Changing From Grey to Green!

An overhead shot of a green roof

The cry of “can we have more green instead of grey” is the now the new motto of the City of Salzburg in Austria and is growing louder across the globe. Not only do many of this historical city’s residents want more green spaces, but so do the local water authority and spatial planning and building authorities.

Salzburg, along with many other cities in the country such as Vienna, Linz and Graz, have seen the wide ranging benefits offered by the installation of green roofing systems. Green roofs offer the smart solution, particularly when installed within densely populated urban areas.

How Can We Help?

Wallbarn has developed a new, improved design for the M-TRAY® modular green roof system.

The M-TRAY® is a fully established, mature green roof can be installed quickly and easily on difficult-to-access roofs by hand without the mess and disruption associated with traditional extensive green roof systems.

Benefits of Green Roofing Installation

In addition to the obvious economic advantages an attractive, natural looking, differentiated property with lots of green space will have in the local environment, which can bring higher rental yields and real estate values, the running costs of those buildings can be reduced to such a degree that green roofs pay for themselves and bring about a “green dividend” to the owners.

The Ryerson &University of Toronto study has been mentioned on our site previously, but it recorded some financial benefits to heating and cooling costs to structures. From its pilot studies, is replicated and modelled the data to reflect what might happen across a whole city if green roofs were installed in sufficient quantitis:

City of Toronto study 2014

  • (2.8 million people) Citywide savings from reduced energy for cooling is $21 million, equivalent to 4.15KWh/m2 per year
  • Cost avoided due to reduced demand at peak times is $68 million

Ryerson University –
Dr. Doug Banting, Professor Hitesh Doshi,
Dr. James Li, Dr. Paul Missios

In 2003 a cider factory in Frankfurt, which uses a large amount of energy to cool its tanks and processes, installed a “wet roof” onto the top of the factory buildings. The wet roof incorporated living green spaces and small pools of bogs and ponds.

It found that the green roof on the cider factory paid for itself within 3 years in heating and cooling costs.

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Another luscious green roof adorns family home

 

Another rooftop transformed
with a little M-Tray® magic

We were asked to install a green roof on the rooftops of this beautiful family home in South London. Take a look at the stunning results.

Watch The Video

Can we help you with a green roof project?

Our knowledgeable service team is on hand to answer your questions:

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iDecking puts finishing touches on Islington development

 

iDecking puts finishing touches on Islington development

Wallbarn’s unique board-and-rail system was chosen for a brand new multi-purpose, multi-level development.

Check out the project here

iDecking
iDecking London

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Green Roofs – Sustainability in Building

An image of a completed green roof installation

Sustainability in building is the new concept in the construction of buildings. The concept is based upon the designing and creation of new structures and the remodelling or renovation of existing ones using environmentally friendly approaches.

Focus on Sustainability

The result of focusing on sustainability throughout the construction of a building is how modern families can enjoy the comforts offered by green homes. Green homes are designed and erected using renewable materials coupled with the use of alternative energy strategies. The approach focuses on the maximisation of available resources while observing conversion and conservation, quality, and effective utilisation. The maintenance and use of such buildings or homes are, in the long run, far simpler and easier, and with a smaller carbon footprint on the environment.

Eco-Friendly Structures

Sustainable buildings are the fruits of sustainable architecture, which focuses on maximising the use of the available resources to achieve an eco-friendly structure all with the use of renewable materials. As such, the use of recycled and recyclable energy-efficient materials is always at the forefront of such construction.

Creative Ideas and Concepts

The need to convert the environment and lead to very creative ideas and concepts. The new-age architects who are keen on going green in their profession find use in some rather unconventional materials yet are still surprising many with what they come up with. Old car tyres, glass, and plastic bottles are just some of the new materials being used to create some of the most breathtakingly environmentally conscious buildings.

Structural Integrity

Structural integrity is a necessary component in any building; thus a lot of research goes into how these unconventional renewable materials can be used to achieve a structurally robust building. On the other hand, the use of the materials will go hand in hand with the use of alternative energy.  It involves providing adequate energy for utility services and general household needs, which might see the use of natural energy sources such as solar panels and unique ventilation systems that help in heating and cooling the building. Some architects can incorporate the use energy regulative materials that can act as heat insulators to help in heating and cooling.

