Green inspiration

Green inspiration, Urbanscape, Knauf Insulation

Green roofs create better buildings for people and show we care for the environment. That is why our Urbanscape Green Solutions division has been campaigning for green roofs to be put at the heart of urban planning policies.

Knauf Insulation is a member of the international nonprofit World Green Infrastructure Network and in 2019 led the creation of a dedicated European chapter. Here are four key areas where we have focused attention.



The European Commission’s EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 wants to see cities with more than 20,000 residents develop Urban Greening Plans by the end of 2021 to promote “healthy ecosystems and urban greening by implementing nature-based solutions — such as green roofs and walls”.
Our Urbanscape® Green Roll multi-purpose growing media is up to 10 times lighter than other regular green substrates. Our Green Roof System is easy and quick to install — no special equipment is required — and it offers good acoustic and thermal performance. The system is also great for biodiversity and for absorbing air pollution, storm water and CO2.



“Green infrastructure such as green walls and roofs can improve the natural conditions… needed to sustain thriving pollinator habitats,” says the Commission outlining its EU Pollinators Initiative. The net worth of insect pollination is estimated to be around 10% of total worth of agricultural production.
Green vegetation is better than concrete for pollinators. For four months two Urbanscape Green Roofs were monitored by experts from the National Institute of Biology in Slovenia. Danilo Bevk, PhD, who led the research, said: “During our study more than 1,270 pollinators were counted and in the summer the density reached a high of up to 11 per square metre.”



€750 billion has been earmarked for a Europe-wide economic green recovery plan as a response to the COVID-19 crisis. At the heart of this plan is a commitment to make Europe the world’s first carbon neutral continent. What better way to contribute than by adding a CO% absorbing green roof?

Urbanscape absorbs up to 15 kg of CO% for every square metre over its lifetime and has a positive impact on ‘heat island effect’ by cooling hot air around buildings.




Between 1980 and 2013 there were 1,500 'ood events in Europe causing over 4,700 deaths and €150 billion worth of damage. One way to minimise flooding is by managing rainfall. Green roofs absorb vast volumes of water taking the pressure off outdated water systems. Cities such as Copenhagen have introduced regulation to increase green roof numbers. “Due to the growing challenges of cloud bursts as well as flooding, green roofs are a growing trend worldwide,” says Copenhagen’s Chief Architect Tina Saaby Madsen.

A simple solution is to retain water on a green roof for as long as possible and gradually release it over time to avoid flooding. The new Urbanscape® Detention Green Roof System can help. During heavy rainfall, the water table in the system rises and fills air spaces. Afterwards the detention layer slowly allows excess water to run off while leaving the green roof fully saturated to maximum retention capacity.

Urbanscape helps ‘green the impossible’

Our Urbanscape solution growing concepts have helped “achieve the impossible” by playing an essential role in a 6,400 m2 swooping green roof on the new US$250 million extension to the Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C.

The most impressive aspects of the design are the huge green roof swoops which feature Urbanscape and rise from flat green surfaces and then corkscrew into almost vertical green walls along the new buildings’ curved titanium concrete structures.

The corkscrew vegetative design was described by Edmund D Hollander Designs’ Landscape Architect Geoffrey Valentino as “greening the impossible”. Of course, this was an irresistible challenge.

To achieve the swoops, a combination of LiteTop soil from American Hydrotech and Urbanscape Green Roll growing media from Knauf Insulation was used for the flat space. This was then merged into a LiteTop/Urbanscape Green Roll & ECOSE Technology® Green Wall Boards growing media which in turn was transformed into a green wall by being added inside Hydrotech’s GardNet.

Tokyo office, Urbanscape, green solution, Knauf Insulation
Lighter solution for Tokyo office

A total of 800 m2 of our Urbanscape Green Roof has been installed on the prestigious Roppongi Boatrace Office Building in Tokyo, Japan. Green roofs in Tokyo are normally installed with up to 40 cm of green roof soil, but as the office roof was sloped with limited bearing, we had to find a lighter alternative. Our customised 20 cm solution combined Urbanscape mineral growing media with green roof soil and was at least 50% lighter than traditional green roofs in the city with no compromise in water retention.



Read our Annual Review 2020!