How even small green roofs can make a big difference

How even small green roofs can make a big difference

It’s not surprising that green roofs have become increasingly popular as a tool of architects, developers and planners. Urbanisation and the increased use of concrete, tarmac, glass and steel has had a big impact on the ecology of cities.

Green roofs not only return a natural element to the urban environment, but they also help increase biodiversity and provide climate-mitigating benefits such as flood and pollution reduction.

However, small green roofs are just as important as large ones, and cycle shelters are often overlooked as prime candidates for greening. Their roof surfaces can either partially or completely be covered with vegetation and a growing medium whilst protecting the structure with a waterproofing membrane. With a low roof height the planted surfaces are easily accessible for maintenance.

Green roof cycle store at Boeing, Sheffield

Over time, these cycle shelters turn into pocket habitats for all kind of insects, bees and butterflies. Because their green roofs are visible at street level they also delight residents with an attractive display of native wildflowers, sedums and grasses.

Green roofs help to;

  • capture particulates
  • retain rainwater
  • promote urban biodiversity

Green roofs, no matter how small, are a valuable Green Infrastructure intervention, contributing to healthier living in urban environments. They do not solve climate-change related problems in cities such as flooding, but they should be recognised as a significant part of the solution.

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