Green on top
Green on top
If you were working in Mexico City between skyscrapers and a sea of densely populated stone, how would you like it if the nearest park where you could enjoy lunch in green surroundings was just 5 floors up from your office? Wouldn't breaks be more recreational up in the green rather than down on the street breathing in the sticky air while you queue for a table at an overfilled restaurant nearby?
Admittedly, green roofs serve more of a purpose for a building than merely offering recreational space for its occupants. They absorb rainwater, provide insulation and create a habitat for wildlife. Natural roofscapes also mitigate the “urban heat island effect”, a phenomenon mainly caused by the modification of the land surface resulting from urban development, which uses materials that effectively retain heat. And green roofs help to lower urban air temperatures.
Green roofing systems have enjoyed a boom in Mexico over the past 3 years. This was largely driven by the Federal Government, which has implemented programs to enhance the quality of the environment in Mexico and create awareness within the construction industry and among the general population of ways to improve the quality of life and contribute to the care of the planet. But where can you find the biggest green roof in the whole of Latin America and what is its story behind it?
Reducing greenhouse effect
Beginning with programs implemented by the government which are focused directly on promoting the construction of sustainable housing through economic incentives, INFONAVIT (Institute of the National Housing Fund for Workers) helps workers in the construction field to learn how to include materials and systems that contribute to reducing energy consumption and increasing solar reflection, which in turn reduces the greenhouse effect. What is more, of course, materials produced through controlled, environmentally friendly processes are to be used.
INFONAVIT itself led by example when it installed on the roof of its own corporate building a green roof system with Sika Sarnafil products, so creating a recreational area for employees on the building's roof and raising environmental awareness among them. The green construction highlights the advantages and benefits obtained by having an insulating green roof on the building which is capable of collecting rainwater and thereby plays a part in preventing saturation of the sewer system by storm water.
Biggest green roof of Latin America
Covering an area of approximately 5.000 m2, this green roof on top of the INFONAVIT building is currently the largest in Latin America. It was installed on a concrete deck placing first a protective geotextile, upon which the PVC waterproofing membrane Sika Sarnafil was placed. Over the PVC membrane was placed a drainage layer, which allows an easy flow of rain water. Prior to adding soil and vegetation, a layer of geotextile was laid in order to prevent the passage of fine content in the soil which could obstruct the downspouts.