Maria Sia

Evaluating evapotranspiration from green roofs under Canadian climatic conditions

Green roofs are a rapidly growing sustainable solution for re-introducing vegetation into urban areas, improving stormwater management and mitigating the urban heat island effect. The hydrologic and thermal benefits of green roofs can be attributed to their enhancement of evapotranspiration in urban areas. Evapotranspiration from green roofs can reduce stormwater runoff by returning captured rainfall to the atmosphere as water vapour. The transfer of later heat from the evaporating water can also provide a cooling effect which reduces the ambient air temperature of the roof. Presently, there is a lack of available data on evapotranspiration rates from green roofs installed under the influence of the Canadian climate which limits the optimal design of green roofs in Canada. Under the supervision of Dr. Denis O’Carroll and Dr. Clare Robinson, Maria will evaluate the impact of vegetation type, soil depth, and roof slope on evapotranspiration from experimental green roofs installed in three Canadian cities (London, ON, Calgary, AB, and Halifax, NS), each with distinct climatic conditions. The objective of this research is to provide valuable insight on the sensitivity of evapotranspiration rates to green roof design parameters (e.g. vegetation type, slope, and soil depth), which is critical to making informed decisions on the design and optimization of the hydrologic and thermal benefits for green roofs installed in different climatic conditions.

Personal Background

Maria graduated from Western University in April 2014 with a Bachelors of Science specializing in Environmental Science. Her interest in water research led her to work with Dr. Katrina Moser, at the Lakes and Reservoir System Research Facility, with whom she completed her undergraduate thesis. Further exploring her interest in the field of water research and sustainability practices, she eagerly joined RESTORE’s Green Roof research team in May 2014 to pursue a Masters degree.