Unique green roof helps community flower

If proof were needed that a green roof can make an impact far beyond the immediate building, North Harringay Primary School in London, is the perfect example.

Opened on July 9th 2005, this inspirational project involved the creation of a garden on the roof of the school gymnasium and is a classic case of how the footprint of a structure can be given back to the community. The ZinCo green roof technology was supplied by Alumasc, who also provided advice and technical support from initial consultation through to implementation. From the outset, the roof became a major focal point for the school, parents and wider community.

The project was the brainchild of Melissa Ronaldson of the London Community Herbalists (LCH) who has developed a long-standing relationship with the school. LCH has been working with pupils, educating them on where their food comes from and how naturally-occurring plants can provide basic medicinal benefits and remedies.

As there were hardly any ‘soft’ surfaces available at the school grounds, growing areas were initially provided on the playground by topsoil held in check with railway sleepers. After visiting the gymnasium roof to gather up some discarded plant pots, Melissa Ronaldson had the idea of creating a roof garden that would also return ‘a dead space’ back to the community.

LCH contacted the Alumasc technical services team who conducted a survey of the roof waterproofing. A Derbigum anti-root overlay of the existing asphalt was recommended, which carries a 20 year water-tightness guarantee. This part of the roof was installed by Tilbury contracts, with the green roof element installed entirely by local voluntary labour. Alumasc offered practical advice on what elements could most easily be constructed on the green roof and on how the drainage could be managed. Proposals concerning the growing medium mixes that would be required, along with advice on the logistics of getting all the materials up to roof level were also provided.

The roof garden comprises Derbigum and ZinCo green roof layers: SSM45 Moisture Mat, FD25 Drainage Layer with SF filter sheet attached and Zincolit substrate, mixed in with local top soil. The facility was match-funded by the local authority and is now used on a regular basis as part of the school curriculum for educational and community purposes.

“The international roof garden uses sustainable building technologies, and features plants that can be used for food and for medicine. Our planting, the atmosphere and aim of our garden is to value, and celebrate the rich cultural diversity, knowledge and tradition of our local area.” commented a spokesperson for London Community Herbalists.

Alumasc provides ZinCo green roof solutions for all types of building, from ecological protection layers to fully developed ‘parkland on the roof’. These schemes offer wide-ranging advantages for benefits for building owners, users and developers, both in financial and aesthetic terms. They also benefit the wider environment through their positive impact on the community, on biodiversity, sustainability and storm water attenuation. For further information on ZinCo green roofs or Derbigum waterproofing, please contact our literature hotline on 0808 100 2008 or visit the website at www.alumasc-exteriors.co.uk

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