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Multi-level biodiversity delivered

by Matt Downs

Eco Green Roofs has helped deliver “an exciting, sustainable solution” to the refurbishment of Middle Walk, which includes the addition of a biodiverse green roof and living wall, transforming this 1960’s block of maisonettes.

A company ethos of community regeneration has been taken to new levels in Woking.

ThamesWey, through its main contractor Woodland Commercial and subcontractor Eco Green Roofs Ltd (EGR), has transformed a 1960’s block of maisonettes in Middle Walk into an oasis of greenery. 

The original felt flat roofs on the east and west wings have been replaced with a bio-diverse (semi-intensive) green roof, and the red brick façade has been softened with a living wall constructed off the balconies to the front façade.

ThamesWey says its vision is to create places where people want to live, where the built environment is in tune with the natural one. At Middle Walk the solution needed to incorporate green features for the leasehold residential units. So, for the first time in its history, ThamesWey combined green roofs and living walls into the refurbishment scheme.

With this in mind, Woodland Commercial has upgraded the existing roof, which was failing, laying the base roof construction of Easijoist parallel chord trusses with metal webs with a ply deck. Subcontractor Ryan Roofing built up the insulated Bauder flex green system. EGR then specified, supplied and installed its Green Roof System.

Originally, a combination of biodiverse and extensive green roofs were specified. As the project was a refurbishment, relying on existing load bearing capacity, EGR supported by Davies Landscape Architects, advised a revision to a biodiverse semi-intensive scheme across both wings. This reduces the potential load, ensuring the building remains structurally sound.

Over the warm Reinforced Bituminous Membrane (RBM) system, EGR built up the EGR BD Biodiverse Roof System by laying its cuspated drainage board with integrated filter fleece, EGR intensive substrate, with aluminium trim to create a clean separation between the substrate and edging cobbles. EGR then installed intensive shrub planting to plan with a permanent irrigation system. This creates a balanced, drained environment in which the carefully selected native flora can flourish. Due to the building being an existing and refurbishment project, no eco-systems have been lost. Therefore the inclusion of green external envelope features will deliver biodiversity net gain (BNG).

For the living walls, EGR utilised the expertise of vertical greening specialist Biotecture. Biotecture created a bespoke load bearing steel structure to attach to the balconies, on which was suspended a PlantBox living wall made from 100% recycled materials and filled with some 9,000 plants chosen to provide a range of colour and texture in keeping with the local flora and to encourage local fauna. An integrated irrigation system with remote monitoring technology will help ensure the living wall continues to flourish throughout the seasons.

David Gollop, Director at Woodland Commercial, commented: “The revitalisation of Middle Walk is an environmental revelation, showing how a concrete and brick landscape can be transformed with a little thought and imagination. EGR and Biotecture have delivered an exciting, sustainable solution to the refurbishment market, that is already generating positive comment from occupants and the wider community.”

Jerry Sims, Thames Wey Head of Construction, added: “Our whole ethos is about balancing care for the environment and sustainability. There is at least one living wall in Woking  town centre (in Duke Court); we therefore had a perfect opportunity to show how environmentally beneficial and aesthetically attractive biodiverse structures can be to the local community.”

For more information on how EGR can support on both new build and refurbishment projects in delivering a sustainable solution to utilise a building’s roof area, contact: info@egr.co.uk


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