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Main Title: Closing Water Cycles in the Built Environment through Nature-Based Solutions: The Contribution of Vertical Greening Systems and Green Roofs
Author(s): Pearlmutter, David
Pucher, Bernhard
Calheiros, Cristina S. C.
Hoffmann, Karin A.
Aicher, Andreas
Pinho, Pedro
Stracqualursi, Alessandro
Korolova, Alisa
Pobric, Alma
Galvão, Ana
Tokuç, Ayça
Bas, Bilge
Theochari, Dimitra
Milosevic, Dragan
Giancola, Emanuela
Bertino, Gaetano
Castellar, Joana A. C.
Flaszynska, Julia
Onur, Makbulenur
Mateo, Mari Carmen Garcia
Andreucci, Maria Beatrice
Milousi, Maria
Fonseca, Mariana
Lonardo, Sara Di
Gezik, Veronika
Pitha, Ulrike
Nehls, Thomas
Type: Article
Language Code: en
Abstract: Water in the city is typically exploited in a linear process, in which most of it is polluted, treated, and discharged; during this process, valuable nutrients are lost in the treatment process instead of being cycled back and used in urban agriculture or green space. The purpose of this paper is to advance a new paradigm to close water cycles in cities via the implementation of nature-based solutions units (NBS_u), with a particular focus on building greening elements, such as green roofs (GRs) and vertical greening systems (VGS). The hypothesis is that such “circular systems” can provide substantial ecosystem services and minimize environmental degradation. Our method is twofold: we first examine these systems from a life-cycle point of view, assessing not only the inputs of conventional and alternative materials, but the ongoing input of water that is required for irrigation. Secondly, the evapotranspiration performance of VGS in Copenhagen, Berlin, Lisbon, Rome, Istanbul, and Tel Aviv, cities with different climatic, architectural, and sociocultural contexts have been simulated using a verticalized ET0 approach, assessing rainwater runoff and greywater as irrigation resources. The water cycling performance of VGS in the mentioned cities would be sufficient at recycling 44% (Lisbon) to 100% (Berlin, Istanbul) of all accruing rainwater roof–runoff, if water shortages in dry months are bridged by greywater. Then, 27–53% of the greywater accruing in a building could be managed on its greened surface. In conclusion, we address the gaps in the current knowledge and policies identified in the different stages of analyses, such as the lack of comprehensive life cycle assessment studies that quantify the complete “water footprint” of building greening systems.
Issue Date: 6-Aug-2021
Date Available: 14-Sep-2021
DDC Class: 577 Ökologie
Subject(s): water reuse
water management
water cycle
nature-based solutions
green roofs
vertical greening systems
life-cycle assessment
circular cities
built environment
building greening
Sponsor/Funder: BMBF, 01LF1803A, SUGI: Vertikales Grün für lebenswerte Städte -Vertical Green 2.0
Journal Title: Water
Publisher: MDPI
Publisher Place: Basel
Volume: 13
Issue: 16
Article Number: 2165
Publisher DOI: 10.3390/w13162165
EISSN: 2073-4441
Appears in Collections:FG Ökohydrologie & Landschaftsbewertung » Publications

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