Ecological energetics of tropical intensive green roof

Chi Yung JIM, S.W. TSANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Few green roof studies cover intensive and tropical types and specific canopy microclimate.Weexamined the ecological energetics of a sky woodland in humid-tropical Hong Kong. Environmental sensors monitored the microclimatic and soil parameters for 14 months. Key biophysical variables of transpiration, wind, light, and through-canopy energy flux are modeled to investigate seasonal and weather effects. The woodland forms a cloistered subcanopy environment with rather stable microclimate. Transpiration and latent heat loss are enhanced by solar radiation and low relative humidity, but less by wind. On sunny days, about 20% of incident solar radiation can reach the soil surface. The canopy reflected more nearinfrared radiation (NIR) than photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), highlighting a hitherto neglected passive-cooling mechanism. The highest transpiration rate occurs in autumn rather than summer due to dry-mild weather. The woodland canopy could reduce 300Wm-2 energy flux into the substrate. The canopy warmed by solar energy transmits heat to subcanopy air. Latent and sensible heat loss in the subcanopy domain is suppressed, thus dampening the passive-cooling effect. The capability of the tropical intensive green roof to reduce temperature is relatively inefficient comparing with temperate region counterparts. The findings could inform design and choice of green roofs. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2696-2704
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


Jim, C. Y., & Tsang, S. W. (2011). Ecological energetics of tropical intensive green roof. Energy and Buildings, 43(10), 2696-2704. doi: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2011.06.018


  • Intensive green roof
  • Tropical green roof
  • Ecological energetics
  • Passive cooling
  • Thermal insulation
  • Canopy microclimate


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