Photovoltaic Roofgardens- a new Concept

Due to the increasing relevance of renewable energy production on roofs of buildings, building integrated photovoltaic’ gains more and more an important key role. Current solutions are immature – they lack important synergies. Roofs are used miscellaneously as green roof in urban areas: recreation area, habitat for animals and plants or extensive area for energy production. Multilateral use, including social sustainability concepts are a new approach.


A research project in Austria, University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Vegetation Engineering focuses on the combination of different functions: new synergies between semi- intensive green roofs, energy production by photovoltaic systems, recreation area use and retention of Stormwater are achieved by combining green roof technology and translucent photovoltaic panels in a pergola system. This synergy allows plants to grow, produce clean energy and give shadow to users of the roof at she same time. The plants evaporation improves the microclimate on the roof, makes PV more efficient and helps reducing the urban heat island effects in summer.


The development of the Photovoltaic Greenroof started with a comprehensive analysis on user’s needs in the public housing sector followed by a physical testing site. Various light scenarios were simulated, different types of photovoltaic panels (with different transparency) were tested according to their plant synergy potential. Indicator plants for Urban Farming and diverse gardening are tested. Solutions to integrate rainwater management as well as microclimatic improvement for human users through misting technologies are in development.


The basics are taken to create architectural concepts, and to design a general module, followed by a cost-benefit-calculation.


The Photovoltaic Greenroof concept offers a variety of opportunities for investors and architects turning bare roof surfaces into livable, multi-beneficiary and productive spaces in urban areas.


University of Life Sciences Vienna, Faculty Vegetation Engineering, Peter- Jordan Strasse 82, 1190 Vienna, Austria
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to Project Description on Green4Cities: