Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Stephanie Siehr, Ph.D.


Green roofs are increasingly valued for mitigating the Urban Heat Island effect, providing thermal comfort amidst rising temperatures of climate change, enhancing hydrological properties, and improving urban biodiversity. In this report, I explore the environmental benefits and practical challenges of green roofs, with a specific focus on California. My study evaluates the effectiveness of green roofs in enhancing environmental sustainability using a weighted rating system. I categorize the benefits of green roofs into key areas: thermal performance, stormwater management, ecological support, mental health benefits, noise reduction, air quality improvement, and water quality enhancement. Green roofs have shown the potential for city-wide adoption, decreasing electricity demands by 25%. The implementation of green roofs comes with significant installation and maintenance costs, yet there are long-term economic gains, including increased durability of roofing materials and reduced energy costs due to their insulative properties. Moreover, innovative technologies such as modular systems and integrating green roofs with solar photovoltaics offer promising avenues for boosting their functionality and expanding adoption. This report found successful green roof implementation across different global regions, supported by proactive policies and community engagement, and gathered lessons for Mediterranean climates like those in California. My recommendations include establishing statewide California green roof policies to ensure consistent standards, equitable incentives, and widespread adoption. Also, to prioritize green roof development on commercial real estate due to cost-effectiveness while investing in educational campaigns to raise public awareness and encourage policy support. Lastly, the standardizing of training for skilled labor and development of guidelines for plant selection based on specific climate biomes, especially Mediterranean climates, to optimize the ecological and functional benefits of green roofs in tandem with integrating modular and bio-solar innovations.