Dreaming of a greener, more sustainable and healthier Malta, Pia Vassallo and Vanya Veras launched Vivacity. Installing green roofs is their way of making a difference. Their love for nature and the environment shines through in everything they do.
Hi ladies! Would you please introduce yourselves to our readers?
Hi, I’m Vanya, an environmental economist who wants to save the world through nature for all life on earth and future generations.
I’m Pia. My happy place in anywhere in nature. I would love to see a more sustainable, greener Malta. Building Vivacity has given my work life the same values and purpose I follow in my personal life. I believe we all can make a difference, no matter how small it may be.
What is Vivacity all about?
Vivacity is about well-being and nature and bringing these two elements together to create sustainable green spaces.
We turn the grey into green. We install sustainable biodiverse green roofs and living green walls that mimic the local countryside, using indigenous and endemic Mediterranean plants. They are kind to your pocket, well-being and our planet.
What inspired you to bring this idea from Greece to Malta?
We both lived abroad for many years. On our return to Malta we were shocked by the lack of green spaces, the amount of construction and the destruction of the countryside. I (Vanya) had worked with Vivacity’s greening technique and tools in Greece and Israel, so it seemed natural to bring it to Malta.
What are the benefits of green infrastructure and green roofs?
Living Green Infrastructure has many benefits for the building’s occupants, the community and the environment. Besides increasing your living space and adding value to your home, they provide natural thermal and sound insulation. They can reduce your heating and cooling bill by up to 75%. They are powerful tools against climate change absorbing air pollution, reducing flooding and when planted to mimic nature they improve biodiversity.
How does it improve biodiversity?
Biodiversity is essential for our survival; without it our food chains will collapse, and we will starve. Intensive farming has destroyed biodiversity.
Green roofs – especially extensive green roofs designed to form biodiverse, local ecosystems – are safe havens for wildlife. Our green roofs are alive with birds, bees, butterflies, lizards and even frogs.
How many green roofs have been installed in Malta so far?
Although Green infrastructure is a new concept for Malta, we have installed green roofs on a number of private residences, a museum – Palazzo Falson in Mdina – and even a shed. We have some more exciting projects in the pipeline.
What was your favourite project to work on?
Every project is unique and exciting. We really enjoy turning the grey to green and watching as biodiversity flourishes.
How do you contribute to the environment in your personal lives?
We are conscious consumers: we buy only what we need, avoid single use packaging particularly plastics, we use ecological cleaning products and hygiene products to protect our water sources. We buy organic, locally produced food which we cook from scratch and bring up our children to do the same.
What are your hopes for the future of Malta’s environment?
We hope for a fairer, cleaner, greener Malta that puts nature and ultimately our own wellbeing at the centre of all of its policies. We would love to see fewer cars, more cycling and walking paths, a feasible sustainable public transport, organic regenerative farming as a norm and green spaces for all to enjoy.
What one bit of advice would you give our readers that may be considering getting a green roof?
Invest once and save forever. Go for it! It will transform your home, lower your electricity bills, elevate your mood and make an important contribution to mitigating the devastation us humans have incurred on our natural environment and our planet.
All you need is a structurally sound roof, bitumen membrane and a tap. The rest you can leave to us
What would be your reason to install a green roof: lower bills, combatting climate change or improved mental health? Explore the options and get in touch at www.viva-city.com.