literature review 11

Author’s Name

Over the years, the number and quality of sustainable resources hasdecreased as a result of human activities. In turn, more societiesare using technological inventions and innovations to solve issuesthat pertain to their environment (Li &amp Yeung, 2014). Green Roofsrepresents one of the forms of technology, which assist in theprevention of flooding, runoffs, and swamps in arid regions. Whilesuch places are dry, they still experience challenges of flashflooding during the rainy and winter season. As such, buildinghouses, commercial buildings, and modern infrastructure using greenroofs can serve as a viable solution for arid regions like the cityof Jeddah. To have a better understanding of green roof technology asan effective method of environmental sustainability, it is vital tolook at various ways in which green roofing benefits various parts ofthe globe (Baumert, 2015).

The paper provides a literature review on sources, which offerextensive research on the use of green roofs as a form of floodmitigation in arid lands.

Green Roofs Technology

According to (Behm, 2012) green roof technology dates back to theancient times of the Babylon and Roman Empire. At the time, peoplegrew trees on the rooftop of buildings and structures in the cities.The growth of urbanization in different capital cities gets creditfor the need to promote greeneries. For example, the United Statesresorted to the use of green roofs in major cities such as New Yorkto complement the building of parks and recreational facilities inthe inner city. Currently, Germany is the leader in green roofstechnology seeing as the countries percentage of houses with greenroof technology is above 10%. Hence, arid places can learn from worldleaders in conservation technology as a means of conserving theenvironment mentions (Li &amp Yeung, 2014).

In addition, (Saeid, 2011) agrees that the fast growth of the humanpopulation has influenced the demand for the emergence of technology,which can enhance global sustainability and preserve the earth’snatural resources. Notably, human beings rely heavily on naturalresources and nature as a whole. On the other hand, nature cannotsustain the rising needs of human beings. Hence, experts need tointroduce systems, which balance the two factors without compromisingon the quality of the environmental resources. Synder (2009) statesthat cities in deserts have little knowledge of green roof buildingseeing as their social-cultural, economic, political, andenvironmental aspects of their lifestyle do not encourage suchtechnology. However, in the past twenty-five years, members of theUAE (United Arab Emirates) have experienced considerable change inall aspects of their lifestyle. This is because governments such asthe government of Abu Dhabi are introducing policies, which encouragegreen building and construction in urban and rural areas. As aresult, green roof building is becoming a predominant method ofenvironmental sustainability and flood management in the regionsuggests (St Clair, 2009).

Elborombaly &ampMolina-Prieto (2013) discusses that the city ofJeddah has a similar dynamic like that of Abu Dhabi given that theyare both located in dry lands. Their humid environments rarelyexperience large amounts of rain. Conversely, during seasons ofwinter and cold winds, the country experiences heavy rains thatresult in flash floods. The main issue that Jeddah faces is thatvarious sections of the city are expanding without the properbuilding and urban planning. One of the ways that the city can bebest served is by adopting policies like that of Abu Dhabi whichencourage both homeowners and commercial buildings to incorporategreen roofs as one of the green building concepts. Therefore, morehomeowners are aware of how to incorporate green roofs in theirhouses mentions (Baumert, 2015).

In contrast, (Tolderlund, 2010), explains that new trends in greenbuilding are targeting arid and semi arid areas. Some of the benefitsthat dry lands can experience from green roofs include the increaseof cool and clean air in the environment, energy conservation,providing habitats for domestic animals and wildlife, managing stormwater and improving the shelf life of the green roofs. According tothe author, green roofs are a system of living, which is an extensionof a roof. As such, this form of technology is essential in managingstorm water quality in arid and semi arid areas whereby greenrooftops have the ability to filter and retain storm water reducingthe pressure and peak flow of water into the drainage systems. Hence,applying green roof technologies in dry lands like Jeddah will reduceflooding supports (Li &amp Yeung, 2014).

