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Sustainable design: green roofs

In a previous blog we talked about green design, eco-innovation, eco-design and the future of sustainable design. Now we want to tell you how product design has a place in the design of new solutions in this sense, and also our experience in this sector.


Green roofs to advance the sustainability of cities

A few years ago we had the opportunity to participate in a project to design an outdoor space and furniture, working on the adaptation and recovery of rooftops of buildings in Barcelona as green spaces. The idea was to go a step further in the creation of green roofs, allowing them to be incorporated into the use of buildings, whether they are offices or communities of neighbors, and ceasing to be disused spaces.

Diseño de cubierta sostenible y verde para terrazas trem
These Connect: Green Roof Design

Some of the benefits of green terraces are that they contribute to regulating the temperature of the top floors of the building where they are installed, but they also serve as rain control barriers by slowing down rainfall during storms. Another indirect effect is on the adjacent buildings and on the urban environment, increasing the green surfaces with the benefits that this implies, at a climatic and aesthetic level, being able to create gardens on the top of the buildings.

Cubiertas verdes diseño sostenible trem ilustración terraza
Benefits of green roofs

When sustainability is understood as something transversal, in which social factors must also be taken into account, is when it becomes even more interesting from the point of view of the development of a project of these characteristics, since in addition to forcing us to solve the project technically, it pushes us to seek more innovative and integrative solutions. This was the great impulse to develop the project at IED Barcelona.


Showroom at IED Barcelona

With the aforementioned premises and starting from a pre-established module, we undertook the project of designing a showroom of a modular system for equipping green roofs for public use on a rooftop of about 40 m2.

After months of collaboration with the IED of Barcelona and its project manager Horge Pérez, the result of this project was the design of a modular system for green roofs for the company and client Aprotecnic Group, which bet on this new product line with an innovative vision in the renovation and restoration of buildings.

diseño sostenible terraza verde IED trem
These Connect: Detalles de la cubierta

The design improves the energy efficiency of the buildings, increasing sustainability and reconnecting the users, in this case, the employees of the IED in Barcelona. It is a design that also adds aesthetic value to the building complex. It has a series of modules that can be configured to give rise to different spaces and meet various needs, from creating green areas for leisure, informal work, or disconnection, to creating a new space for the employees of the IED Barcelona.

The showroom served to test the technical construction solutions, the installation of lighting and irrigation, and the reduction of thermal transmittance achieved with a walkable raised floor and a green roof.


Technical challenges. Conceive a space and materialize it

Once the space had been designed, which had to include all the types of modules with which the system was to be equipped, and the green areas had been distributed, we went on to design and technically develop each of the elements of the modular system.

From a technical point of view, the product's conditioning factors turned out to be very complex challenges, which we overcame thanks to the knowledge and experience of the studio. From corrosion resistance in an environment with a salty atmosphere such as Barcelona to the installation of shading elements and partition walls, without the possibility of anchoring the structures to the existing civil works, we provided solutions to each of them.

Some of the most interesting aspects of the project that we would like to share with you are the installation of the irrigation system for the green areas and the vertical gardens. The electrical installation for lighting and charging points was projected underneath the roof, using a floating technical floor that compensated for the slope of the roof and created an air chamber. The disadvantage of starting from an uneven floor was used to obtain a double advantage: hiding an entire electrical installation and creating an insulation system. This chamber, together with the changes in the density of the raised access floor and the green floor, served to significantly reduce the thermal transmittance factor and improve the insulation of the upper floor of the building, and therefore its thermal efficiency. This solution is one of the many solutions that give this project the sustainable design label.

The design of the modular system is based on a frame on which different parts are assembled to configure a wide variety of elements: seating, shaded areas, lighting, separators, protection, etc. With this design, the roofs are configured according to the needs of the users. In the image below, you can see the evolution of the manufacture and assembly of this frame, to create an aesthetic and functional design that provides a space for relaxation.

Construcción marco metal taller diseño industrial
These Connect: Module base frame

When designing and developing all these elements, we focused on the sustainability component of the project, both in the production phase and in its use throughout its useful life. We took into account the product's life cycle, the optimization of energy consumption and minimal materials. We designed a production and assembly process based on a schedule optimizing transportation methods, using the most sustainable resources and minimizing all unnecessary steps that could lead to higher costs and increased pollution. In addition, we consider the useful life of the product and the possibility of recycling. All this without forgetting the importance of creating a satisfactory user experience, thus achieving a competitive product.

Our experience developing sustainable projects

The collaboration with our client Aprotecnic Group has allowed us, in addition to achieving an optimal result, to acquire knowledge and experience to take on other projects related to sustainability and green design.

Modular system for vertical gardens

This project focused on the technical development of a modular system that would provide standardized solutions, improving product quality through industrialization and process optimization.

The idea was to bet on a project that is not only an aesthetic and decorative component for buildings, but also a system of particle filtration, acoustic insulation, and the creation of ecosystems.

Indoor vertical gardens

In this case, we work on a proposal based on the integration of nature in interior spaces, which aims to bring the benefit of this in enclosed spaces. At the same time, other advantages are obtained as the air conditioning of the building to some extent, helps maintain the welfare of people in the workplace, in addition to the cleanliness and oxygenation of the air.

jardin diseño interior producto industrial oficinas ambiente relajación
Indoor vertical gardens designed by Trem

Aeroponics systems

It is currently the most widely used system for generating columnar plantings. It is a process of growing plants in an environment that does not require the use of soil but uses a spray of a nutrient-rich aqueous solution on the hanging roots and stems of the plants. The great advantage of these is that they require less energy and water than a conventional hydroponic system (with soil and water). Our vision in this project is to accommodate this type of garden and enhance the domestic use of gardens and orchards, through a sustainable vision of implementation, development and manufacturing.

In Trem, thanks to the realization during the last years of projects with sustainable labels, and thanks to our approach of continuous learning and innovation, we are prepared to take on projects of this type and immerse ourselves in them to find the most optimal and competitive solution.

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