An Experimental and Numerical Approach to Multifunctional Urban Surfaces through Blue Roofs

Carlos Rey-Mahía, Felipe Pedro Álvarez-Rabanal, Luis Angel Sañudo-Fontaneda, Mario Hidalgo-Tostado, Antonio Menéndez Suárez-Inclán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


Uncontrolled urban growth causes a number of problems associated with land use, stormwater management and energy generation. Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) are positioned as an alternative to traditional constructive solutions, contributing towards the generation of multifunctional urban spaces for efficient stormwater management and energy consumption reduction. Nevertheless, this combined goal calls for a deeper understanding of the heat transfer processes that govern the temperature performance in SUDS in order to be further validated as infrastructure to house renewable energy elements. This study intends to determine the thermal properties of two types of blue roofs under extreme conditions of performance (wet and dry), depicting the operation features of their layers and comparing their performances based on the materials used. With this aim, a hybrid experimental methodology, combining laboratory and numerical modelling, was designed using standardized equipment (ISO 8990:1994 and ASTM C1363-05), improving previous methods proposed in the study of the thermal properties of SUDS. The section with expanded clay improved the hydraulic capacity by 4.8%. The section without expanded clay increased its thermal transmittance value by 64.9% under wet conditions. It was also found that the presence of water increased the equivalent thermal conductivity in both sections by 60%.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1815
Number of pages15
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • blue roof
  • energy-water nexus
  • nature-based solutions (NBS)
  • low impact development (LID)
  • stormwater constructed measures (SCM)
  • green infrastructure (GI)
  • water sensitive urban design (WSUD)


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