Notably, green roofing systems are predominant is places like Europe,Asia, and northern America. If anything, the technology has existedfor decades hence making such societies enjoy the short and long-termbenefits of green roof investments. On the other hand, continentswith large desert regions like the United Arab Emirates, thePersian/Arabian Gulf, and most parts of the Middle East do not havemuch knowledge of green roof technologies. It is difficult to growplants in such regions owing to high levels of humidity, extensiveheat&amp high solar radiation, and low precipitation. The climaticcondition in Jeddah makes it challenging to grow plants on top ofroofs. However, new methods of green roofing ensures that such plantscan sustain the dry lands concludes (Tolderlund, 2010),

(Subyani, 2011) argues that flash floods are one of the naturaloccurrences, which pose a threat to the lives of people, property,and overall development in affected communities. They are predominantin cities immediately after the short and heavy rainfall season. Inaddition, (Alnaser, 2008) explains that countries and regions likeBahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates need to invest insustainable methods and practices given that individuals spend 90% oftheir time indoors. Hence, they stand to benefit from policies, whichpromote sustainable and green building. While such regions are dryand humid due to the extensive deserts in the areas, they still faceproblems of flash floods. Hence, more builders and investors intendto adopt green building or incorporate green roofs on their buildingto enhance sustainable living standards summarizes (Synder, 2009).

(Subyani, 2011) uses Jeddah city as an example of an area, which hasexperienced challenges of unexpected floods in the 2009 and 2011. Thecity is located in Saudi Arabia, which is in the Red Sea andtherefore stands to benefit from the incorporation of green roofs ontheir housing structure and buildings as a whole. Notably, theexperience of flash floods is a new dynamic considering that theregion does not have a record of flash floods in the previous fivedecades. (Baumert, 2015) discusses that the occurrence of floods inthe city is from the collection of the intensity of rainfall in theregion, land use, surface runoff, and topography that all influencethe generation of floods in the arid lands. Moreover, Saeid (2011)mentions that the prevalence of long-term aridity gets credit for thelack of knowledge in handling flash floods in arid cities. In turn,constructors, builders, and investors select regions, which have ahigh affinity for flash flooding without performing adequateresearch. Flood mitigation has slowly been gaining ground in Jeddahand different parts of Saudi Arabia owing to the increased number ofcausalities caused by floods in the dry lands. (Tolderlund, 2010),concludes by stating that the KSA as a whole can gain considerablyfrom the introduction of green roofs, which will help mitigate therising rate of flash floods in the regions.

Gibbs, et al, (2016) explains that while green roofs are predominantin European nations owing to their use of this type of technology fordecades, places in mid western parts of the United States dub thisform of building as relatively new. In the past, such places enjoyedlarge amounts of forestry and greeneries. However, the increasedurbanization in the mid west is one of the reasons for the high rateof impervious land, high heat, and the increase of storm waterrunoffs. Dry places like the United Arab Emirates face the sameissues owing to their natural landscape, which cannot accommodateextensive forestry. Like most cities, Jeddah is developing at a highrate because of the increased need for housing in the coastal plainof western Saudi Arabia explains (Behm, 2012).

Advantages of Green Roof Technology in the City of Jeddah

Gibbs et al, (2006) states that green roof technology hasmany advantages that homeowners, societies, and countries, which useit in their construction, can realize. Firstly, green roof technologyencourages the planting of flowers, trees, and herbs on roofs, whichbalance the heat and cold in a given area. Secondly, Gibbs et al,(2006) argues that introducing green roof technology in urbanizedareas increases the amount of green space in cities, which often haveminimum space. Hence, Jeddah can create green spaces, which canincrease the number of park like spaces, recreational facilities, andgardens in the city. As such, people in dry cities can enjoy thebenefits that people in the wetlands enjoy using small spacesproposes (Alnaser, 2008).

On the other hand, Porsche &amp Kohler, (2003) explain thatcountries like Germany, Brazil, and the United states are investingmore in green roof technology owing to the creation of moreaffordable green roof options. In most cases, homeowners in theseregions find it fashionable to install green roofs owing to itstherapeutic and recreational benefits. Hence, economies such as thekingdom of Saudi Arabia and Dubai are adapting to green roofing owingto marketability of housing that is constructed using greenconstruction and roofing. Fourthly, Tolderlund, et al, (2010)advocates for using green roof construction in semi arid areas likeJeddah because the city will learn how to manage and mitigate flashfloods which costs the country millions of dollars to replaceproperty, save lives, and replace destroyed structures states (Saeid,2011).

Lastly, Gibbs, et al, (2006) concludes by explaining that improvedresearch on green roof technologies promises the improvement of thedrainage system and flow of rainwater, which is one of the causes ofthe destruction of the roads and the bridges in the city. Notably,the city is one of the regions which is expanding at a fast rateowing to the high demand for housing, commercial properties, andinfrastructure. As such, green roof housing is one of theconsiderations that authorities in housing and city planning canborrow in order to prevent the occurrence of excessive floodingexperienced in arid and semi arid lands supports (Elborombaly &ampMolina-Prieto, 2013).

