Are we starting a trend?
An artist’s impression of a future Melbourne shows green rooftops for cooling, aesthetics and even edible gardens plus solar arrays generating electricity. Are we at Hero starting the trend for CBD residential buildings in particular? Read the recent Australian Financial Review article paraphrased below.
Central Melbourne’s rooftops could potentially house 637 hectares of solar panels, a town hall study has found. The study mapped every rooftop within the City of Melbourne, for their potential to carry solar panels and cool and green roofs.
The town hall’s researchers analysed aerial photographs to identify where rooftops could be transformed using solar panels, reflective materials or vegetation.
“There is so much potential right above us,” said Lord Mayor Robert Doyle. “Rooftops in central Melbourne make up 880 hectares of space, which is more than five times the size of Melbourne’s largest park, Royal Park.
“Most of these rooftops are used only to store heating and cooling equipment. We could set them up to generate clean energy, increase property values and cool temperatures within the city.”
As well as the solar capacity, the study found the city’s rooftops could potentially house 259 hectares of cool roofs, 236 hectares of intensive green roofs and 328 hectares of lightweight green roofs.
COOL AND CONSTANT
Cool roofs reduce the amount of heat that is held and transferred to the building below, keeping the building cooler and at a more constant temperature. The city’s largest rooftop solar system on a commercial building was unveiled in July by energy giant AGL at its new Docklands tenancy.
The large array of panels – only the publicly owned Queen Victoria market has a larger solar installation – can generate 90kWp. By comparison, our large residential installation is 50kWp.
The AGL system is sufficient to power two whole floors of the 20,000-square-metre office tower, which was developed by Mirvac. “We’re not afraid of the future. If every building was like this in Melbourne, our business would change, but it would be changing probably for the better,” AGL chief Andy Vesey said at the time.
The AGL solar panels can generate 110,000 kWh of electricity in a year, equivalent to 145 tonnes of CO₂ every year.
The town hall’s mapping showed that green or vegetated roofs are most suitable in built-up areas in the central business district, Port Melbourne and Docklands. Larger commercial and industrial buildings outside central Melbourne have great potential for solar panels. As Hero Apartments are showing, there is potential for solar panels to be installed on tall residential buildings in the CBD.