First Advisor

Graig Spolek

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical and Materials Engineering




Green roofs (Gardening), Heat -- Transmission, Evaporative cooling



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 57 p.) : ill. (some col.)


Green roofs have become an important urban mitigation technology due to their ability to address multiple environmental issues. One of the most common benefits attributed to green roofs is the reduction in heating and cooling loads in buildings by dissipating heat through evaporation. This study focuses on evaluating the effect that evaporative cooling has on the thermal performance of green roofs. Sponge and floral foam were used as porous media for their ability to retain water inside its body, transport it to the surface, evaporate it at a constant rate and for their different pore sizes. Test trays containing sponge or floral foam saturated with water were tested in a low speed wind tunnel equipped to measure weight, temperature and heat flux. Two types of experiments were conducted: one with evaporation at the surface, and the other with evaporation blocked by an impervious layer. The testing conditions for all tests were kept constant except for the ability of evaporation to happen. Evaporation rate for floral foam was 0.14 kg/m2hr and 0.29 kg/m2hr for sponge. Results of tests with evaporation show a decrease of 45-49% in heat conducted through the roof when compared to the tests without evaporation. For optimal thermal performance of green roofs, a material that enhances water transport and thus evaporation at the surface is necessary with large pores and low field capacity. Surface temperatures on test with evaporation were found to be between 3-7°C lower than those without evaporation. Applying a 2 sample t-test to the data, the relationship between heat flux and evaporation was found to be statistically significant.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Persistent Identifier