Specifying quality compost in UK green roof construction WRAP UK

Specifying quality compost in UK green roof construction WRAP UK

The rapid growth of green roofs across the UK has been given a further boost today with a publication from WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) on the use of BSI PAS 100 quality compost in the development and maintenance of this increasingly popular construction application.

Quality Compost Use in Green Roof Construction is the first document of its kind to outline the benefits of incorporating BSI PAS 100 quality compost in green roof substrates. The use of this recycled organic material helps establish vegetation in green roofs and provides a reliable source of essential nutrients and minerals which help prolong plant life.

The new booklet outlines these benefits and will be of interest to the growing number of councils across the country, among them London, Sheffield, Manchester and Brighton & Hove, which are taking steps to mandate the inclusion of green roofs in planning regulations in the construction of public buildings.

In the London Plan’s Living Roofs and Wall Policy (4a.11), for example, green roofs are being encouraged in all new developments. In Sheffield, from 2011 onwards, all developers will need to include 80% vegetative cover on any new building over 1,000m² (non-residential), and in a development with more than 10 dwellings (residential). Manchester and Brighton & Hove are also very likely to follow suit, while the Scottish Green Roof Forum has been set up to develop green roof policy guidance across Scotland.

In his introduction to Quality Compost use in Green Roof Construction, Jeff Sorrill of the Green Roof Centre outlines the importance of BSI PAS 100 compost,

“WRAP’s current range of studies is especially relevant in increasing our appreciation of the fundamental make up of the materials needed to create a green roof. The use of BSI PAS 100 compost not only helps ensure good rates of healthy growth, but also provides another end use for this high quality recycled and renewable material.”

Previous WRAP trials, including those for landscaping, brownfield regeneration projects, tree planting schemes, bioremediation and mulching have all demonstrated that BSI PAS 100 quality compost is a versatile, adaptable material that can be used to deliver measurable cost and environmental benefits. In the case of green roofs, trials have demonstrated that BSI PAS 100 compost can contribute towards the long-term health, stability and attractiveness of green roofs.

The release of Quality Compost use in Green Roof Construction comes in advance of the first UK specific Green Roof Code of Practice, currently being developed by the Sheffield Green Roof Centre. This Code of Practice will establish criteria for the development of green roofs in the UK, drawing on previous experience from Germany, Switzerland and Austria. It will include UK specific guidance on planning, implementation, maintenance and the use of materials in green roof design.

A noted benefit of planting Green Roofs in urban settings is to develop a natural biodiversity for a range of insects and birds. The wild flowers used in these environments provide a safe habitat for encouraging the establishment of bee colonies.

Quality Compost use in Green Roof Construction provides information for anyone interested in green roofs as to the benefits of incorporating BSI PAS 100 compost.

Green Roofs

Specifying quality compost in UK green roof construction WRAP UK

In its simplest form, a green roof is a surface created on the top of a building to accommodate vegetation and protect the outer surface of a building’s roof using plants in place of construction materials. A ‘green roof’ enables a building developer to include an attractive alternative which can help reduce a building’s running costs by its natural ability to help insulate and cool a building through plant transpiration. The green roof on London’s green roofs also attenuate rainwater offering a reliable drainage system and reducing the need for guttering, piping or storm drains.

BSI PAS 100 quality compost

Manufactured from recycled organic materials including grass clippings, tree prunings and leaves, BSI PAS 100 quality compost is a rich organic material that contains major nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphate — essential for healthy vegetation. Compost has excellent water retaining properties which facilitate a key function of green roofs – better rainwater management.

The BSI PAS 100 specification sets out the minimum benchmark for quality compost, and ensures that products produced to these requirements are safe, consistent, reliable and fit for purpose. The specification is supported by the Quality Protocol for Compost [INSERT LINK] (applicable in England, Wales and Northern Ireland), which recognises that quality compost is no longer a waste material, but a product in its own right.

WRAP’s Compost Suppliers Directory gives details of suppliers of this material across the UK by postcode.

  • WRAP works with businesses and individuals to help them reap the benefits of reducing waste, develop sustainable products and use resources in an efficient way.
  • Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • More information on all of WRAP’s programmes can be found on www.wrap.org.uk


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