Building a green roof

General, Roofing

One of the most innovative and eco-friendly ways to replace a flat or low-pitched roof is to consider a green roof. These living, plant-based roofs offer a host of benefits and they look great too. Plus you don’t usually need planning permission and can install it yourself if you wish.

Building a green roof

What is a green roof?

A green roof is essentially a living and breathing garden on your roof. It can be comprised of simple mosses or grasses or you can plant a selection of different plants to create something beautiful as well as good for the environment. Usually, they work best on a flat roof, or one where the pitch is low as they are made up of a waterproof layer and membrane, followed by several layers of insulation, drainage and water storage areas. This is topped by soil and then the plants. This can be heavy and could slip on a steep roof.

Building a green roof

Do I need planning permission?

While checking out your green roof idea with your council to check on building regulations and planning is a good idea, replacement and retrofit roofs are usually able to be carried out without any permissions. In fact, councils usually welcome green roof schemes as they are seen as desirable. This may only be a problem if you live in a conservation area or your home is listed.

There are no building regulations relating to green roofs specifically, however, there may be some load issues or fire safety concerns that you might like to have checked out. Filling out a Building Regulation Approval Notice is always a good place to start and your roof will be assessed as required.

At the moment, the UK follows German FLL standards on green roofs as Germany is one of the leaders in this technology, so it is important that your installer understands how these regulations work.

Building a green roof

What are the benefits?

Most crucially, a green roof will replace the grasses, trees and ecology that the house stood on, giving a home to small animals and birds and ensuring that the home itself is not detracting from the overall ecology of the area, any more than it has to. But there are a number of other benefits too:

  • A green roof is beautiful and will soften the look of your home against any backdrop
  • A green roof will absorb CO2, thus making them a great eco-friendly option
  • They are highly heat absorbing and offer good insulation
  • They absorb as much as 70% of the water that falls on them

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