In as much as various construction professions will take on the challenge giving it a unique personal touch, they all do their designs and creations based on the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) concepts. LEED offers numerous data and recommendations that one can use to construct a new eco-friendly building or remodel an existing one in a sustainable building.

For more on how green roofing systems can contribute towards the sustainable building, please visit the dedicated area on our website, by clicking here.

Which Is The Better Option? Overlaying Decking or Complete Reconstruction?

When looking to install a new deck, the decision on whether to overlay an existing deck/paving structure or rip it up and start afresh can be a complex one.

Whilst many people automatically assume their only option is to remove everything from the original installation, with factors such as time and expense to consider, exploring alternatives can pay off in a variety of ways.

Resurfacing Your Deck

Resurfacing an existing structure with decking or paving offers a number of advantages including:

  • Removing the need to dig fresh foundations
  • Creating the chance to implement effective waterproofing solutions
  • Save time and money during installation
  • No creation of waste & no issues with waste disposal

By using timber tiles on top of free-standing pedestals which are installed on top of the existing structure, we are able to ensure that the new tiles are kept clear from excess standing water which might make them warp. This, in turn, will leave space underneath the freshly installed tiles for cables, pipework and outlets and as tiles aren’t fixed to the pedestals, access can be gained simply by lifting a tile.

Natural, Attractive Finish of Timber Decking

By using suspended Wallbarn timber decking tiles, installers combine the natural, attractive finish of timber decking with the speed and ease of laying paving slabs.

Traditionally laying timber decking directly onto these deck surfaces led to additional costs of employing specialist carpenters. Laying timber joists directly onto the waterproofing membrane also risked damage over time. Wallbarn timber decking tiles offer the ideal solution. The weight of the tile will hold the system in place.

Suspended System

This suspended system avoids having to fix anything onto the deck and lifts all the timber away from any standing water, avoiding the dangers of a slippery surface.

As everything is free-standing, the tiles can be taken up and replaced without disrupting the whole area, should the deck need to be inspected. Unsightly items such as drainage outlets, cables and pipes can be hidden beneath the tiles and accessed easily.

Achieving Stunning Finishes

Stunning finishes can be achieved. The tiles can be laid in a straight-line pattern or in a “chessboard” style, depending on the client’s wishes. We have a range of different timber available sourced from South America, chosen for their beauty and durability including Ipe and Cumaru.

We can also supply FSC® certified timber as we have FSC® Chain of Custody (please speak to your Wallbarn representative).

To find out more about the hardwood timber decking range from Wallbarn, please click here to visit the dedicated area of the site or call us at Tel. No. 020 8916 2222.

M-Tray Installation, St Pancras Way, London

 

Another instant, easy-fit green roof

Our client needed to install a green roof over three small rooftops but had access issues – our  modular M-Trays® proved the ideal solution

Check out the project here

M-Tray® green roof
M-Tray® green roof

Can we help you with a green roof project?

Our team is ready to answer your questions:

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What Makes The M-Tray® Perfect For Retro-Fitting

Retro-fitting is a very common practice amongst many industries. Thanks to the modular nature of the M-Tray®, we offer the ideal solution for anyone looking to add a green roof to an existing open space and one that is significantly more cost-effective than the construction of new facilities.

Our M-Tray® has been specifically designed to make sedum roof installation quick and easy – with minimum disruption to the plants and the structure they are going onto – and to provide a seamless, verdant finish – an instant and sustainable green roof.

Not only this, once installed, access to the roof is future-proofed. If there are problems with the deck beneath or inspection is required, one M-Tray® or section can easily be lifted out without disruption to the whole roof.

The Perfect Solution For ‘Hard to Access’ Areas

Perceived accessibility issues and concerns relating to potential disruption during installation are common reasons for property owners assuming that the installation of a green roof may not be possible for their building. This is true when it comes to retro-fitting a green roof onto a rooftop area.

However, thanks to the modular nature of the M-Tray®, we are able to provide a viable option for areas which are simply not suitable for other types of green roof installation.

