The Many Benefits Of Green Roofs In The City

Installing Green Roofing Has Never Caused Less Disruption

If you are concerned about the impact of your property on the local environment, there are many things that you can do around your home to reduce your carbon footprint and lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

For example, the installation of a green roof on your home offers many environmental benefits, as well as making your home more energy-efficient.

What exactly is a green roof?

Simply put, it involves growing vegetation on the roof of your property, rather than just having shingles or tile. Actually growing plants on your house without damaging the structure or killing the plants requires some effort, but the basic idea is simple.

Once a green roof is in place, you will experience many benefits from its presence. A simple benefit is simply the aesthetic appeal. Having green plants growing on your roof can be a lot more attractive than dull, grey tiles. It certainly will give your home a unique appearance that will make it stand out in contrast to your neighbours.

Waste Reduction

A green roof will also help reduce the amount of waste that is produced and sent to a landfill. Many materials can be recycled and reused in such a roof so that they do not have to simply be disposed of. A green roof also makes your home more energy-efficient so that your heating and cooling system experiences less wear and tear, making it last longer before it needs to be repaired or even replaced.

Rainwater Management

If you live in a rainy area, having a green roof will also help you better manage the water from a storm. These roofs soak up rainwater rather than just letting it run off onto the ground. In the summer, for example, green roofs can absorb as much as three-quarters of the rainfall that lands on them. Even in winter, they can absorb around a third of the precipitation.

Temperature Moderation

On a broader scale, the widespread use of green roofs will help to moderate the temperatures in your city. The urban heat island effect is a phenomenon that causes cities to be significantly warmer than the surrounding countryside. Installing green roofs on homes and other buildings moderates this effect and cools off a city.

As you can see, there are many benefits to green roofs, both for you individually as well as for the wider community. Why not think about having one installed on your home in the near future?

For more on the innovative modular green roof solution available from Wallbarn called the M-Tray®, please click here.

The History of Green Roofs

A close up image of a green roof installation

In recent years, you may have heard the term ‘green roof’ or ‘living roof’ and probably wondered what it refers. Well, a living roof is a roof covered in grasses, flowers, turf, and sometimes even trees and shrubs.

A Storied History

In many parts of the world living room has been part of home building for thousands of years. Societies such as the Babylonians, Norse and even early European pioneers in Canada have used green roofs for thousands of years.

The historical living roofs main purpose was to provide insulation. Modern living roofs, however, provide both insulations as well as a way of building more environmentally friendly homes.

The current version of the living roof has its roots in 1970s Germany. There, architects, there were having trouble creating and maintaining strong roofing against strong wind and rainstorms, the country faced. One of the proposed solutions was the installation of green roofs whereby the plants’ roots and soil would absorb the excess rainwater and protect the roofing foundation.

Widespread Introduction

By the 1980s, the green roofs were particularly widespread in Germany but quite literally unknown in the rest of the world. The rest of the world came to adopt green roofing in the late 1990s because of a rising interest in green architecture. Today many cities all over the world have many great examples of green roofs whose owners are always eager to give tours.

Introducing The Wallbarn M-Tray®

M-Tray® is a ready-grown, fully established sedum, sedum-and-wildflower or wildflower-only green roof loaded into a portable tray, for an easier installation of green roofs.

Our new, improved design for the M-Tray® modular green roof system is a  pre-grown sedum green roof product that is supplied in easy-to-handle plastic tray units.

A fully established, a 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.

All the growing, filtration and drainage elements are included in the system and the shape of the modules means that each one is simply laid onto the deck and clipped to the next module to create one seamless, fully established green roof.

For more on the M-Tray® modular green roof system from Wallbarn, please click here.

 

 

How To Lift Decking Away From Standing Water

With the inclement weather in the UK, along with the increasing amount of decking being installed at poolside areas, the need to ensure it can be lifted away from standing water cannot be ignored.

Wallbarn has taken notice of this and developed a fast, simple and durable system of suspended deck finishing applied to timber as well as paving slabs.

The Perfect Tools!

Most roofs are built-to-falls for drainage purposes. Where the level between the door threshold and the drainage outlet is significant, where the roof falls in more than one direction, where large drops or channels are present, or where there are multiple and complicated changes in the fall and levels across the roof – then the range of universal pedestals available from Wallbarn are the perfect tools.

This is a suspended system – the weight of the slab holds everything in place.

Support Pedestals

Wallbarn’s range of support pedestals designed with a telescopic stem which is wound up and down to achieve a completely flat upper surface. Changes to height can be made whilst the slab is in place. This saves a great deal of time and labour.

The rainwater runs between and under the slabs, so there is no standing water left on the surface. This improves health & safety as it makes the paved area less slippery.

