Besides looking fantastic, a living green roof is great for wildlife, proven to lower the carbon footprint of a building and preserves the waterproofing. It’s not difficult to create a living green roof so why should you include a green roof in your new building? As well as all of the environmental and aesthetic benefits of doing so, it might actually make it a lot easier to gain planning permission.

Green roofs and planning permission

In most cases in the UK where green roofs are installed on existing buildings, planning permission is not required. They can be easy to build, maintain and the end result is often stunning – so there are plenty of reasons to create your own. It is, however, advisable when making any kind of alteration to a property to contact your local planning department before building.

BREEAM (the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method) is a method used to assess a development or building’s sustainability with regard to a series of ten different categories such as energy and ecology.

BREEAM categories and weightings.  Green roofing falls under water, energy, health and wellbeing, ecology and materials.
photo credit http://www.pmcarchitects.com/blog/breeam/

Buildings are evaluated before and after construction and interim BREEAM certificates, which judge a building in the design stage, can be used by planning authorities when deciding whether or not to give a building approval. It is the most commonly recognised and comprehensive measure of assessing a building’s environmental construction.

How do green roofs improve BREEAM scores?

Green roofs can be used to improve a building’s BREEAM score in a number of ways. The exact number of credits available depends on the location of building and the application of the green roof (whether for energy efficiency, ecology &c.).

The inclusion of a building material such as EnviroMat, with its variety of plant species, mitigates the ecological impact of construction on the site chosen for building. Enviromat is, of course, also a far greener (literally!) choice of building material for roofs, reducing the environmental impact of the construction process.

Additionally, waste Enviromat avoids landfill and green roofs and walls of all descriptions insulate against sound; both of which are considerations during BREEAM accreditation.

BREEAM schemes on existing buildings

As well as signing off new buildings, existing buildings can also receive BREEAM assessment with regard to extensions and refits through the BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit-Out scheme.

This has been created in response to new minimum Energy Performance Certificate requirements coming into force in the coming years and the fact that despite the number of refurbishments exceeds new-builds, few were applying for traditional BREEAM certification because of the inherent inefficiency of some old buildings.

The scheme specifically rewards retrofits of green roofs and walls because of their ability to insulate buildings regardless of age in an environmentally friendly fashion. In this way, green roofs assist in BREEAM accreditation for older buildings as well as helping improve a building’s EPC rating.

Designing a green roof for maximum efficiency

Enviromat have created a white paper on designing and creating sustainable green roofs.  Download it for free here.