Moving bags of aggregate-based substrate onto rooftops is fraught with risk – the aggregate goes everywhere and as it is so granular, it can damage waterproofing membranes very easily. Sedum blankets are also supplied rolled up, so the plants get damaged during the transport and installation process.

This is not the case with the M-Tray® modules.

Fast and Effective Installation

Not only are our M-Trays® easy to install and transport, but they will also last in the long term. Every now and again throughout the year, you will need to do some maintenance e.g. weeding but apart from that, our trays are designed to be as self-sufficient as possible (they are designed to capture rainwater, releasing it gradually, feeding the species set into our special substrate).

The modular units clip together allowing the plants to blend into a seamless, established and sustainable green roof.

The benefits of a modular green roof include:

  • Convenience and speed of installation
  • Future-proofing your roof
  • Instant results

The Perfect Example

The perfect example of how the M-Tray® offers the perfect solution for any almost area was a recent installation at the May Fair Hotel, Mayfair, London.

Because the M-Tray® is completely self-contained, we were able to carry them through the hotel on luggage trolleys up to the rooftop balcony without creating any mess with minimal disruption to complete the installation.

This allowed us to transform what was previously a fairly unsightly bitumen rooftop at a Mayfair hotel into a beautiful green space for guests to enjoy.

To find out more about the M-Tray®, please click here to visit the dedicated area of the site or call us at Tel. No. 020 8916 2222.

Green Roof Irrigation – Associated Benefits and Techniques

The truth is that a properly established as well as mature green roof can now be properly and promptly installed easily. This could happen on roofs which are hard to actually access, and it’s done manually without having to go through the mess and the disruption which is associated with the regular and traditional green roof systems.

In any case, there are technologies which are available in order to integrate this overly beneficial approach and deliver the full range of benefits that come with green roofs.

Supplying A Range of Irrigation Systems

Wallbarn can supply a range of irrigation systems for installation with extensive sedum green roofs as well as intensive roof gardens. These range from simple timer-based sprinkler networks to fully automated, web based irrigators, which will feature drought and leak detectors, separate growing zones and control panels.

Now, when it comes to green roof irrigation, you should be aware of the fact that the typical installations wouldn’t actually rely on any kind of additional and artificial irrigation. This is mainly due to the fact that the plants and grass used for the instalment are not that water-dependent, and the occasional rain is going to provide them with enough.

However, in cases of prolonged periods of terribly hot weather or in places in which rains are actually rather rare, the green roof irrigation has to be thoroughly considered. The most appropriate way to handle the issue and the one which is going to provide you with tons of benefits is the installation of a pop-up sprinkler system.

Advantages of This Green Roof Irrigation System

A pop-up sprinkler system is incredibly convenient for a wide range of different reasons. Right off the bat, the watering parts of the system are going to stay hidden within the instalment until the time for watering comes. This is easily programmable through a controlled and unified watering system which is located downstairs, and you could easily adjust it as per the weather requirements.

Furthermore, this is going to spare you all the hassle which is associated with watering the green roof instalment which is without a doubt advantageous.

The most important thing, however, is that a system of the kind is going to provide you with the chance to evenly water the entire instalment without having to do so manually. When you install the sprinklers, you are going to do so in a manner so that they are located perfectly to provide even and gradual distribution of the water. This is going to ensure that all of the parts of your green roof instalment are properly watered during all times.

There is, of course, the possibility for you to go ahead and water it manually but this is associated with a considerable amount of unnecessary hassle that could easily be spared. The sprinkler systems are cheap and easy to install.

To find out more about the M-Tray®, please click here to visit the dedicated area of the site or call us at Tel. No. 020 8916 2222.

Are Blue Roofs Dangerous?

Installation in Gent of the first OASIS blue roof of Belgium by Vegital I.D

Before answering this question, we should first explain what a blue roof actually is.

A blue roof is an evolution of the existing green roof concept with one significant difference. This type of roof has been designed to help store water and in particular, rainfall.

An example of a blue roof

What Are They Used For?

Whilst the goal of standard roofs is to ensure that water drains at the earliest possible stage, a correctly installed blue roof will deliberately retain some or all of the water above the waterproofing membrane. The water can then be deposited through a designated channel, such as a drain outlet to an area that will cause less damage at a later time.

