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Re-greening by congested A4 in London

Re-greening by congested A4 in London

The re-greening of a 1940s, West London, luxury apartment block refurbishment continued with two more garage roofs completed in quick time by The Urban Greening Company. 

Re-greening by congested A4 in London

finished re-greening on the garage roof

The 25 sq.m of sedum roof, added to a 30 sq.m. installation earlier in the year. They will help improve the water attenuation within the heavily populated and traffic congested area of Barons Court.

The project is a continuing development of our working relationship with Mike Barrett of Manorfield UK roofing. Underlining the benefit of independent, professional waterproofers working with like-minded professional green roofers.  

 

Re-greening by congested A4 in London

another angle of the completed green roof

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Passivhaus development in Colchester

Passivhaus development in Colchester

TUGC has just completed the installation of plug planted green roofs across three blocks of quality passivhaus dwellings in Colchester, Essex. Providing 23 new homes, a mixture of one and two bed flats and 17 houses.

 

Passivhaus development in Colchester

Preparing the green roofs for green roofs for  installation.

We installed 800 sq.m. of green space running across the three buildings. Including an 80-120 mm build-up of substrate and 10,000 plug plants to offer broad biodiversity, as well as helping to provide sustainable drainage (SuDs).

 

Green roof base layers are being set out.

The Jerram Falkus construction includes the refurbishment of a listed Mill. This will become a shared space for social, domestic activities, and community events. The design team is led by Anne Thorne, an award winning eco-architect.

 

Passivhaus development in Colchester

Substrate installed and the roof is ready for planting.

The buildings are designed and built to Passivhaus standards to achieve exceptionally low running costs, sustainable comfort and health.

 

Passivhaus development in Colchester

Some of the 10,000 plug plants sitting waiting to be planted to complete the job.

 

Balham gains benefits of green roof

Balham gains benefits of green roof

The TUGC boys have been working through all weathers to complete a 180 sq.m. green roof in Balham, South West London this summer.

The sedum roof is situated on a new social housing block. This will help attenuate water in an area of constant development in London.

Balham gains benefits of green roof

Substrate awaiting sedum

The green roof sits on a Bauder roof which was installed by Happe Roofing. The roof sits alongside solar panels on a new social housing apartment block.

 

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Avoid green roof remedial work

Avoid green roof remedial work

Part of our summer work has been spent carrying out green roof remedial works on two large unmaintained roofs. One a 2,000 sq.m. roof on a school in Anglesey. The other being a lovely, 300 sq.m. sloping roof on a church in Reigate. Both needed replacement sedum across areas of the roof and a heavy dose of organic fertiliser to give them a chance of recovery. We also installed an irrigation system on the Reigate church to help the sedum cope with the gradient of the roof.

Avoid green roof remedial work  Avoid green roof remedial work

Repairing Large greenroof Anglesey

Access was an issue at both sites with no design consideration for roof maintenance, but use of scaffolding towers helped reduce the pain, although seagulls’ nesting at Anglesey created a challenge!

Both sites provide a clear example of the need for regular maintenance. Therefore helping green roofs fulfil the purpose of sustainable urban drainage (suds) and biodiversity in urban environments as well as ensuring they provide a point of beauty for locals.

Happy clients Equals More Work for Roofers 

Happy clients = more profit for roofers 
The late spring sunshine has seen a surge in green roof enquiries and a demand for quick turn round installations resulting in happy clients. The Urban Greening Company have been able to deliver in order to keep our growing list of waterproofing customers and their clients happy.
Happy clients = more profit for roofers 

Barons Court redevelopment greenroof

 

                        Happy clients = more profit for roofers 

Green roof adds instant improvement

TUGC: green roof specialists working together with waterproofers

Mike Barrett, MD of Manorfield UK roofing is the latest customer to benefit from our efficient and professional service. The installation of a sedum roof on a luxury apartment block refurbishment in west London. 

“We had short notice on this job but the TUGC lads came up trumps, completing the installation in a day leaving me with a very happy client who is already talking about more projects as a result of the quality of the work done,” said Mike. 

