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Clare Hudson
Clare Hudson
  • 1 Minute Read
  • 19th July 2011

What is a Green Roof? What is Sustainability?

Green roofs are growing in popularity which is not surprising; they look great, they act as natural insulation, they keep energy bills low and they encourage biodiversity.

What is green roof?

An area on top of a building covered in vegetation to create insulation. Green roofs absorb around 50% of rainwater which significantly reduces the amount of rain drainage, and in cities they can help to reduce pollution and combat the heat island effect.

A green roof could also refer to roofs which have ponds on top of them or roofs which make use of green technologies such as solar thermal collectors.

Green roofs save money and energy

The initial cost of creating a green roof is more expensive than traditional insulation covering materials. However it has been estimated that they lower energy bills by as much as 50% and can last up to 50 years. Green roofs also improve the overall value of a property.

Green Roofs create jobs

Marc Deeley, from the Thames Gateway Sustainable Development Team said: “Installing living roofs in our existing urban environment will not only help us adapt to a changing climate, it will also create a new urban landscape that can be enjoyed by people through direct access or as an alternative view from the office window. Some living roofs can even be designed to provide us with food, so the potential for city regions to develop and implement these technologies could create thousands of sustainable jobs at the same time.”

Green roofs attract Wildlife

Property development company, British Land has created over 8, 000sq ft of green roof areas and an additional 1, 000 sq ft of green wall space for both Broadgate Tower and 201 Bishopgate, which attracts bees, hoverflies, butterflies and other insects and birds.

Rare species of bird such as the Redstart have been spotted on roofs at Regent’s Place and current occupiers, Aegis at 10 Triton Street are investigating the possibility of creating beehives on their green roof.

David Graves who has been keeping beehives on his green roof comments in the Guardian Environment blog: "It's important to use these spaces. Rooftops are a waste of space – so many are empty that could be used to benefit the environment. Wouldn't it be great if one day you flew over New York City and it was all blue with lavender? The bees would love that."

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