Green Panels

Our mission is to make green roofs as popular as solar panels. How? By developing green panels that are easily installed on the roofs of the most common type of houses in the Netherlands.

Aurélio Wijnands
University of Twente
MSc Industrial Design Engineering

Over het initiatief / About the initiative

Green Panels

In welke fase zit jouw initiatief? / In what stage is your initiative?

Uitgewerkt conceptfase

Heb je jouw initiatief al gevalideerd? / Did you validate your initiative?

Yes. We are part of the Incubase, an incubator of University of Twente, where the concept and business model were validated by presenting it to numerous professionals and obtaining feedback. We have introduced our idea to solar panel and green roof companies, as well representatives of insurances, municipalities, gardening and landscaping companies. We have made 3D printed and low-fi wood prototypes and now we are working on the redesigns to be manufactured in real scale. Once we have real scale panels, we will be able to install them in a house and monitor the conditions of the plants over the year.

Meer informatie over jouw initiatief / More info about your initiative

The Green Panels are a clever and modular green roof system that uses the same installation principles and geometry simplicity as solar panels. The pre-vegetated Green Panels, consists of a lightweight design and inexpensive attributes. The modules could be installed on different roof structures, as a retrofit of existing roofs.

The advantages of green roofs are many, energy savings due to thermal insulation, roof tyle protection, water retention, Co2 capturing and stimuli of biodiversity are a few examples. These functional characteristics combined with the aesthetic and emotional aspects provided to the consumers, are the reasons why we are eager to develop this product in the Netherlands and extend to other countries.

Conventional green roofs are normally expensive, heavy and labor intensive to install and maintain, therefore being used mostly in large bulky buildings or in a few houses. Our goal is to expand the growing market of green roofs and make this type of product available to a wider range of buyers. To achieve that, a business model based on not just selling the product, but selling the service of green roof, will reduce initial costs to the buyer and help keep the materials in the loop, contributing to a circular economy.

Green roofs add a diverse range of improvements to homeowners. It is proven to double the lifespan of the existing roof, thermally insulate the house 3-5° in the summer, retain on average 30L/m² and reduce noise by 2-4dB. These three aspects all contribute to saving money with energy bills and maintenance costs. Apart from that, a green roof provides large scale effects such as reduction of a city’s temperature, reduction of air pollution by air filtering, increased biodiversity and CO2 capturing. On an individual level, a closer contact with nature can improve a person’s mood.

 

Wat zijn jouw volgende stappen om het verder te ontwikkelen? / What are your next steps to develop the initiative?

  • Making a MVP, by manufacturing real scale Green Panels for the installation of one house for testing, monitoring and design assessment.
  • Attract funding and partnership with vegetation suppliers and solar panel companies

Wat heb je nodig om (nog meer) impact te maken met dit initiatief? / What do you need to make (more) impact with this initiative?

 

  • Guidance on how to go from a proof of concept to start spreading the product, by testing  1:1 scale prototypes in different locations but also making partnerships with municipalities, architectural and solar panel companies to scale up and optimize the product. Resources, visibility, and expertise in specific areas such as civil and mechanical engineering, botanics, architecture are also needed. 
  • Punctual needs are to redesign the current shape towards a more clean and universal design that is suitable to accommodate various vegetation, mostly sedum plants, and yet be aesthetically pleasing and practical to install.