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// Sustainability

Ecological and economical – why green roofs are a ‘win-win’

With the rising cost of living in the spotlight, the UK’s leading property management company is looking at how green roofs can help to save on energy bills and benefit the environment.  

A green roof, which is also referred to as a living roof, is a partially or fully covered layer of self-sustaining vegetation, often containing a mix of grass, moss, sedum, or small flowers.   

They’re most likely to be spotted on large residential developments across UK cities as a way of promoting wildlife, improving the environment, and minimising greenhouse gas emissions. But they are also great for insulation.   

FirstPort property management oversees all types of green roofs across its developments. Christian Phipps, FirstPort’s Sustainability Manager explained:

“Green roofs are not only good for the winter by offering an extra layer of insulation to keep heat in a building but conversely, they can also cool buildings in the summer and reduce urban heat islands.  

“Plants also naturally absorb harmful pollutants, which some studies have linked to some 40,000 early deaths in the UK a year, so there’s clearly health benefits too.  

And if green roofs can also help to reduce the cost of living in any way, then it’s a win-win.

“We want and will be looking to create more green roofs, or even green walls which are better for air purification and cooling at a ground level.”  

FirstPort-managed Greenland Place in Lewisham consists of almost 700 apartments set over five acres of land, with plenty of outdoor space. But the most surprising area at the development is its self-sustaining green roof terrace that residents can enjoy all year round.  

Nestled just a few yards away from the River Thames in south London, the two green roofs at Greenland Place blossom in the spring and summer months to create a perfect oasis for urban wildlife.   

Development Manager George Proctor has been working at the site since it was built in 2016. He said: “I’m no gardener or expert on it but I know the green roofs are good for your mental health.   

“It’s great to go up there and because it’s seven stories up, you don’t get the hustle and bustle of London. It’s quite quiet.  

“It also reinsulates the building and gives you another six inches of insulation material, so it keeps the heat in the building. There are so many benefits, and it is so low maintenance.”   

The living roofs at Greenland Place only need to be maintained on average twice a year.  

George added:

“People love green spaces, especially in London. If you can’t go to the local park or you don’t have a garden, you don’t get any green spaces. So, what we’ve got here is quite precious.   

“Living quite centrally, we are about 400 yards from the River Thames and the other side of the River Thames is Docklands. You can see all of the skyscrapers in the beautiful garden area, and we get lots of good feedback from residents.”