By Sharon Udasin from The Jerusalem Post
Under the umbrella of the larger Green Knesset project, the University of Haifa and the Knesset will be building a green research roof on top of the parliament.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and University of Haifa President Amos Shapira declared their intention to go forward with the ecological research roof during a meeting in June. The roof will be yet another component of the growing NIS 7 million Green Knesset project, launched by Edelstein and Knesset director-general Ronen Plot in January. In addition to the research roof, the project is to feature a 4,650-sq.m. photovoltaic installation, as well as revamped water, air conditioning and lighting systems.
“I am delighted and proud that the Knesset is becoming green not only in practical terms but also in research,” Edelstein said. “I have a feeling that the green research roof, which will be established in cooperation with the Kadas Green Roofs Ecology Center at the University of Haifa, will serve as a model for other parliaments around the world who want to promote environmental research.”
The Kadas Center, directed by Prof. Leon Blaustein (at left in photo with University and Knesset officials) and managed by Dr. Shay Levy (third from right in photo), was established at the university in November 2012.
The first of its kind in Israel, the center explores topics such as what flora can survive on Middle-Eastern climate roofs with minimal irrigation and how to enhance building energy efficiency through ecological insulation.
“The University of Haifa is proud to take part in the Green Knesset project and to harness our scientific knowledge for such an important environmental issue,” President Shapira (second from left in photo) said.
Approximately 800 sq.m. of roof area will be allocated to the green research project, according to the partners. Next to the green roof will be a photovoltaic system, in order to check whether the combination of the two increases the efficiency of the photovoltaic cells and the biodiversity of the roof environment, the partners said.
University researchers have postulated that perhaps integrating these systems will improve the performance of both, they added.
“In the event that the research confirms the assumption that green roofs improve the energy efficiency of photovoltaic systems, we will consider in the future adding a green roof next to the big photovoltaic system, and thereby streamline operations,” Plot said.
“The green roof will be good for research, education and learning. We will establish a special path for visitors who will be able to learn from the research that will soon be implemented at the Knesset.”