Happy clients = more profit for roofers 

Clean roof with edge installed

Happy clients = more profit for roofers 

The greenroof helps finish off the refurb

The next phase is to be completed in the near future.

Green Roof brings breath of fresh air to Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre

Green Roof brings breath of fresh air to Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre

The installation last year of a unique green roof brings breath of fresh air to Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre and is now bearing fruit in an area surrounded by one of London’s busiest road and rail networks.

Following a routine maintenance visit this summer by The Urban Greening Company (TUGC), who installed the roof last year, they felt compelled to share the results.

When TUGC took the project on the challenge was to convert an inert stone ballast roof in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea into a wildlife area to provide much needed green space on a roof sandwiched between the busy A40 flyover and the Great Western Mainline rail route to Paddington.

The next challenge was how to get the 110 sq.m of green roof onto the top of a four storey building quickly, economically and without disrupting the day-to-day activities of a busy community centre. Combined with this, a lightweight solution was critical to ensure there were no weight issues.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Groundwork London, commissioned Dusty Gedge of Green Inrastructure Consultancy Ltd to design a scheme.

     Green Roof brings breath of fresh air to Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre     Green Roof brings breath of fresh air to Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre

The clear solution was a portable green roof – Aquaten LiteTM. The cushion like structure containing a mix of seed, substrate, recycled natural fibres and Aquaten’s unique water absorbent fabric weighs 9kg, which enabled a team to install the roof in less than a day without disturbing the natural order at the centre. The Aquaten LiteTM  locks in rainfall and moisture to create positive growing conditions for the vegetation to develop.

As Mike Cottage of TUGC pointed out, “We’ve converted an ugly river stone area into a natural habitat and when we revisited the roof this summer the transformation was spectacular; the variety of species and plant growth were phenomenal as the simple video will show.” 

Furthermore, the roof saw the first use of a fabric which absorbs and neutralises pollutants from the atmosphere – Aquaten CleanAirTM – a much needed boost in a congested area.

Bulent Kazim, project manager for The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea said: “We are trying to create wildlife habitats across the borough as well as sustainable urban drainage to combat the effects of urbanisation and the living roof at the Centre qualifies on both of those counts.”

Abdurahaman Sayed CEO at the Centre commented “We had been looking at ways to create a more user friendly habitat on the roof of the centre and the Aquaten solution can now be seen to be reaping rewards.”

City flooding reduced by green roofs

City flooding reduced by green roofs

Spring and summer 2017 have been among the wettest on record in eastern North America. And the world is watching Houston this week, where the remains of Hurricane Harvey have caused devastating flooding.

Rainfall amounts in the spring broke records in places like Toronto, where 44.6 millimetres of rain fell in 24 hours. The downpours earlier this spring caused the stormwater infrastructure in Canada’s biggest city to overflow, leading to flooding of busy downtown streets.

Urbanization in many North American cities has led to a rapid loss of permeable surfaces where water can freely drain. Coupled with the growing downtown core population in cities Toronto, this means that the stormwater and sewer systems in place must manage more water than in previous decades.

Furthermore, global temperature increases have been linked to the rise in extreme weather events worldwide, a trend that could worsen if global warming is not brought under control.

Many cities are ill-equipped to deal with these unprecedented amounts of precipitation and flooding due to their insufficient and outdated stormwater infrastructure.City flooding reduced by green roofs

With rainfall amounts on the rise globally, it’s a crucial time to examine how cities can retrofit their existing building infrastructure to alleviate flooding and deal with stormwater in a more sustainable manner.

Green infrastructure technologies, such as permeable pavements, bioswales, cisterns and green roofs, are now commonly recommended to confront extreme weather events.

Green roofs for stormwater management

Green roofs are a green infrastructure (GI) option that can be applied to virtually any rooftop given weight load capacity. The benefits of green roofs extend far beyond their obvious aesthetic appeal and can help with issues such as flooding.

A study done by University of Toronto civil engineer Jenny Hill and co-researchers at the school’s Green Roof Innovation Testing Lab (GRIT Lab) showed that green roofs have the capacity to capture an average of 70 per cent of rainfall over a given time, relieving underground stormwater systems and releasing the rain water back into the atmosphere.

