Limitations in using runoff coefficients for green and gray roof design
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionHydrology Research. 2020, 51 (2), 339-350. 10.2166/nh.2020.049
Climate change combined with urbanization increases the performance demand on urban drainage systems. Green roofs are one of the most used green infrastructure measures to alleviate the pressure on the urban drainage system through the detention and retention of runoff. The rational method with the runoff coefficient (C) is one of the most commonly used design tools for stormwater design in Norway. This method relies on a runoff coefficient being available for green roofs, which is typically not the case. This paper compares laboratory and experimental field studies to investigate runoff coefficients from different types of detention-based roofs. The methodology described in the German ‘FLL Guideline’, one of the world's most commonly used green roof standards, was used to measure the runoff coefficients for the different components making up a typical green roof. The contribution from each layer is reflected in the runoff coefficients. The runoff coefficients from the field experiments were calculated using observed precipitation and runoff from existing green roofs in Oslo, Trondheim, Sandnes, and Bergen, Norway. Events that had a cumulative precipitation comparable to the laboratory events, but longer durations, were selected. These events gave significantly lower and varying runoff coefficients, clearly demonstrating the limitation of choosing a suitable runoff coefficient for a given roof. However, laboratory experiments are important in understanding the underlying flow processes in the different layers in a detention-based roof.