Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Environment, Education and Development


RELEVANCE & SCIENTIFIC VALUE Green roofs can provide important ecosystem services within the urban environment from biodiversity, climate change adaptation, air quality management, environmental performance of buildings, aesthetic/recreational value, to economic value through local food growing and public health benefits. In spite of this there is currently a lack of formalised guidance or policy provision, particularly in the UK, due in part to the lack of scientific research which attempts to explicitly quantify the environmental benefits of green roofs. Green roof installation can form part of a wider strategy towards achieving National Indicator performance targets, in addition to complementing ongoing priorities for the region, such as the Manchester Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategies and the GM Air Quality Action Plan, and this has provided the motivation for Manchester City Council (MCC) to fund the CASE element of the studentship. Key issues are what role do green roofs play in climate change adaptation? What is a best practice green roof for the Greater Manchester region (size, type of vegetation)? What are the longer term implications of green roof installation (e.g. level of maintenance required, performance under future climate scenarios)? AIM The project aim is to quantitatively establish the role of green roofs in improving the local environment using the case study area of Greater Manchester. The specific emphasis of the project will be on climate feedbacks which affect the role of green roofs as a mechanism for delivering climate change adaptation. The work will also have relevance for a fuller assessment of ecosystem services building on existing and proposed work by MCC and the University of Manchester. The research will use a combination of experimental monitoring and climate modelling to assess the environmental performance of green roofs, which offers a stimulating and feasible PhD topic. RESEARCH QUESTIONS 1. What is the local context in terms of biodiversity, flood risk, temperature, air quality, under current and future climate conditions? 2. How can green roofs be classified? 3. How can green roofs be monitored and what type of quantitative index is appropriate for describing the environmental implications of green roofs? 4. What climate change adaptation role could green roofs play, under current and future climate conditions? 5. Does the size and type of green roof effect the capacity of the green roof for climate change adaptation? 6. What are the environmental barriers to implementation and limitations for green roof performance (e.g. drought limiting the cooling benefits of green roofs)? 7. What is a 'best practice' green roof for the local context? BENEFITS OF THE COLLABORATION MCC will benefit from scientific supporting evidence to promote green roofs in the region. The studentship will assess feasibility for green roof development in the region and provide best practice guidelines for green roofs in Manchester. For the student, the policy-relevance of their work will be implicit. MCC will provide expertise in biodiversity in the region, access to key databases and contacts at the Green Roof Centre in Sheffield, and excellent opportunities for knowledge transfer through the Green Roof Guidance Document and training events (run jointly with Red Rose Forest). The studentship will further strengthen existing links between the University and the council, which were established through the EPSRC ASCCUE and SCORCHIO projects. EQUIPMENT Equipment provision will be via related research projects at the University. Available equipment includes: Rotronics Air Temperature & RH sensors, Gill Sonic Anemometer for windspeed and direction, Delta-T BF3 Radiation and Sunshine Sensor, tipping rain gauge, Vaisala portable weather station, soil moisture theta probe. The student will also have access to appropriate software such as ArcGIS, MapInfo, Mathematica and MATLAB.


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