The first public buses with plants installed on their roofs (known as “green roofs”) hit the roads of Singapore, on 5 May 2019 (Sunday). Supposedly the first in Asia, the “Garden on the Move” initiative was launched by urban greenery specialists GWS Living Art.
What are these buses for?
These “green” buses are on the roads as part of a three-month study. The aim of the study is to show that a green roof will lead to a natural reduction in temperature in the interior of the buses, and in doing so, saving on the amount of fuel used for air conditioning.
The study itself will also involve nine more SBS Transit buses. Services 139, 145, 39, 13 and 45 will be participating, and these buses go to locations such as Toa Payoh, Tampines and Orchard Road.
How do these “green roofs” work?
The green roofs on these buses are much lighter than typical green roofs because they do not use soil. This makes them incredibly easy to install and maintain.
As a substitute for soil, the plants growing on these green roofs are secured using a system (designed by GWS Living Art) known as Gaiamats. These Gaiamats are essentially a layer of organic natural fibres that are weaved together. Below this layer of fibres, there is a water retention fleece, which allows water (or rain!) to be absorbed.
In addition, the species of plants chosen are hardy ones that can adapt to the local climate, and are resistant to windy and dry conditions. The plants do not need to be watered frequently, and only need to be checked upon once a week.
All in all, it’s a great initiative to attempt to reduce Singapore’s temperatures, and to reduce the usage of fuels. That, and if these green buses become a thing in the future, they may also help to reduce pollution on Singapore’s roads!
After all, greenery helps to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen – which might just aid in dealing with vehicle exhaust on Singapore’s roads.