Fifteen years ago, Andrew Clements began researching bio-climatic architecture and particularly roof greening, initially for his own needs. Having purchased a 120-year old farmhouse in the mountains near Corinth, Greece, he searched to find a Greek-based green roofer and was dismayed to find that there were none. Undeterred, he set about discovering how such an endeavor might be accomplished. The challenge was to create a completely Mediterranean green roof, eco-roof, or living roof, as it is sometimes known, developed for the building challenges and climate peculiarities of the Mediterranean.
After 6 years of R & D with the invaluable help of a small team of specialists (architects, civil engineers, geologists, meteorologists, eco-system specialists) the first Mediterranean roof greening approach was born in 2006. It was christened Oikosteges (pronounced eco – steg –gez), which is a compound of two ancient Greek words: ‘Oiko’, meaning ‘related to the home’, and from which the Latin ‘eco’ is sourced, and ‘steges’, meaning abode, roof over your head. Oikosteges offer the only real alternative to expensive and inappropriate roof gardens for Mediterranean countries.
Oikosteges’ mission is to recreate natural, bio-diverse Mediterranean ecosystems on any and all built structures in the cities and towns of the Mediterranean and in similar climates around the world, using a number of natural approaches informed by such concepts as ecological succession. These ecosystems require little or no maintenance and little or no irrigation once established. The ecosystems are feather lightweight so that they can be applied to virtually any built surface in this active seismic region.
Now, Andrew holds two patents for Greek-appropriate green roofs. He is particularly interested in water-wise, natural, ecosystem development in hot cities such as Athens, as well as the challenges of working in a seismic region. Landmark projects include The Greek Treasury building in Constitution Square, Athens.
In addition, the Oikosteges team established Green Roofs Greece, a not for profit organization, which currently boasts a Facebook membership of over 21,000, in order to share experiences and ideas with the worldwide networks of green roof activists.