Originally the roof in question had been a simple sedum green roof. Installed as a planning condition on a new bank, the roof was what it was. However the bank in question, had decided that they would like to install solar panels. The only viable place for the solar panels was on the area covered in vegetation.
Solution Combining Solar on a Green Roof
The City of London planners were supportive of solar arrays but the green roof had to be retianed and maintained as a viable green space. However, the company with its consultants was not perturbed. Realising that both solar and green roof technology could work in synergy, they worked towards a biosolar roof approach.
Unfortunately even on new builds this is rarely the case, which is what the biosolar roof project is about.
Getting the Technical Approach to Both Right First
The key was to get the right technical solution to how the solar panels would sit within the green roof. This was important to ensure that the green roof flourished and that the panels worked as efficiently as possible.
Furthermore renewal of the green roof provided an opportuntity to improve the green roof element for biodiversity through increasing the flora diversity. Biodiversity and renewable energy at roof level is a win win with the right approach – creating a complete sustainable roof solution.
Secondly there was a need to ensure that the contractors understood that the green roof element was important as the solar arrays. The right approach ensure that a qualified green roof contractor worked with the qualified solar to contractor.
Planning Moves to Implementation
With the right plan and now with the right contractors the biodiversity and renewable benefits of the biosolar roof could be implemented and implemented well.
The original green roof substrates and plants were removed. The new solar stands (compatible with green roof technology) were installed.
The substrate and old plant material relaid across the roof area and the panels were installed.
The final part of the installation is still to be completed. This will be reseeding of the green roof with a native wildflower mix along with a range of appropriate wildflower plugs.
A Biosolar roof Future
In late September the biosolar roof project will be holding a conference in London:
Many of the people involved in this project will there to speak in detail about their experiences. Although there are quite a few solar green roofs in London, this is the first of its kind that has followed the important principles that need to taken to ensure a truly successful biosolar roof, that delivers for biodiversity and renewable energy. Come along and find out how to deliver truly sustainable roofs in a city near you.