A new biosolar roof has recently been installed in the City of London. Standard and Chartered Bank transformed a relatively poor green roof into a biosolar roof over the summer of 2015. At our recent conference Darren Sears, Head of FM Technical at the Bank talked about the experience and the reasons for delivering the project.
Here Darren Sears discuss the project.
Helping the Bank to meet it’s energy targets.
Darren was looking at ways to reduce the banks carbon emissions and lower long term energy costs. Having a large flat roof was an obvious place to look. The majority of the roof, however, was covered in a simple sedum extensive green roof. This had been installed as part of the planning requirements from the City. Therefore, any work had to have minimal impact on the vegetation and the soil.
Good design – leads to biodiversity enhancement and renewable energy
This is the beauty of the biosolar roof approach. With good design, planning and installation, it is possible to in fact improve the quality of the vegetation. This in turn improves the all round performance for biodiversity.
The key element of any biosolar roof approach is to ensure that there is a good interface between the solar panel frames and the green roof. This is important in several respects:
- vegetation does not overshadow panels reducing energy produced
- vegetation can have access to moisture beneath the panels
- the right support and platforms designed for green roofs and solar roofs are used
The design of these elements was undertaken by Green Infrastructure Consultancy Ltd who have a years of experience of working on such projects. The other important aim was to ensure that the vegetation across the whole roof was improved in terms of the diversity of the plants.
New Technology – innovation in water management on green roofs
A key element of the installation was to use a new material that retains large amounts of water and allows this water to be drawn beneath the panels. Aquaten, a sponsor of this website, new material – Aquaten Green – an innovative polymer that not only retains large amounts of water within the fibres but allows it to pass along the material. This material and green roof improvements was installed by Active Ecology,
The roof was completed in early September and over the winter the new vegetation will start to germinate and establish. Come next summer, not only will the roof have been producing renewable energy, but it will be a biodiverse meadow supporting a good range of insects, especially bees and of course the City of London’s famous rare bird – the black redstart.
All in biodiversity, renewable energy and water storage all on one roof – that’s why the future is biosolar roofs.
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