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Airports Are Perfect For Green Roofs Environmental Sciences Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Because they occupy large amounts of space with huge expanses of pavement for parking, runways, and storage, and because they have many flat-roofed buildings, airports are natural choice for green roofs. Many major European airports have a tapestry of green roofs over terminals, concourses, parking buildings, maintenance buildings, and others structures. (Cantor, 2008).

These green roofs provide benefits and respond to all of the environmental problems without jeopardizing airport security and passenger safety. Despite the network of green space that comes with these installations, there has been no increase in problematic bird populations or other animals that might interfere with aircraft operations or personnel. This achievement is due to careful initial selection of the plant materials, monitoring of the results, and adequate maintenance. Airport feature unique site design challenges that affect animal populations. Typically, airport surroundings include large areas of undeveloped lands. These areas, if not carefully managed, can come semi-natural and attract large birds, which can be sucked into jet engines with potentially disastrous results. Land use policies over many years have been developed to discourage animal populations from settling in these buffer areas. For examples, plants are selected that do not produce flowers, berries, fruits, or seeds that attract animals. Grass height is carefully regulated, as tall grass attracts rodents, which, in turn, attract birds of prey. Grass cut too low attracts birds such a geese. Furthermore, animal populations are dynamic, no static, and in the last several decades species such sea gulls and pigeons have increase dramatically, so that measures must be taken to discourage them.

The design of green roofs at the airports must respond to all these concerns.

Opinions in Europe regarding the implementation of green roofs at airport are not unanimous.

Some experts are cautions, worrying , for examples, about the impact of large populations of sea gulls, as has occurred in urban areas of London. Some are concerned that plants species over a certain height are too welcoming to birds. A greenroofed building recently opened at the Copenhagen airport. Roofs spread with gravel seen to be more attractive to birds, particularly large species as gulls, than green roofs with low to medium-height vegetation.

In the United States, more than 75% of recorded bird strikes causing damage to civil aircraft are waterfowl (32 percent), gulls (28 percent) and raptors (28 percents).

One area of current research in London is focused on determining the minimum gravel size that can be used as substrate, but is too heavy for gulls to pick up.

Carefully designed green roofs at airports present opportunities for mitigating many environmental problems without increasing the risk of bird collision.

The Schiphol International Airport from Amsterdam have three buildings with extensive green roofs and two buildings with intensive green roofs. This network of green roofs has responded to the environmental challenges in differences ways, even with specially trained teams of dogs, which are used to chase away the birds (Cantor, 2008).

Accidents: Birds are often sucked into jet aircraft engines, something that causes aircraft accidents resulting [in waste of economic resources and, sometimes,] in deaths (Hawthorne, 1980; Shaw, 1985). Similar to any airport landscaping, green roofs on buildings in the airport environment might attract wildlife hazardous to aviation and could increase the risk of birds-aircraft collisions. The O’Hare International Airport consisted of Sedum spp. for vegetation and birds were observed using the green roof itself. However, bird use of the green roof was minimal and appeared to be similar to use of adjacent buildings with traditional roofs. Although green roofs with vegetation types that offer forage and/or cover to birds might be attractive, the Sedum spp.-vegetated green roof in this study did not attract wildlife hazardous to aviation or increase the risk of bird strikes (Swearingin et al., 2008).[5]

Large-scale green roofs are currently being planned and implemented at O’Hare International Airport (Chicago). [5]

One of the largest green roofs in Spain, 54.000 m2, covers the parking area at Barajas Airport in Madrid. http://www.triton-chemicals.co.uk/prode1.php

At the airport in Frankfurt (Germany), a 10-cm-deep green roof reduced noise levels by 5 dB (Dunnet and Kingsbury, 2004).

(Velazquez, 2005): Airports occupy and consume huge areas of land mass, destroying ecosystems and creating massive urban heat islands of impermeable, hot surfaces. The resulting loss of natural greenspace greatly impacts stormwater management, loss of habitat and biodiversity, creates noise, air and water pollution, and on a large scale, contributes to global warming. Numerous ecological advantages of extensive greenroofs could help to mitigate each and every one of these environmental problems. [security and safe concerns]. The recreated and natural areas of runways and surrounding fields are designed to avoid attraction of birds, which many times get drawn into jet engines creating a potentially hazardous and life threatening situation. To date, airport authorities outside of Europe have been hesitant to consider vegetated roofs mainly for fear of attracting birds. However, many airports in Europe have successfully constructed greenrooffs atop parking garages, hangers, and even terminal building, without increasing their yearly number of “bird strikes”. This paper attempts to address some of the potential barriers to greenroofs, in particular the real dangers of attracting birds. International airports having greenroofs: Schipho (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Frankfurt (Germany), and Kloten (Zürich, Switherland). *** Most public-use airports have large tracts of open, unimproved land that are desirable for added margins of safety ad noise mitigation. Birds use airfields as a biotope for habitat, nesting and finding food and different species will dictate different habitat preferences. Bird strikes on airfields may only be minimized by identifying the ecological conditions that attract birds to an airfield and then using habitat deterrence methods to make the airfield less attractive for species relevant to flight safety.

Even given greenroofs’ ability to reduce stormwater infrastructure and other concerns, to date airport authorities outside of Europe have been hesitant to consider vegetated roofs mainly for fear of attracting birds. However, many airports in Europe have successfully constructed green roofs atop parking garages, hangers, and even terminal buildings, without increasing their yearly number of bird strikes.

In Germany there are thousand of square meter of green roofs on airport buildings. Within Germany are various airport greenroofs at Stutgart the new airport of Münich, Bremen, and Düsseldorf. France has greenroofs at Charles De Gaulle in Paris, Paris’ Orly International Airport and Bordeaux. I have also seen and airport terminal greenroof in Milan, Italy and more exist. [more]

After security issues, noise abatement, air quality, and preservation of greenspace are the top environmental concerns of area residents and airports management.

Schiphol IA, Amsterdam: Total airport area greenroofed at AMS and Schipholrijk neighbourhodd: 93,730 m2. Number/area of extensive greenroofs: 3/13,330 m2.

Because airports occupy large quantity of space with huge expanse of pavement for parking, runways, and storage, and because they have many flat-roofed buildings, this installations are natural choice for green roofs (Cantor, 2008).

Many major European airports have a tapestry of green roofs over terminals, concourses, parking buildings, maintenance buildings, and others structures. (Cantor, 2008).


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