To access our full range of pedestals, please click here.

Green Roof Planning – What Did You Need To Know?

An image of a completed green roof installation

When you start to think about installing a green roof design on to your property, there are a few things which you need to take into account.

What is a Green Roof?

First things first though, do you actually know what a green roof is??

A green roof is really a rooftop garden and can be anything from a two-inch covering of vegetation to a fully-fledged accessible garden with flowers, shrubs and even trees.

The Planning Stage

Thanks to the M-Tray® modular green roofing system, the installation of green roofing systems have never been easier. However, no corners should be cut in the planning stage to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Whenever you are planning the design of your green roof you need to think about a few details including:

  • What type of drainage system will you require? This is incredibly important and something which needs to be well thought out and designed before the work starts. A well designed green roof can be a tremendous asset to a property with terrific insulation properties helping to keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter which in turn helps to reduce heating and cooling bills.
  • What are the goals for your green roof? Is it simply for environmental purposes or do you wish to create a space which you can really enjoy to the full?
  • What visual requirements do you have for your green roof? This is another major consideration to be thought through in the design stages. Green roofs are aesthetically pleasing and can really help to lift a neighbourhood so it is important to think about these issues in the beginning.
  • What is the level of required access? Although all green roofs need to have some access for maintenance purposes some of them really are rooftop gardens and there for the family to enjoy. You need to think about how much access will be needed when you start on your green roof design.
  • What is a load of structure support? Every structure will have the maximum amount of weight it can support so this is extremely important to discover and workaround.
  • What budget do you have? The creation of a green roof is initially more expensive than traditional roofing materials but there are many benefits to make up for it. The savings to the environment and on energy costs can be tremendous in time. The price you pay will largely depend upon the style of green roof you opt for.

After answering all of these questions you will have some idea of the best design for a green roof on your property. They are becoming increasingly popular and can provide a fabulous feature for your property just so long as you have thought things through properly.

For more on our range of green roofing options, please visit the dedicated section on our website by clicking here.

How Important is Effective Foundation Waterproofing?

Drainage Supplies UK

Leaking foundations can potentially be catastrophic and can endanger the entire structure of a property. To help ensure that this never happens to you, Wallbarn supply a range of highly effective foundation waterproofing.

To stop water from entering a foundation, effective foundation waterproofing needs to be seamless with the ability to stretch over cracks and withstand water under hydrostatic pressure caused by heavy rains.

Spray applied polymer-modified asphalt exterior foundation waterproofing stops water on the outside before it can get into a basement.

Seamless Waterproofing

Every new foundation needs to be waterproofed and the application of reliable foundation waterproofing can help to save a world of trouble further down the line. Spray application of seamless waterproofing on the exterior of a foundation turns the interior into a dry basement. Now the basement living area stays dry and free of water. Without foundation waterproofing, water can seep through a foundation wall or through a crack in the foundation.

For years foundations were only damp-proofed, which only stops water vapour and is not a reliable method of stopping water under hydrostatic pressure pushing its way through a damp-proofed foundation. Also, damp-proofing is brittle and cannot bridge cracks in a foundation. Effective foundation waterproofing will stop this happening.

There are 2 basic types of foundation waterproofing & we can help you with both. The first is known as –

External Tanking

This is also known as the “positive side” waterproofing. We can supply you with self-adhesive waterproof membranes, thick film and elastic liquid membranes, mineral sealing slurries, drainage and protection sheets and our high tech gel curtain system for external waterproofing from the inside.

Internal Tanking

This is also known as the “negative side” waterproofing. We can supply you with the materials needed for high-performance cementitious sealing slurries for damp and actively leaking surfaces, mineral water plugs for instantly sealing in-rushes of water, rapid setting repair mortars.

For more information regarding Wallbarn’s range of effective foundation waterproofing please don’t hesitate to contact us on Tel. No. 0208 916 2222

 

Green Spaces Matter – Perhaps More Now Than Ever

A close up image of the sedum used in the M-Tray

Due to the continuous rise of the population in many major cities, the amount of untouched vegetation and green spaces is under threat and this the subsequent decline in plant life is turning up the heat.

With air quality suffering from the effects of urban heat and pollution, physical and mental health are now being impacted.

However, the good news is that the tide may be beginning to turn in a positive way once more. Many new structures and even some old ones are now being designed to feature green roofs, walls and sky gardens.

Beyond aesthetics, these elements slowly bring back Mother Nature into our cities and offer a variety of benefits.

