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The conversations at the heart of the green roof industry

by Matt Downs

Maggie Fennell Wells, GRO Marketing Committee Chair, discusses how GRO is interacting with the market to ensure conversations and collaboration help ensure best practice and outcomes for green roof projects…

Maggie Fennell Wells is GRO Marketing Committee Chair, and Product Development Manager at Boningale Ltd.

Cross-disciplinary collaboration is crucial for successful green roofing. Hydrology, civil engineering, landscape architecture, horticulture and ecology were all represented at the University of Sheffield’s Green Roof Centre, which was my own very first introduction to the subject. 

This was a hub where academics could bring their separate fields of expertise together to look at the whole system – in a truly integrated way – in order to improve the whole system. Then all I had to do was to link that research with industry and the practical reality through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership! 

Since then, there has been huge progress in building the foundations for the technical integration needed in industry to deliver green roofs, including three evolutions of the GRO Code of Best Practice, the launch of successful Green Roof training courses with Lantra, and the transition of GRO into a formal Trade Association in 2020. 

GRO promises to provide great networking opportunities for the whole range of different disciplines and sectors involved in green roofing, linking new-comers and innovators with seasoned and experienced members. These conversations and debates allow us to identify common problems and – more importantly – potential solutions. A diversity of participants with a shared goal of promoting the responsible implementation of successful green roofs ensures a steady, realistic journey towards better understanding and quality of delivery. This underpins the development of trust and relationships between companies and organisations that might not normally interact, but must understand each other to deliver the best environmental outcomes possible. 

Networking has been one of the GRO membership benefits that has been most difficult to provide during the pandemic, but one which we have been determined to pursue with any means at our disposal. 

GRO led the second World Green Roof Day back in June this year, stimulating conversations across the world and provided an online webinar to launch the GRO code with themed zoom breakout rooms for more in-depth discussions. 

These online media are likely to stay as a widely accessible and inclusive part of our engagement activities, however we are delighted to be able to offer our members a range of face-to-face networking opportunities as well this autumn. We will now be able to celebrate successes together at the NFRC Roofing Awards and engage newcomers with practical demonstrations at Futurescape Show, with additional talks planned at shows outside London as well. 

Whatever discipline you represent, please come and find us to join the conversation about green roofing. 

Contact GRO: email: membership@greenrooforganisation.org


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