Posted In SSE | 15th May 2023

Living Rooftops

Creating habitats that encourage the growth of flora and fauna is an important aspect of habitat design.

Like human homes, many of the animal houses in the Zoo need to be kept warm in colder weather. To help keep this heat energy inside – and to keep some of the animals, such as the rhinos and hippos, comfortable – Dublin Zoo has planted greenery on the roof. The green roof stops the heat from leaking out and being wasted. The mat of the soil and plants helps insulate the house, keeping it warm in winter and cool in summer. Not only is this good for the animals, but it keeps the energy bills down and is great for native birds, insects, and plants.

Because they soak up water, green roofs also slow down heavy rainwater, keeping it from rushing into rivers and causing floods. Like massive sponges, these green areas are much better than plain roofs.

Activity for your home

What’s the coldest room or spot in your house? Have a think about what you could do to keep it warm. Is there a draught you could stop? How often is your door left open? Can you insulate the windows better? If you were an animal, what would you do? Polar bears are really good at staying warm, with cosy fur, a thick later of fat under their skin and hollow hair for added insulation!

Green rooftop wildlife

A variety of invertebrates and native birds can be found on the green roofs at Dublin Zoo. Some of these include: