While environmentalists around the country are striving to protect Israel’s
nature on the ground, the University of Haifa is now promoting the construction
and cultivation of greenery at a bird’s eye view – on campus
Israel’s first Green Roofs Ecology Research Center has recently
been dedicated at the university, following a gift from a British expert in the
field, the university said.
The project, facilitated by the university’s
Vice President for External Relations and Resource Development Amos Gaver, will
focus on research and development of non-irrigated green roofs, improving
biological diversity from up high and generating new ecological and evolutionary
theories. Planting garden on roofs can enhance energy efficiency in the entire
building by creating instant insulation, lowering air conditioning and heating
consumption with minimal environmental damage, the university said.
green roofs also provide an urban living space for many different types of
animals and increase the amount of photosynthesis occurring within a
Heading the new center, a first of its kind in Israel, will be
Prof. Leon Blaustein of the university’s Evolutionary and Environmental Biology
Department. The center will allow for a thorough examination of what flora can
survive on Middle Eastern climate roofs and will determine whether such gardens
can thrive without artificial irrigation, according to the university. Looking
at whether native Israeli flora can survive on the roofs and whether the roofs
increase the biological diversity of plants and insects will also be crucial for
The center’s researchers will also be experimenting with
the use of grey water – recycled sink water – for irrigating the plants, and
will examine the impact of roof garden drainage on the local
Already, one of the University of Haifa’s roofs has been
transformed into a laboratory of 48 plant beds. There, researchers are
determining which plants are roof favorites and which are able to attract more
insects and birds.
Following the launch of this initial pilot roof, the
center’s leaders have begun searching for additional suitable roofs as the
project continues to expand, the university said.