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Green roofs to transform urban space

by David Masters
April 3, 2008

At a seminar run by the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA), delegates were informed of the benefits of green roofing.

Green roofs not only reduce energy use, but reduce flooding, support biodiversity, and help in the fight against climate change.

Companies that have had green roofs installed report that 25% less energy is used on the floor directly below the roof, as well as lower energy consumption through the building.

Speaking at the seminar, Dusty Gedge, a co-founder of, said that the City Hall in Chicago has found that after a green roof was installed, air conditioning was no longer necessary.

Gedge said: “It takes until about 5pm for the floor under that roof to heat up so it doesn’t have to have air conditioning because at 5pm most people go home.”

However, Gedge was keep to stress that green roofs must not be installed purely for aesthetic effect, but should consider the importance of biodiversity.

According to Steve Wilson, another speaker at the seminar, green roofs are one of the keys to creating sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS).

Wilson said: “Green roofs can help meet all the requirements of SUDS. It will not necessarily do it on its own, but green roofs can be a very important part of an overall sustainable drainage scheme.”

Concerns were raised that green roof development in the UK is being held back because there is no national policy on the matter.

Andrew Jones, the strategy manager for biodiversity in Greater London said: “A barrier that still exists at a national level is there is no national policy framework that encourages the installation of living roofs and walls. There’s not many common standards that exist.”

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