Should The Majority Of Manchester’s Roofs Go Green?

The popularity of commercial green roofs has risen significantly in the UK over the last few years. With many commercial roofing companies installing more eco friendly roofing systems than ever before, especially in London City Centre.

After the flooding in recent years and having gone through one of the hottest summers in recent memory, in stands to reason that Manchester should now be considering investing more in this innovative, nature-friendly option for commercial roofing and industrial roofing systems.

What exactly is a green roof?

A green roof is essentially a way to introduce more nature into a distinctly urban environment. It’s a living installation, partially or totally covered with plants and growing entities, which roofing contractors can install over a waterproof membrane.

This type of roofing system can also include drainage and irrigation systems, and its components can provide a wealth of benefits to both a commercial roofing or industrial roofing system, as well as to the surrounding environment. Green roofs have slowly become part of the mainstream building technology thanks to these well publicised benefits.

What are the benefits?

First and foremost the main benefit to installing a green roof is associated with BREEAM ratings,  the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method. This is used to accurately assess the environmental performance of a building. There are also numerous other benefits to getting roofing contractors to install a green roof system, including:

  • Better absorption of carbon dioxide and other pollutants in the smoggy city centres.
  • Increased protection for the waterproof layer of a roof, from UV radiation, atmospheric pollutants and weather conditions.
  • A reduction of rainwater run-off through the absorption of moisture in plants, which will help further reduce the risk of flooding in densely populated, low-level areas.
  • Compensation for the loss of green space in many city environments.

These benefits and more can greatly enhance any commercial roofing or industrial roofing system, not to mention substantially increase its overall lifespan. Plus, if solar panels have already been fitted to the roof, then the flora from a green roof will ensure that they don’t overheat, therefore increasing their energy efficiency.

Time for Manchester to follow the green roof trend

Despite the rise in popularity and the clear benefits involved with the UK green roof industry, over 42% of green roofs are still restricted to Greater London. This can be partly attributed to the London Plan, which has placed an expectation on many developments to include green roofs. And with climate change inevitable, other cities like Manchester will have to soon follow suit, especially if they want to adapt, become more permeable, and more bio-diverse.

Green roofs may soon become a requirement in the planning process of new developments, meaning they would be a necessity rather than an aspiration. More and more commercial roofing companies in Manchester, the North West and throughout the UK could soon be installing green roofs as a priority for any brand new builds. However, incentivising this for new developments is only tackling part of the problem. Manchester may have to take the lead and start retrofitting more green roofs to existing buildings as well.

Cities around the world have started introducing incentive programmes and passing legislation to encourage green roof installation. Amsterdam offers subsidies to owners to install green roofs, and New York provides a one-year tax abatement for green roof installation, which covers at least 50% of the roof. Even compared to London, Manchester has very few examples of green roofs being retrofitted to existing buildings, aside from a small number of high-profile exceptions, such as the Town Hall.

Perhaps it’s time for Manchester to address its green roof deficiency, especially now that the roofscape of the city is more visible than ever, as the skyline grows taller. Commercial roofing and industrial roofing systems in cities around the world are reaping the benefits of going green, so it makes sense for Manchester to start investing too.

Are you looking to transform your commercial or industrial building with a green roof construction?

Then take advantage of our award-winning roofing contractors in Manchester and the North West – contact us today to find out how we can help.