support from municipalities or other authorities. According to the German Gardeners’ Association (ZVG), the Organisation of Park Administrators of German Cities (GALK), and the Organisation for Research and Development in Landscape Construction (FLL):
In Germany, out of 193 major cities, 29 give direct financial support for the construction of roof gardens within 25 to 100% of the cost. In 41 cities, roof gardening is seen as a measure to balance the negative environmental impact of buildings, which is mandatory according to the German Federal Environmental Protection Act. In 27 cities, a building permit is only issued if the project includes roof landscaping.
Landscaped roofs with high water retention capacity constructed on large buildings (public, residential, etc.) may receive relief equivalent to up to 50% of the ‘stormwater’ tax and are 100% exempt if there is no stormwater discharge to the sewer system.
In Germany, as in most developed countries, there are other incentives such as environmental compensation and inclusion in regulatory mechanisms, credits relief, start-up grants to encourage the voluntary creation and maintenance of landscaping.
THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK IN BULGARIA
Although criteria for green architecture have not yet been developed in Bulgaria, the concept is beginning to be established primarily as part of environmental and especially landscape architecture. Normatively, the process of green architecture started with a change of the Territorial Planning Act in 2007, wherein Art. 10 of the Law stipulated the development of municipal ordinances for the protection, development, and construction of green systems.
Mandatory norms for green areas are set out in Ordinance No. 7 of 2003 on Rules and Regulations for the Development of Individual Types of Territories and Spatial Zones. The first steps for introducing the element of obligatory nature of this practice in Bulgaria were made by the Ordinance on the construction, maintenance, and protection of the green system of the Sofia Municipality of 11.10.2007. According to Article 25 (3) in development zones with a building density of more than 60%, the green areas on terraces, roof gardens, and above underground buildings and facilities shall be included in the total green area of the property if, according to the construction design and the vertical planning project, a soil layer of more than 0.6 m is provided. In case of less soil layer (but not less than 0,3 m) their area shall be multiplied by a factor of 0,8. However, without underestimating the capacity of roof landscaping, the above weighting factors are inflated, both in relation to traditional green areas and in comparison with the factors adopted in other countries. This compares with the 2006 adopted guidelines for the use of green roofs. In the 2006 Paris Master Plan for roof gardens with a substrate thickness of 0.8 m this coefficient is 0.5, for landscaped roofs and roof terraces with a shallower depth – 0.3, for landscaped walls, walls, and other vertical surfaces – the coefficient is 0.2.