  • Improving the local environment by providing wildlife habitats
  • Absorbing CO2, pollution and particulates from the atmosphere
  • Improving sound and vibration insulation
  • Improving thermal insulation
  • Reducing the amount and speed of rainwater run-off by around 50% and forming part of a SUDS design
  • Reducing the “heat island” effect in built-up areas and helping to improve air quality and environment

Protecting the structure and waterproofing membrane from:

    • UV light and heat from the sun
    • Impact and abrasion
    • Environmental elements including extremes of temperature
    • Plant and bird infestation
    • Ballasting inverted waterproofing systems

Optimising the structural footprint by:

    • Increasing space – providing new and attractive natural amenity areas
    • Adding floor space in often high-density developments
    • Adding focal points
    • Decreasing energy costs
    • Increasing the value of the development

Wallbarn can advise and assist on all aspects of scoping, installing and maintaining your green roof project. You can find more information via the dedicated area of our website by clicking here.

Just pick up the phone, ask a question using the live chat facility on this site or send us an email at info@wallbarn.com and we’ll get back to you next working day at the latest.

 

The Link Between Biodiversity & Mental Health

Fertiliser added to a green roof

It has been widely accepted for some time now that the addition of a natural landscape to an urban area can lift moods and make us generally feel better.

Mental Health Statistics: UK and Worldwide

With a recent study by the UK Mental Health Foundation highlighting just how serious a problem this is becoming, finding an effective method of combatting this has never been more important.

  • mental health is the main cause of overall disease burden and the primary cause of disability globally, resulting in more than 40m person-years of disability annually in 20–29-year-olds per year around the world
  • 1 in 6 people in the UK experiences a common mental health problem every week
  • anxiety and depression is the cause of 20% of days lost from work each year in the UK.

However, despite our increasingly urbanised, high-density and the high-pressure world, there is growing evidence that a proven way to help reduce stress levels and improve mental health may be available to us in the form of green roofs.

Losing contact with the outdoors

Losing contact with the outdoors has therefore become commonplace over the last century as a result of living in modern spaces. Spending more time indoors, being glued to screens and sedentary lifestyles have contributed to this disengagement with nature.

As of 2018, 55 per cent of the global population was inhabiting urban spaces across the world, according to a report by the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Projections for the year 2050 estimated that 2.5 billion people in the world or 68 per cent of the world’s population will occupy urban areas.

While natural spaces continue to decrease within cities, there is an urgent need to address the impact of losing contact with nature on mental health. In a reflective piece for The Conversation, Dr. Zoe Myers, author of “Wildness and Wellbeing: Nature, Neuroscience, and Urban Design,” suggested building greener neighbourhoods through constructing small biodiverse patches, as opposed to long green corridors with logistical challenges.

“If the evidence shows that nature contact helps to buffer against negative impacts from other environmental predictors of health, then access to these landscapes can be considered a matter of environmental justice,” Greg Bratman, lead author of a study published in the journal of Science Advances in 2019, said.

For more on this story, please click here to visit the Medical Daily website.

How can green roofs help?

Green roofs, whether retrofits or installed onto new builds, already offer a variety of environmental and financial benefits. Social benefits can now be added to the list.

A Texan study of post-surgery recovery in hospitals has even demonstrated that recovery was quicker and with less chance of relapse if patients could look out onto a green space. A number of American hospitals have subsequently been redesigned to bring these benefits to patients and have been rewarded with greater patient ‘through-put’.

Please click here for more information on this study.

Additional benefits include:

  • Attenuating stormwater run-off
  • Improve air quality
  • Mitigate the urban heat island
  • Improve biodiversity
  • Enhance thermal performance

Please Note – Along with offering environmental and social benefits, proximity to green spaces and plants has also been demonstrated to increase productivity in the workplace.

For more on the M-Tray®, Wallbarn’s unique modular green roof, please click here.

Exploring London’s Green Infrastructure

London Green Roof Plan

Last year, the Mayor of London launched a series of maps and tools designed to help individuals understand, explore and improve London’s green infrastructure and urban resilience.

The maps available on their website provide baselines designed to monitor progress against London Environment Strategy targetting and data that provide context for decisions about protecting, improving or creating green infrastructure.

They have also combined various datasets to create an interactive map that can be used to inform these decisions.

The guide below lists a variety of tools and maps that are included in this innovative and information-rich new website.

What does the map show?

This web-map is a new tool to help London’s decision-makers identify where green infrastructure improvements and investments might be best targeted, and what kind of interventions might be most useful for the needs of a specific area.

The interactive map shows:

  • where there is the greatest need for new or improved green infrastructure that can improve the environmental and social challenges that we have identified (such as flooding or poor health)
  • other environmental and social data that provide useful context for making decisions about London’s green infrastructure (e.g. demographic information)

Why was the map created?