What Are The Risks?

Unlike green roofs which have no major drawbacks, blue roofs do however have a number of associated dangers. These include:

  1. Weight Issues – There is no way to disguise the fact that water is heavy and the build-up of water on a roof can pose structural issues.
  2. Leakage – Blue roofs are installed with a waterproofing membrane but if this becomes damaged and begins to leak, the damage that could be caused by water cascading thorough could be catastrophic.

Can Anything Be Done To Combat These Risks?

We are designing a modular blue roof to help reduce these risks. By ensuring that should any issues arise, only one module rather than the entire roof may need to be replaced, speed and cost issues can be abated.

We can replicate the benefits offered by the M-Tray® with green roofs for blue roofs and by creating a cavity, we can allow the water to easily congregate and be dispersed wherever necessary.

Please Note – Blue roofs are typically only suited to new builds. Unlike green roofs which are particularly well suited to retrofitting thanks to the M-Tray®, this is not advised with blue roofs.

Which Areas Are Suited To Blue Roofs?

There are 4 primary areas where the installation of a blue roof can prove to be beneficial

  1. Storm Water Management– The excess water deposited during storms can play an obvious and significant role in flooding throughout many areas of the world. The installation of a blue roof can play a pivotal role as part of a SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems) at roof level. This will help to reduce the impact of rainwater runoff as the flow can be controlled through specifically designed outlets and redirected to less harmful areas.
  2. Rainwater Storage– With rainwater being precious in many countries, finding a way to store rainwater effectively has taken on greater importance than ever before. The installation of a blue roof to a property can play a key role in the storage of rainwater. The harvested water can also be redistributed for irrigation purposes.
  3. Reduced Energy Costs– Blue roofs are known for their cooling properties and as such, can actually help to reduce the energy bills for the property to which they have been installed.
  4. Cooling and Energy Consumption– There was a study on a cider factory in Frankfurt on the Possman Cider Factory and Storage Facility on a blue roof which was installed in 1990 and this paid for itself in electricity costs for cooling within 3 years. Click here for more on that study.

To find out more about the M-Tray®, please click here to visit the dedicated area of the site or call us at Tel. No. 020 8916 2222.

What Are The Benefits Of Sustainable Building Materials?

Concern for the environment and for sustainability has dramatically increased in recent decades. More and more construction projects are being completed using sustainable building materials. These materials offer a number of advantages, both economic and environmental.

When choosing a building material for a construction project, a number of factors need to be considered when determining how sustainable the material is. These materials need to be harvested from renewable rather than non-renewable resources. The environmental impact of the material chosen must be considered over the whole life-cycle of the project, rather than merely over the short term.

Keeping in Mind Resource Efficiency

Resource efficiency is an important factor to keep in mind. This refers to materials that can be used as efficiently as possible with a minimum of effort. For example, choosing materials that include a sizeable amount of recycled, post-consumer or post-industrial content, makes a project more efficient, as does choosing materials that have been produced locally to reduce transportation costs.

How the building materials are manufactured is also something that needs to be kept in mind. Is the manufacturing process itself sustainable? Was renewable energy used to power the process, and were waste products kept to a minimum? Were steps taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Reusing salvaged building materials from other projects or other buildings is another important strategy for making a construction project more sustainable. This helps to save resources in several ways. First of all, these materials are reused, rather than being disposed of in a landfill.

Second, reusing materials reduces the amount of energy that is needed, since new building materials do not have to be manufactured from scratch. The amount of energy that is required to refurbish these old materials is significantly less than the amount that would be required to manufacture brand-new materials.

Enhancing Sustainability

The overall design of a building should also serve to enhance the sustainability of the materials that are used. Buildings should be designed to be as energy-efficient as possible to avoid wasting excess power on heating, cooling, and lighting. By choosing the right material, architects can dramatically reduce the amount of energy that is required for a building’s operations.

There are many questions that need to be answered when you are considering using sustainable building materials in a construction project. By keeping these principles in mind, you can ensure that your next project is as environmentally friendly as possible.

For more information on the role green roofing systems can play in sustainable buildings, please visit the dedicated section on our website by clicking here or call us on Tel. No. 020 8916 2222.