Challenges in Incorporating Green Roof Building in Jeddah (KSA)

According to (Baumert, 2015), green building requires anextensive amount of investment in terms of finances, time, andresources. The author explains that green building taps into severalsectors such as engineering, construction, agriculture, andarchitecture. Countries in Europe and North America have the latestmethods of incorporating green building techniques and concepts suchas green roofing into their urban structures. However, countries inthe Middle east, sub Saharan Africa, and the Persian Gulf lackadequate knowledge, technology, expertise, in green roofingconstruction. Hence, introducing such technologies in regions such asJeddah is expensive owing to the initial costs during constructionexplain (Li &amp Yeung, 2014).

Secondly, while the government of Saudi Arabia is adopting emergingtechnologies in different parts of their economies, the constructionindustry is still lags behind. For example, few people are willing toinstall a green roofing system on their houses. This is becausepeople associate it with high-level construction projects, whichtarget commercial buildings and public structures. However, Getter &ampRowe, (2008) explains that an environment gains more from greenroofing when a large percent of the population invest in the process.In this case, people constructing their personal homes do not placepriority on green roofing. Hence, the government needs to take moreinitiative in creating awareness of the essentiality of greenbuilding to the environment.

Lastly, green roofing is one of the solutions for mitigating floodsin arid areas such as Jeddah. However, adopting this system ofroofing is a process given that it takes time to incorporatemechanisms that employ the mass use of green roof technologies. Assuch, it may take as long as 20 years before the city fully benefitsfrom green roofing. This aspect may discourage some potentialinvestors to contribute to the adaptation of green building states(Synder, 2009).


The use of green roof technology dates back to ancient civilizationslike Babylon and the Roman Empire. Moreover, over the years, moresocieties have adopted various forms of green roofing with the aim ofsustaining the environment. Currently, the dynamics continue tochange with the demand of green roofing shifting from countries likeGermany and the United States to countries in the gulf region. Manycountries in desert regions stand to gain being that this form ofroofing reduce runoffs and flooding in dry areas. One of the regions,which have experienced extensive flooding in the past fifteen yearsin Jeddah, located in Saudi Arabia. The city can use green roofs tomitigate flash floods that are responsible for disrupting humanlives, property, and infrastructure. As such, learning about thebenefits of green roof technology as a form of green building isessential in promoting sustainable living environments in urbanizedcities whose development lags behind due to uncontrollable floods.


Alnaser, N. W. (2008). Towards Sustainable Buildings in Bahrain,Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates. The Open Construction andBuilding Technology Journal. 2, 30-45.

Baumert, J. (2015). Green Building Services. Journal ofInternational Commerce and Economics.

Behm, M. (2012). Safe Design Suggestions for Vegetated Roofs.American Society of Civil Engineers.

Elborombaly, E., Molina-Prieto, F.L. (2013). Sustainable Development&amp Eco- Roof. International Journal of Science and Research.

Gibbs, J., Luckett, J. Jost, V., Morgan, S.,Yan, T, &amp Retzlaff,W. (2006). Poster: Evaluating Performance of a Green Roof System withDifferent Growing Mediums Sedum Species and Fertilizer Treatments.Conference Gate.

Getter, K., &ampRowe, B. (2008). Selecting Plants for ExtensiveGreen Roofs in the United States. Michigan State UniversityExtension.

Li, W. C., &amp Yeung, K.K. A. (2014). A Comprehensive Study ofGreen roof Performance from Environmental Perspective.International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment. 3(127-134).

Tolderlund, L., LEED AP., GRP., University of Colorado Denver.(2010). Design Guidelines and Maintenance Manual for Green Roofs inthe Semi-Arid and Arid West.

Porsche, U., &amp Kohler, M. (2003). Life Cycle Costs of GreenRoofs: A Comparison of Germany, USA, and Brazil. Research Gate. WorldClimate &amp Energy Event.461-466

Saeid, J. E. (2011). Effect of Green Roof in Thermal Performance ofthe Building An Environmental Assessment in Hot and Humid Climate.Faculty of Engineering &ampIT.

St Clair, P.(2009). Low Energy Design in the United Arab Emirates:Building Design Principles. BEDP Environmental Design Guide.

Synder, L.(2009). Masdar City: The Source of Inspiration or theUneconomical Spending?.

Subyani, M.A. (2011). Flood Hazards Analysis of Jeddah City, WesternSaudi Arabia. JAKU Earth Science. Vol 23, no. 1.(35-48).

(n.d). Green Roof Technology in Flood Mitigation. Word document.