Green roofs and walls

Green roofs and walls

An Australian first

The City of Sydney has adopted the first ever green roofs and walls policy for Australia, which sets out our commitment to increase the number of high quality green roofs and walls in the City.

It is accompanied by a 3-year implementation plan to ensure the policy is understood, properly adopted and integrated into our activities. Both documents can be downloaded below. When the draft policy and 3-year plan were exhibited for public comment, the response was uniformly positive.

Why green roofs and walls?

Green roofs and walls provide many environmental and community benefits. They are vital parts of a sustainable city helping plants grow and thrive on the top of buildings and vertical walls, differing from traditional gardens.

Help to install a green roof or wall

We have a number of resources to help you build your green roof or wall. If you are researching which type is right for you, try our inspiration guide. If you’ve picked the kind of roof or wall you’d like and need help with more technical installation information, water and energy technologies and maintenance issues, try one of the downloadable resources below.

The City of Melbourne has also put together an important free resource for green roofs and walls, called the 'Growing Green Guide'.


Lucy Sharman
Green Roofs and Walls Project Officer
02 9265 9426

Advantages of a green roof or wall

Green roofs and walls provide many benefits to our city including:

  • Air quality: Greenery on roofs and walls helps remove harmful air pollutants, making the air cleaner and healthier. They can also improve air quality inside the building.
  • Beauty: Green roofs and walls are beautiful. They can turn a drab wall or bitumen roof into a striking feature of the building.
  • Biodiversity: They provide space for insects, reptiles and bird life to find water, food and shelter. Biodiversity is vital for a healthy urban environment.
  • Health: The human need to be around living plants is called 'biophillia'. Numerous studies show the physical and mental health benefits we experience from being in and around growing plants.
  • Insulation: They insulate buildings, reducing our reliance on active heating and cooling, and energy consumption.
  • Noise: They also help insulate the building from outside noise creating a quieter and more peaceful indoor environment.
  • Space: Previously unused space can be turned into valuable space for recreation, growing food, gardening and so on.
  • Roof life: They can extend the life of a roof by up to 40 years, limiting exposure to sun and weather. Green roofs keep temperatures more even and minimise expansion and contraction from temperature changes.
  • Solar panels: They improve solar panel efficiency keeping the surrounding temperature at an optimum level.
  • Urban heat island effect: Hard surfaces absorb heat from the sun and radiate it back into the environment, leading to higher city temperatures. Green roofs and walls lower this effect, making the city a more comfortable place.
  • Water: They slow and clean the rainwater run-off from buildings, improving our waterways.


Growing Green Guide Green Roofs Australasia

Green roof key

Green pin indicating accessible green roofs and walls = Accessible to the public
Green pin indicating green roofs and walls with no public access = No public access

Last updated: Monday, 30 June 2014