City flooding reduced by green roofs
University of Toronto’s GRIT Lab

The study examined four green roof design variables that represent the most common industry practices: Planting type (succulents or grasses and herbaceous flowering plants), soil substitute (mineral, wood compost), planting depth (10 centimetres or 15 centimetres) and irrigation schedule (none, daily or sensor-activated), and how these four factors influenced water capture.

The watering schedule was shown to have the greatest effect, with retention capacity increasing from 50 per cent with daily irrigation to 70 per cent with sensor-activated or no irrigation. In other words, roofs that have not been watered, or are only watered when their soil reaches a predetermined moisture level, have a greater capacity to absorb stormwater.

Furthermore, the study calculated a new peak runoff coefficient — a constant value used to calculate the capacity of a green roof to hold water — for green roofs to be around 0.1-0.15, an 85 to 90 per cent reduction compared to an impermeable surface.

Designers and engineers routinely use a figure of 0.5 (50 per cent reduction) to assess green roof performance. This discrepancy between industry practice and regional evidence-based findings highlights the need for further research.

City flooding reduced by green roofs
Rooftop succulents and flowering plants on the GRIT lab’s green roof. University of Toronto’s GRIT Lab

The second most significant variable for stormwater retention was the soil substitute. The most widely used green roof planting material is based on guidelines from the German Landscape Research, Development and Construction Society (FLL).

The FLL recommended a mineral aggregate because it’s thought to be longer-lasting and hardier than biological soil substitutes. But this recommendation has been challenged by research today.

Hill and her team compared the mineral growing material to wood compost. The compost outperformed the mineral by 10 per cent (70 per cent versus 60 per cent rainfall retained) in beds with no irrigation, and had minimal compression or break-down over time.

Another key finding in Hill’s study demonstrated that when already damp, either from watering or rain, the planting material had the biggest influence on water retention. The compost outperformed the mineral soil substitute by as much as three times when fully saturated (83 per cent rainfall retained versus 29 per cent).

Compost a better soil substitute

That means that the compost not only performed better in every season, but it performed a great deal better in rainy seasons and during back-to-back storms.

City flooding reduced by green roofs
A bee hovers around a flowering plant at the U of T’s GRIT Lab rooftop garden. U of T GRIT Lab

One of the constraints for green roof construction is weight loading, particularly in buildings that were not originally constructed to accommodate the weight of a saturated green roof. Thus, a 10 centimetre planting depth as opposed to 15 would mean more roofs could be eligible for retrofit.

Nonetheless, even though a biodiverse plant palette including grasses and herbaceous plants would be a more aesthetically and ecologically rich green roof option, those plants do require watering in order to survive in cities like Toronto. Since irrigation has a negative effect on stormwater retention, green roof designers can consider drought-resistant succulent plants like sedum.

However, when herbaceous plants are planted in compost rather than mineral planting materials, the decrease in stormwater retention capacity could be prevented.

On-demand irrigation activated by a soil moisture sensor can balance water management with water availability for plant growth. Furthermore, compost weighs significantly less than mineral planting material, opening up more potential for retrofits.

And so Hill and her team’s research into four distinct green roof variables allows us to understand the benefits and limitations of each, and how they can be combined.

Green roofs: Optimal green infrastructure

In our opinion as researchers at the GRIT Lab, green roofs are the optimal urban green infrastructure due to their multi-functionality: They can be retrofitted onto existing buildings, they provide biodiverse space for urban wildlife and they can be enriching public spaces for city-dwellers to enjoy. Additionally, green roofs can make previously inhospitable places pleasant, and provide new outdoor space for office workers.

As storm events and flooding becomes more frequent and severe for municipalities, cities with aging stormwater infrastructure are struggling to find ways to alleviate the impact. Green roofs can be a part of this solution, but all green roofs are not created equal. The proper research and knowledge is essential.

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an article first published on Aug. 21, 2017.

(Article courtesy of www.theconversation.com)