The Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) announced last week (March 12) it has teamed up with green roof promoters to deliver the project intended to help schools better understand the benefits of vegetated roofs.

CIRIA said in a statement: “Designers, constructors, local education authorities, head teachers, governing bodies and parent associations’ all need to consider the value that a green roof can provide over the life of the school or educational building.

“To ensure this can happen, decision makers responsible for specification and design need to have an improved understanding of how green roofs can contribute to a buildings’ sustainability credentials and how it can become central to a school’s core activities and curriculum.

“This project delivered in partnership with will produce guidance on using green roofs in schools. It will link their specification and design with curriculum requirements at various stages in the education system, as well supporting their use.”, an independent green roof information resource, says the UK lags behind other countries in their installation and blames a “conservative building and planning culture”.

It points to Germany where it says more than 30 million square meters of green roofs have been put on buildings since 2000 fuelling a £39 million industry. It adds that many other countries are following suit.

Green roofs are waterproofed roofs covered with vegetation and soil and on which plants can be grown.

Benefits of vegetated roofs, also known as eco-roofs or roof gardens, include sustainable drainage due to less run off, better heat and sound insulation and greater biodiversity in built up areas as they provide valuable habitat for plants, birds and insects, supporters say.

They can also help filter pollutants and heavy metals out of the air and water.

Highlighting “renewed interest” in green roofs, says: “In the UK, the increased pressures on urban land and increased density levels are likely to have adverse impacts on drainage, water abstraction, biodiversity, accessible green space, and local climate conditions.

“A green roof system can play a positive role in mitigating these impacts and contributing towards an increase in quality of the urban environment.”

David Gibbs

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