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Temporal variations in the potential hydrological performance of extensive green roof systems

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journal contribution
posted on 20.02.2018, 12:21 by Simon De-Ville, Manoj Menon, Virginia Stovin
Existing literature provides contradictory information about variation in potential green roof hydrological performance over time. This study has evaluated a long-term hydrological monitoring record from a series of extensive green roof test beds to identify long-term evolutions and sub-annual (seasonal) variations in potential hydrological performance. Monitoring of nine differently-configured extensive green roof test beds took place over a period of 6 years in Sheffield, UK. Long-term evolutions and sub-annual trends in maximum potential retention performance were identified through physical monitoring of substrate field capacity over time. An independent evaluation of temporal variations in detention performance was undertaken through the fitting of reservoir-routing model parameters. Aggregation of the resulting retention and detention variations permitted the prediction of extensive green roof hydrological performance in response to a 1-in-30-year 1-h summer design storm for Sheffield, UK, which facilitated the comparison of multi and sub-annual hydrological performance variations. Sub-annual (seasonal) variation was found to be significantly greater than long-term evolution. Potential retention performance increased by up to 12% after 5-years, whilst the maximum sub-annual variation in potential retention was 27%. For vegetated roof configurations, a 4% long-term improvement was observed for detention performance, compared to a maximum 63% sub-annual variation. Consistent long-term reductions in detention performance were observed in unvegetated roof configurations, with a non-standard expanded-clay substrate experiencing a 45% reduction in peak attenuation over 5-years. Conventional roof configurations exhibit stable long-term hydrological performance, but are nonetheless subject to sub-annual variation.


Simon De-Ville was supported by an EPSRC DTA Award (EP/L505055/1).



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Published in

Journal of Hydrology


DE-VILLE, S., MENON, M. and STOVIN, V., 2018. Temporal variations in the potential hydrological performance of extensive green roof systems. Journal of Hydrology, 558, pp.564-578.


© Elsevier


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Hydrology and the definitive published version is available at