Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 36, pp 36024–36034 | Cite as

Risk assessment by percolation leaching tests of extensive green roofs with fine fraction of mixed recycled aggregates from construction and demolition waste

  • Antonio López-Uceda
  • Adela P. GalvínEmail author
  • Jesús Ayuso
  • José Ramón Jiménez
  • Tom Vanwalleghem
  • Adolfo Peña
Sustainable Waste Management


Extensive green roofs are urban construction systems that provide thermal regulation and sound proofing for the buildings involved, in addition to providing an urban heat island mitigation or water retention. On the other hand, policies towards reduction of energy consumption, a circular economy and sustainability are core in the European Union. Motivated by this, an experimental study was carried out to evaluate the environmental risk assessment according to release levels of polluting elements on leachates of different green roof substrate mixtures based on recycled aggregates from construction and demolition waste through (i) the performance in laboratory of two procedures: compliance and percolation tests and (ii) an upscaled experimental leaching test for long-term on-site prediction. Four plots were built on a building roof and covered with autochthonous Mediterranean plants in Córdoba, South of Spain. As growing substrate, four mixtures were used of a commercial growing substrate with different proportions of a fine mixed recycled aggregate ranging from 0 to 75% by volume. The results show that these mixtures were classified as non-hazardous materials according to legal limits of the Landfill Directive 2003/33/CE. The release levels registered in extensive green roofs were lower compared to the laboratory test data. This shows how laboratory conditions can overestimate the potential pollutant effect of these materials compared to actual conditions.


Extensive green roof Mixed recycled aggregates Urban environment Percolation leaching tests Heavy metals Sulphate 



The authors would like to express appreciation for the support of the sponsor: the Agency of Public Works of Andalusia, Spain, who funded the project: “Optimizing the potential of green roofs for building rehabilitation: Interaction between recycled substrates, water properties and energy efficiency. Code: GGI3003IDIB” whose results are partially here presented.


