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A hygrothermal green roof model to simulate moisture and energy performance of building components

: Zirkelbach, Daniel; Mehra, Schew-Ram; Sedlbauer, Klaus; Künzel, Hartwig M.; Stöckl, Beate


Energy and buildings 145 (2017), pp.79-91
ISSN: 0378-7788
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IBP ()

Green roofs enjoy a good reputation concerning comfort in summertime, energy savings, rain water retention and durability. However, applied on moisture sensitive substrates like timber constructions, their high thermal inertia and limited drying potential may lead to failure, especially in case of insufficient design or workmanship. As the conditions below the greenery cannot be evaluated by dew point calculations, only a more detailed simulation allows for a realistic prediction of the hygrothermal performance of the components. This contribution introduces a new hygrothermal green roof model based on field and laboratory tests. In difference to previous models it focuses on the moisture and temperature conditions beneath the greenery using more simple approaches for the plant cover but more detailed approaches for the moisture balance in the drainage and growth media. Therefore material data for moisture storage, vapor diffusion and liquid transport were determined in the laboratory and adapted to the built in situation by the help of additional field tests. The model is validated by the help of measured temperature conditions beneath the green roof test fields, as well as concerning the moisture conditions in the critical layers of sensitive timber roofs! The validation shows that the performance of the green roof can be well reproduced throughout the whole year and under all climate conditions including rain water absorption and storage, evaporation and freezing influences. Thus it can be used for both, moisture and energy performance simulations of roofs with greenery under different climatic conditions.