The Roofing Industry is Going Green

September 01 2017 0comment

The Roofing Industry is Going Green

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The latest industry news reveals that green roofs are becoming increasingly popular here in the UK with planning applications for green roofs surging by a massive 34% in 2016, particularly in the southern regions of England.  Until last year, applications for green roofs had been pretty stagnant since 2013, and the recent boost in numbers has been linked to a variety of factors including biodiversity awareness, environmental effects and the potential financial benefits that are derived from installing a green roof.  Today we’re going to take a look at this latest craze that is sweeping the roofing industry in a bid to keep our readers up to date with what’s going on in our sector.

A green roof, or living roof as they are also known, is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, all planted on top of a waterproof roofing membrane.  Contemporary green roofs are made of a system of manufactured layers though there is a long history of green roofs, especially in Scandinavia where sod roofs have featured for centuries.  The modern trend began when green roofs were developed in Germany in the 1960s and the practice has since spread to other countries as we become more environmentally aware with a number of European countries having active associations which promote green roofs.  Recent advances in green roof technology have led to the development of new systems that don’t fit the traditional classification of green roof types.

While installing a green roof is an expensive option initially, often bringing higher maintenance costs and higher demands on the waterproofing system of the structure, there are benefits to be enjoyed too.  Green roofing can extend the lifespan of a roof by more than 200% as the vegetation shields the roofing membrane from the harmful effects of ultra violet radiation and physical damage.  A reduction in energy usage is another important benefit – the thermal performance of the roof is improved which allows buildings to retain their heat during the winter months, while reflecting and absorbing solar radiation during the hotter summer season, keeping the temperatures inside the building at a more comfortable level.

The environmental benefits are pretty powerful too – a green roof can filter pollutants and heavy metals out of rain water and many green roofs are installed to comply with local regulations regarding storm water runoff management. 

There’s also the added benefits that green roofs provide habitat for plants, insects and animals that would otherwise struggle for the limited natural spaces in modern cities.  Even in high-rise, urban settings, it’s been discovered that green roofs attract beneficial insects, birds, bees and butterflies, providing stepping stones for songbirds, migratory birds and other wildlife facing a dearth of natural habitat. 

Here in the UK, green roofs are being encouraged in built-up city environments where residents don’t have access to gardens and local parks.  The University of Sheffield has created a Green Roof Centre of Excellence and is Britain’s main centre for research into green roofs. A factory roof in Evesham won the 2013 National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) Sustainable Roof Award for Green Roofing, featuring nearly 90 species of wildflower and natural grasses. 

Green Roofing is a trend that is predicted to become more popular so we’ll bring more news on this eco-friendly development in future.

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