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An innovative and affordable vegetative cool roof technology that uses the shading capacity of plants to reduce solar heat gain to roof surfaces and provides an alternative lightweight and more affordable green roof system. The technology serves to reduce the building's energy and water use.
A typical green roof system comprises of several layers of material suitable to support vegetation on a roof. These layers are typically supplied in bulk or earthen rolls that are rolled into position on the roof. However, these prior systems have several disadvantages. First, the systems are relatively expensive and require the need for expertise for installation. Second, these systems often require reroofing and are not designed to be retrofitted on existing roofs. Finally, a significant amount of residential roofs in particular are unable to structurally support existing green roof technology due to the material required to support the growth of the vegetation.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a technology that may be retrofitted to an existing dwelling. The vegetative cool roof reflects the incoming solar radiation and reduces the heat captured by the roof surface thereby reducing a home's energy use. Second, the vegetative cool roof provides the storm water benefits of a green roof system but uses less water for irrigation because of the reduced planted area. Third, the vines serve as habitation for pollinators who facilitate the local ecosystem. In comparison to conventional green roof systems, this technology is lightweight and requires little additional structural support. The simplified planter design retrofits to existing buildings without penetrating the building interior or requiring supplemental support structures. This technology addresses the need for a lightweight alternative to conventional green roof technology. Finally, the technology may further be integrated into a rainwater catchment and gray water system to irrigate the vegetation.


Serves as a lightweight alternative to green roof systems


Reduces a building's energy and water consumption
Provides storm water detention
Provides an invertebrate habitat


  • Aiona, Adrienne
  • Holmes, Amelia
  • Hubert, George
  • Sherraden, Catherine
Tech ID: 22914 / UC Case 2013-149-0