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Green Roof Introduction


Groundwork Sheffield has secured Euros 457,206 of European Life+ funding to create a best practice guide which will set standards for green roof design and installation across the UK. As part of this guidance there are also supporting guidance documents, such as the Green Roof Guide; Design Guidance for Biodiverse Green Roofs and Green Roof Supplementary Planning Document Guidance. LIFE+ is the EU's financial instrument supporting environmental policy development across Member States.

Green roofs perform a vital role in helping cities adapt to the effects of climate change by reducing the need for artificial cooling in hot weather and attenuating or capturing rainwater runoff, as well as providing a range of habitats for urban wildlife. Green roofs can only provide these environmental benefits if designed and installed in way which ensures minimum performance criteria are met. The guidance has been developed in partnership with national and European experts including The Green Roof Centre at the University of Sheffield, Livingroofs.org, members of GRO (Green Roof Organisation), the Environment Agency and Homes and Communities Agency.


For the purposes of this guide, a living or green roof is - a roof, deck or other structure onto which vegetation is intentionally grown or habitats for wildlife are established.

Who is this guidance for?

This guide will help anyone who is considering, designing, specifying, installing or maintaining a green roof or those involved in the strategic planning of green infrastructure.

Green, living and intentionally vegetated roofs are becoming more common in the UK. They provide many benefits to the occupants of buildings, as well as to the local setting. Green roofs are one of the most readily accessible sustainable technologies available to the construction industry. They can be included as part of new buildings, and, subject to structural checks, may also be retro-fitted to existing buildings.

What will this guidance not cover?

This guidance does not cover certain technical areas of green roof technology such as drainage flow rates, growing medium performance criteria or waterproofing.

If you require technical information of this type please download the English language Guidelines for the planning, execution and upkeep of green roof sites 2008 from the FLL website www.fll.de FLL Forschüngsgesellschaft Landschaftsentwicklung Landschaftbau' (Landscape Research, Development and Construction Society). It should be remembered that although green roof technology is relatively straightforward, it is possible for people who are unfamiliar with the technology to make mistakes or miss opportunities to maximise the benefits. All parties using this Guide and who require technical information should have a copy of the GRO Code and the most recent version of the FLL Guidelines to hand. The FLL Guidelines can be purchased from www.fll.de Note: Waterproofing is a separate issue to roof greening and you should ensure that a roof has suitable waterproofing and root protection before greening it.