  1. Barbudo A, Galvín AP, Agrela F, Ayuso J, Jiménez JR (2012) Correlation analysis between sulphate content and leaching of sulphates in recycled aggregates from construction and demolition wastes. Waste Manag 32(6):1229–1235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berndtsson JC, Bengtsson L, Jinno K (2009) Runoff water quality from intensive and extensive vegetated roofs. Ecol Eng 35(3):369–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Butera S, Christensen TH, Astrup TF (2014) Composition and leaching of construction and demolition waste: inorganic elements and organic compounds. J Hazard Mater 276:302–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. De Juan MS & Gutiérrez PA (2009) Study on the influence of attached mortar content on the properties of recycled concrete aggregate. Constr Build Mater 23(2):872–877CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Del Rey I, Ayuso J, Galvín AP, Jiménez JR, López M, García-Garrido ML (2015) Analysis of chromium and sulphate origins in construction recycled materials based on leaching test results. Waste Manag 46:278–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Eikelboom R (2006) Challenges Environmental evaluation and use of recycling materials. In: Proceedings of the 6th international conference environmental and technical implications of construction with alternative materials, WASCON, BelgradeGoogle Scholar
  7. Eksi M, Rowe DB (2016) Green roof substrates: effect of recycled crushed porcelain and foamed glass on plant growth and water retention. Urban For Urban Green 20:81–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Engelsen CJ, Wibetoe G, van der Sloot HA, Lund W, Petkovic G (2012) Field site leaching from recycled concrete aggregates applied as sub-base material in road construction. Sci Total Environ 427:86–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. FLL (2008) Guideline for the planning, execution and upkeep of green-roof sites (English ed). Forschungsgesellschaft Landschaftsentwicklung LandschaftsbauGoogle Scholar
  10. Galvín AP, Ayuso J, Jiménez JR, Agrela F (2012) Comparison of batch leaching tests and influence of pH on the release of metals from construction and demolition wastes. Waste Manag 32(1):8–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Galvín AP, Ayuso J, Agrela F, Barbudo A, Jiménez JR (2013) Analysis of leaching procedures for environmental risk assessment of recycled aggregate use in unpaved roads. Constr Build Mater 40:1207–1214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Galvín AP, Ayuso J, García I, Jiménez JR, Gutiérrez F (2014) The effect of compaction on the leaching and pollutant emission time of recycled aggregates from construction and demolition waste. J Clean Prod 83:294–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. GEAR Project (2012) Spanish guide of recycled aggregates from construction and demolition waste. Spanish association of managers of construction and demolition waste. Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Government of SpainGoogle Scholar
  14. Getter KL, Rowe DB (2006) The role of extensive green roofs in sustainable development. Hortscience 41(5):1276–1285Google Scholar
  15. Graceson A, Hare M, Hall N, Monaghan J (2014) Use of inorganic substrates and composted green waste in growing media for green roofs. Biosyst Eng 124:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hyks J, Astrup T (2009) Influence of operational conditions, waste input and ageing on contaminant leaching from waste incinerator bottom ash: a full-scale study. Chemosphere 76(9):1178–1184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Izquierdo M, Querol X, Josa A, Vazquez E, López-Soler A (2008) Comparison between laboratory and field leachability of MSWI bottom ash as a road material. Sci Total Environ 389(1):10–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jang Y-C, Townsend TG (2001) Occurrence of inorganic pollutants in recovered soil fines from construction and demolition waste. Waste Manag 21:703–715CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Krawczyk A, Domagała-Świątkiewicz I, Lis-Krzyścin A, Daraż M (2017) Waste silica as a valuable component of extensive green-roof substrates. Pol J Environ Stud 26(2):643–653CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ledesma EF, Jiménez JR, Fernández JM, Galvín AP, Agrela F, Barbudo A (2014) Properties of masonry mortars manufactured with fine recycled concrete aggregates. Constr Build Mater 71:289–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Martins IM, Roque AJ, Freire AC, Neves J, Antunes ML (2015) Release of dangerous substances from construction and demolition recycled materials used in road pavements-Laboratory and field leaching tests. In III Progress of Recycling in the Built Environment. RILEM Publications SARL, pp 109–115Google Scholar
  22. Mickovski SB, Buss K, McKenzie BM, Sökmener B (2013) Laboratory study on the potential use of recycled inert construction waste material in the substrate mix for extensive green roofs. Ecol Eng 61:706–714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Molineux CJ, Fentiman CH, Gange AC (2009) Characterising alternative recycled waste materials for use as green roof growing media in the UK. Ecol Eng 35(10):1507–1513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Molineux CJ, Gange AC, Connop SP, Newport DJ (2015) Using recycled aggregates in green roof substrates for plant diversity. Ecol Eng 82:596–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. NEN 7343 (1994) Leaching characteristics of solid earthy and story building and waste materials. Leaching test. Determination of the leaching of inorganic components from granular materials with the column testGoogle Scholar
  26. NLT 115/1999 (1999) Experimental technical standard for determination of gypsum content in soils. CEDEX. General Directorate of Roads.Google Scholar
  27. Public Works Agency of the Regional Government of Andalusia (2015) Guide of recycled aggregates from construction and demolition waste in Central Andalusia. Spain [in Spanish]. Available online: Accessed on 06 September 2017Google Scholar
  28. Sanchez M, Alaejos P (2009) Study on the influence of attached mortar content on the properties of recycled concrete aggregate. Constr Build Mater 23:872–877CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Santamouris M (2014) Cooling the cities–a review of reflective and green roof mitigation technologies to fight heat island and improve comfort in urban environments. Sol Energy 103:682–703CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schreurs JPGM, Van der Sloot HA, Hendriks C (2000) Verification of laboratory–field leaching behavior of coal fly ash and MSWI bottom ash as a road base material. Waste Manag 20(2):193–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Spanish Waste Management Association (GERD) (2012) Spanish guide of recycled aggregates from CDW. Madrid, SpainGoogle Scholar
  32. Tiruta-Barna L, Imyim A, Barna R (2004) Long-term prediction of the leaching behavior of pollutants from solidified wastes. Adv Environ Res 8(3):697–711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Townsend TG, Jang YCH, Tolaymat T (2003) Leaching tests for evaluating risk in solid waste management decision making. Florida Center for Solid and Hazardous. Waste Manage Res Report No. 03-01. Gainesville, USAGoogle Scholar
  34. UNE-EN 12457–3 (2003) Characterization of waste. Leaching. Compliance test for leaching of granular waste materials and sludges. Part 3: Two stage batch at a liquid to solid ratio of 2 l/kg and 8 l/kg for materials with high solid content and with a particle size below 4 mm (without or with size reduction)Google Scholar
  35. UNE-EN 1744–1 (2013) Tests for chemical properties of aggregates - Part 1: Chemical analysis. Chloride content determination by Bohr MethodGoogle Scholar
  36. United Nations (2014) World urbanization prospects: the 2014 revision. Available online: Accessed on 06 September 2017
  37. Van der Sloot HA (2000) Comparison of the characteristic leaching behavior of cements using standard (EN 196-1) cement mortar and an assessment of their long-term environmental behavior in construction products during service life and recycling. Cem Concr Res 30(7):1079–1096CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Van der Sloot HA & Dijkstra JJ (2004) Development of horizontally standardized leaching tests for construction materials: a material based or release based approach? Identical leaching mechanisms for different materials. Energy Research Center of the Netherlands, Report No-. ECN-C-04-060, 44pp. & annexesGoogle Scholar
  39. Vijayaraghavan K, Joshi UM, Balasubramanian R (2012) A field study to evaluate runoff quality from green roofs. Water Res 46(4):1337–1345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wahlström M, Laine-Ylijoki J, Määtänen A, Luotojärvi T, Kivekäs L (2000) Environmental quality assurance system for use of crushed mineral demolition wastes in road constructions. Waste Manag 20:225–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Area of Construction EngineeringUniversity of CórdobaCórdobaSpain
  2. 2.Area of Hydraulic EngineeringUniversity of CórdobaCórdobaSpain
  3. 3.Area of Project EngineeringUniversity of CórdobaCórdobaSpain

Personalised recommendations