Simulation of thermodynamic transmission in green roof ecosystem

Hongming HE, Chi Yung JIM

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44 Citations (Scopus)


Green roofs entail the creation of vegetated space on the top of artificial structures. They can modify the thermal properties of buildings to bring cooling energy conservation and improve human comfort. This study evaluates the thermodynamic transmission in the green roof ecosystem under different vegetation treatments. Our model simulation is based on the traditional Bowen ratio energy balance model (BREBM) and a proposed solar radiation shield effectiveness model (SEM). The BREBM investigates energy absorption of different components of radiation, and the SEM evaluates the radiation shield effects. The proposed model is tested and validated to be efficient to simulate solar energy transmission in green roofs, with some major findings. Firstly, the solar radiation transmission processes might be considered as free vibration motion. Daytime positive heat storage of the green roof is 350-520W·m-2 on an hourly basis. Nighttime or afternoon negative value registers a rather constant magnitude of -60W·m-2. Daily net average is positive around 155-210W·m-2. Secondly, solar radiation vibration is highly correlated with plant structure. The canopy reflectance and transmittance are strongly correlated (R2=0.87). The multi-layer shrub treatment has the highest shield effectiveness (0.34), followed by two-layer groundcover (0.27), and single-layer grass (0.16). Green roof vegetation absorbs and stores large amounts of heat to form an effective thermal buffer against daily temperature fluctuation. Vegetated roofs drastically depress air temperature in comparison with bare ground (control treatment). Finally, the thermodynamic model is relatively simple and efficient for investigating thermodynamic transmission in green roof ecosystem, and it could be developed into a broad solar radiant land cover model. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2949-2958
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2010


He, H., & Jim, C. Y. (2010). Simulation of thermodynamic transmission in green roof ecosystem. Ecological Modelling, 221(24), 2949-2958. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2010.09.002


  • Green roof ecosystem
  • Solar radiation
  • Cooling effect
  • Thermodynamic transmission
  • Radiation shield effectiveness model
  • Multi-layer shield


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