HOW ABOUT AN ECOROOF?
“Flat roofs and Britain don’t mix”, goes the dictum. Black, felt roofs suffer so much stress from expansion and contraction during hot and cold spells that they become stressed out after around ten years or so resulting in a call for maintenance as rainwater seeps through.
Yet, there are flat roofs in Germany, a country with similar climactic conditions that have lasted between 30 and 50 years. Their secret has been the addition of a superficial green layer. The benefits are wider than lower maintenance costs: moderation of internal temperatures (lower fuel bills for winter heating and summer air conditioning), ambient temperature controls, less water-run-off, cleaner water run-off, support for birds and a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.
The modern concept is extensive green roof to distinguish it from an intensive green roof, which is a deep. An example of an intensive green roof several FEET THICK can be found on the top of Rockefeller Center.
Following new research in the USA(Penn State University's Center for Green Roof Research) and Germany, the plant of choice for such green roofs is the sedum family of cacti that are “rottweiler” tough. Establishing a green surface is comparatively cheap, around £2-3 per square foot, rising slightly if the building is greater than three storeys high because of the costs associated with lifting the materials. Irrigation of sedums is unnecessary, but a little t.l.c. is required during their first summer to establish viable root systems. There is no need for paving
walkways, these plants will forgive those who walk across them with a watering can especially in any dry spell that lasts over one month.
HOW DO ECOROOFS
WORK? They insulate the felt from large temperature fluctuations and remove entirely molecular degradation caused by the absorption of disruptive ultra violet radiation. They act as a water dam.
WIDER BENEFITS? Storm run-off from the ever increasing areas that are built-up or concreted is of concern to those who provide public drains. Green roofs absorb 50% of the rain that falls on them and the run-off time for the other 50% is slowed down. Adopted across a town or city, green roofs can reduce the need for expensive storm drain infrastructure improvements caused by the extra storms that accompany global warming. Wide adoption across a locality should provide a heat sink and lessen the issue of “hot cities”. Storm water hoses oil, petroleum and other toxic chemicals as it rushes across asphalt and these contaminants finish up in groundwater. Avoiding storm water surges through ecoroofs protects precious groundwater.
It is impossible to “go green” and avoid maintenance. Roof drainage systems will need to be checked in Spring and Autumn to ensure that they have no become blocked., and a little trimming may be needed to retain a kempt appearance.
BRITAIN’S FIRST ECOVERSITY
The University of Bradford is creating a model environmentally sustainable campus - aiming to become one of the greenest universities in the world.
The launch of the University of Bradford's Ecoversity Project occurred in November, 2005 in the Banquetting Suite, City Hall, Bradford.
The Ecoversity project is based around ongoing building improvements worth around £120 million coupled to objectives to create social well-being, a thriving economy and sustainable education courses to achieve greater campus- wide sustainability. Overall project completion is set to be during the year 2009.
One of the most significant developments will be the construction of a 'sustainable student village' - incorporating sustainable design features and environmental technologies. This compact urban village of 1,250 student study-bedrooms will be constructed on the University's city centre campus over the next few years.
The design of the new student homes will be unique to the higher education sector and provide a model of best practice for other higher and further education institutions. Plans are also in place to source developers through an international design competition.
Professor Chris Taylor, Vice-Chan- cellor of the University of Bradford, says,"We recognise that, as a major educational provider, we have a re- sponsibility to promote an understanding of the values of sustainable development. That's why, as part of this project, we will be making environmental sustaina-
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