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Green Roofs for Sustainability

Cities are becoming increasingly enthusiastic about ensuring green spaces and vegetation are incorporated into urban areas. We’re beginning to see sustainable rooftops sprouting up here and there, and it seems to be a trend adopted by large and small businesses alike. Roofing contractors in London are rising to the challenge, and if this is your intention for your own development project, good roofing companies in London will be able to bring useful suggestions to the table.


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Rooftop planters became an increasingly common feature as long as two decades ago, which then led to certain luxury hotels adding green walls to their premises as a feature. Nowadays, you are ever more likely to see entire blocks within the urban environment being transformed with these types of ambitious planting projects.

Prominent development schemes for the Heatherwick Studio and BIG’s new HQ for Google located at King’s Cross are planning to include a grass-laden plateau and two tree walkways on its roof, along with a garden and a form of headland. A 26-storey skyscraper being built by Eric Parry in the City of London will feature a green wall covering one entire side, while 70 Gracechurch Street, being developed by KPF, will incorporate planted terraces on 25 storeys or more.

The main driving force behind these new designs in buildings and their rooftops is the ever-growing demand for luxury-themed, green workplaces. Before COVID-19 even hit our shores, big companies had been looking for office buildings that offered something a bit more special than just spaces for desks and a place to meet and greet clients.

Another reason driving demand for the services of green roof contractors in London is a renewed focus on office wellness. But more than this, studies have shown that plants have the power to reduce the temperature in urban areas. What’s more, they can make buildings more habitable by reducing noise, filtering the air, and providing far more attractive spaces for working. They also help contribute to the biodiversity here in the United Kingdom.

A Climate Change Committee report in the summer of last year called on the Government to start addressing the problem of heat-related deaths in homes, particularly by introducing greater levels of shading and natural green cover in all UK cities.

Another report published by the RSPB and WWF flagged up the potential of green roofs and green walls to play a critical role in reducing flooding, cooling buildings, filtering pollution in the air, and improving biodiversity in urban areas.

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    In the UK, the trend toward greener roofs started in the 2000s in the City of London. Since this revolution began, more than 5.8m2 of green roof has been created per inhabitant of the Square Mile. Roofing contractors in London are increasingly adding these types of services to their menu so that more buildings, inhabitants, and others in the vicinity can experience the benefits.

    Green walls started to become a feature around ten years later when they were initially used as symbols of luxury and showpieces in shopping centres and high-end offices. The trend emerged in continental Europe, with Germany, for instance, starting to explore contemporary roof gardens and walls clad with greenery.

    Now, what were once seen as luxury additions to walls of high-end buildings are now being more widely adopted by planners and building owners looking for ways to improve their spaces.

    According to climate experts, plants are the key to fighting the effects of climate change and global warming. They also make cities a lot more pleasant to live in. The UK Green Building Council has called for all new buildings and infrastructure to have ‘nature-based’ solutions by the year 2030 to combat the effects of cities heating up as the years go by.

    Plants absorb heat and cool down the air. Recent studies show that green walls can be up to 32°C cooler than conventional walls, reducing the temperature of the air in the vicinity by 4°C. Trees can absorb around 5.5kg of carbon dioxide per year, while a square metre of green wall can absorb up to 2kg of CO2 per year. Vegetation also removes harmful toxins in the air, like nitrogen dioxide.

    Urban greening is also key to making the city ecosystem more diverse. Biodiversity is crucial in fighting climate change, keeping ecosystems more resilient, and helping protect the 15 per cent of UK species that are currently under threat of extinction.

    As a small example of what can be achieved, recently, a small-flowered tongue orchid that was thought to be extinct in the UK was discovered growing on the roof garden of an investment bank in the City of London. The garden manager believes that the orchid seeds reached the bank after flying on the wind all the way from mainland Europe.

    Greenscapes also make a city look more attractive and easier to live in. People have a natural connection to organic spaces and are known to be happier when surrounded by greenery. Companies planning for greener cities say it’s not just the effects of climate change they are hoping to combat. They’re also aiming to prevent people from having to live their lives in soulless buildings.

    Greenery doesn’t just help break up the monotony of endless tall buildings. Studies have also shown the extent to which the addition of nature to an urban environment can improve mental health, enhance the ability to concentrate, and promote greater creativity.

    Developers are being urged to embrace the power of nature in their projects and to allot a generous proportion of their budget to incorporating green features in their plans because they do make a valuable contribution to a city and lead to long-lasting public enrichment.

    There are mainly two types of greenery commonly incorporated into building developments: horizontal planting, which includes roof gardens and planted terraces; and green walls, which incorporate shrubs, flowers, and grass along with vertical soil or a hydroponic system.

    Rooftop forests have a greater positive impact on air quality and carbon capture than walls simply because of their sheer size. But that doesn’t mean that one should be prioritised over the other.

    Green walls and roofing are both part of the sustainable tool kit, but they are not the only solution. Everyone should still play their part in making the world a greener and cleaner place to live in.

    Your Roofing Partner

    If you are considering replacing your roofing with something that would eventually accommodate green solutions or indeed have any sort of roofing project in mind, contact us for high-quality services.

    Environ Roofing Company London is a roofing company in London with an impressive track record in providing quality services for all our clients. Our team members collectively have decades of experience, and we’ve invested in state-of-the-art equipment and materials, so every roofing project we undertake is carried out to the highest of standards with the minimum of disruption possible. We offer roofing repairs, maintenance, installation, and replacement for buildings of all types, both residential and commercial.

    If you have questions or would like more information about our roofing services, contact us today. You can also visit our homepage at environroofingservices.co.uk to learn more.

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