2021 edition of the GRO Green Roof Code of Best Practice continues to hold true to the original values, but also includes guidance on blue roofs, biosolar roofs and modular green roofs. Below, the experts at GRO explain more about the updates to this important document…
The latest instalment of the GRO Code was launched on 10th June 2021. It’s the third edition and a special anniversary edition of the GRO Green Roof Code of Best Practice, which was first published in 2011 by the then newly established GRO ‘Green Roof Organisation’.
GRO and the Code have gone from strength to strength since its beginnings as a voluntary organisation of a few enthusiastic contributors under the keen eye of former NFRC CEO Ray Horwood, and GRO is now a Trade Association registered with Companies House.
The 10 year Anniversary edition of the GRO Code continues to hold true to the original values of making green roof technology accessible and guiding best practice. The original Code was the result of an EU funded project at the Green Roof Centre, University of Sheffield, as a result it was always going to be free to access and therefore would never be a Standard. The Green Roof Centre took advice from livingroofs.org and all the other GRO members to create a document that demystified and established performance criteria to specify, design, install and maintain natural-based living roofs.
The 2021 edition of the Code has welcomed the inclusion of the increasingly popular and rapidly developing technology of blue roofs, biosolar roofs and modular green roofs.
Who is the GRO Code for?
Green roofs are not ‘rocket science’ but they are easy to get wrong in a surprising number of ways! Therefore, the language of the Code, and the comprehensive Glossary, are intended to make the technology of green roofs as accessible as possible. The guidance held within the Code is as applicable to an Architect planning a 10,000m2 accommodation block, to a homeowner considering a 20m2 extension or garden office.
When to use the GRO Code?
It is best to consult the Code at the earliest possible stage in a design or project plan. Green roofs may be the last part of the external structure to be applied, but they have an impact on the very structure of the building and even the foundations. The benefits of green roofs can be found in the Code, these highlight where costs gained for the extra loading can be offset by water retention and biodiversity net gain calculations.
It is also necessary to consider ongoing green roof maintenance at the earliest stage. A green roof is an investment, but it will only perform to its full potential if it is correctly maintained. For example, a newly installed green roof with pre-grown flowering turf will need watering for the first few weeks and after prolonged dry spells. With this in mind, is there a water supply? Does it have any pressure? These things are easy to change on paper, but difficult and potentially expensive during construction.
Where should the GRO Code be used?
The UK has a unique and sometimes frustrating climate. For such a small country it has a peculiar range of very dry areas, very wet areas, very windy areas and lots of areas that have a blend of these conditions. The Code has drawn from the vast experience of its members to produce guidelines that will perform well in most of the regions of the UK. If the site you are considering has additional special environmental conditions, a green roof specialist should be consulted.The Anniversary GRO Code is free and available to everyone in the UK and beyond, although it is not specifically designed for climates outside the UK and Ireland. The Code was introduced on 10th June 2021 at a launch webinar and online networking event hosted by GRO and can be downloaded here.
Further updates and extensions to the Code will be developed by the GRO board and membership, led by our Technical Committee. To find out more about joining GRO please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or for assistance with any technical green roof questions, please email GRO Technical Secretary Jeff Sorrill at email@example.com.