How Can Our Rooftops Be Put to Better Use?

Earlier this month, Bayley Larkin, a Sustainability Consultant in our Newcastle office addressed the 2019 Asian Real Estate Society Annual Conference.

Held in Shenzhen, China, Bayley used the platform to present her thesis which she wrote during her Bachelor’s Degree of Construction Management at the University of Newcastle under the supervision of Michael Mak, Senior Lecturer, and with the support of WSP’s Sean Holmes, Associate – Sustainability.




Titled ‘Potential Benefits of Photovoltaic and Green Roof Systems to Urban Spaces: A Case Study of the City of Newcastle’, her thesis zeroes in on the regional New South Wales city and explores why the existing roof space upon buildings in urban centres are underutilised, and why they pose an incredible opportunity for employing solar (photovoltaic) and green roof systems.


She says, “We are facing environmental challenges of immense scale, and putting our rooftops to better use poses an opportunity to do something about it.”


“I can’t see any viable reason why we should not utilise these spaces, especially considering we have an abundance of available space and new technologies to roll out. Significantly, the cost of solar has dropped in recent years and we have also seen the emergence of new financial models helping to reduce the barriers of solar uptake.


“Solar and green roof systems contribute both to creating vibrant and liveable cities, along with helping to mitigate our contribution to the larger effects of global warming, climate change and biodiversity loss.”


Bayley’s thesis provides readers with a chance to discover the opportunities and practical solutions we have to respond to the high-level sustainability commitments Australia has engaged within, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.


Organisations in Australia are facing increasing pressures to limit their carbon output. Bayley adds, “In recent times we have seen the risks of climate change emerging as one of the biggest threats to the global economy with firms across the word now having to report their emissions from both social and legal perspectives.


“It is becoming increasingly important society as a whole becomes proactive in taking advantage of the opportunities we have to reduce our impacts. Especially making use of the initiatives we have right in front of us.”


She adds, “Realistically, what my research reveals is that there are a lot of accessible solutions that we can all be engaging in. This research has challenged me both as an individual and professional to think creatively in the way we influence both the existing and future built environment to be more sustainable, and I hope others have this experience in learning more about it too.”


To find out the results of Bayley’s study and about the opportunity in Newcastle’s rooftops, download her research paper here.


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