This interactive map contributes to an evidence base that helps to strengthen the case for investment in green infrastructure. It does this by providing spatial information that can be analysed to inform decisions about the type and scale of green infrastructure that might work best at different locations.

See the map

View the Green Infrastructure Focus Map. You can find more information on the London Datastore.

Green infrastructure focus map
Other maps include:
  • The green infrastructure focus map
  • Green cover map
  • Tree canopy cover map
  • Street treemap
  • Sustainable drainage system case study map
  • Green roofs map
  • Urban heat island map
  • Greenness index
  • Natural capital borough map

FOr more information and to check out these maps, please click here.

Instant & Sustainable Green Roofs

An image of a green roof on top of a building

M-Tray® modular sedum solution from Wallbarn provides an instant and sustainable green roof

Construction of green roofs is often a problem for installers who do not have specific landscaping skills. Rolling out the correct drainage and filtration layers, loose substrate and sedum blankets is a difficult process in many cases.

The substrates used are often unsuitable for growing plants and can contain contaminants, affecting drainage systems and risking damage to roof membranes. Imported sedum blankets can also risk contaminating native plant species.

All the necessary substrate, drainage and filtration elements are correctly measured and pre-loaded into the specially designed plastic module. Sedum plants are pre-grown and fully established and everything is contained. There is no mess and nothing spills out.

Instant & Sustainable Green Roofs

Full Established & Mature Plants

The plants are fully established and mature. Wallbarn grows the trays from seed and cuttings in a dedicated nursery, ensuring strong root growth and robust plants which will not be damaged in the way rolled up sedum blankets are, with less risk of dieback and shock after installation.

Easy Installation

Each module can be carried by hand. Just place them down and clip together. The joints will become invisible to form a seamless, fully established green roof. 

M-Tray® truly is an instant green roof.

M-Tray® is loaded with a mixture of sedum species designed to give comprehensive cover, a diverse mixture of textures and colours, and flowering species throughout the summer which will attract butterflies and bees.

M-Tray® is designed and manufactured in Britain!

 

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What Are Wildflower Green Roofs

An image of a wildflower green roof

There is a lot of chatter about wildflower green roofs but this is an area in which little information is actually known.

Wildflower green roofs, also known as biodiverse green roofs are supposed to contain a mixture of native flower species to attract native insects and birds. However, if you were to prepare a green roof substrate of bare earth and introduce a few native flowers after a period of time the roof will become overrun with grass and very invasive weeds such as goat willow, bindweed and nettles. The result after time will be unsightly and potentially dangerous for the membrane beneath.

Choosing The Correct Sedum

Many “wildflowers” are either annual or biennial; or have such large root structures that they are unsuitable for green roofs.

What to do? Wallbarn is offering a solution by using the standard sedum M-Tray® green roofs as a basis for our green roof and adding wildflower seeds. Our sedum mix, which is based on the Jellito “Northern European and English

Mix” seed mix which that company supplies, contains native sedum species and those deemed suitable for the English climate. Many of these sedums are flowering, have different leaf structures and textures, and grow and retreat throughout the year.

Sedum is not just a green carpet. It has many different varieties and if it is planted up in the right manner, can produce an extremely complicated and attractive garden.

The Correct Way To Introduce The Wildflower Seed Mix

In order to get more wildflowers into the system, Wallbarn is broadcasting the sedum trays with a wildflower seed mix at the point of harvesting and packing.

If we planted up wildflower trays on the farm, the flowers would be crushed upon packing and would be dead by the time they were delivered. Therefore, the tray units will look like regular sedum trays when they are delivered. The seeds will start to germinate immediately and will start to appear as flowers within 3 weeks of delivery and watering (we recommend that the trays are watered once installed).

This seed mix is designed to attract bees and butterflies, so will increase the amount of nature on the roof.

Wildflower Green Roofs Need To Be Maintained

There are certain things to consider: these flowers are chiefly annuals, so will die off at the end of the growing season.

Therefore, in order to have flowers the next year, the roof will need to be reseeded. Either users can harvest the seeds in this season’s crop to sow the next year, or purchase another seed mix (available from Wallbarn) the next spring. Also, these wildflowers can grow very high, up to 80cm and will have much more fibrous structures than sedum (which is succulent) so the dead stalks and other vegetation will turn not rot but remain on the roof after the flowers have died off.

This makes the roof look unsightly and is also a potential fire risk, so these dead stalks should be removed every autumn. Clients should bear this additional maintenance in mind when choosing wildflower – if the roof is inaccessible this can prove a major problem. The additional costs of more maintenance should also be factored.

Need More Information?

If you would like to talk to us to discuss our green roof solutions, please contact us today on 0208 916 2222 or email sales@wallbarn.com.

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