- We set up the UK’s first training course in green roofing, which ran successfully for many years in partnership with the Brighton Permaculture Trust, and continues in its new guise under the management of Human Nature and Green Roof Revival.
- We published a set of case studies to promote our city’s innovative green roofs and walls, and a website that receives over 1000 visitors a month from around the world.
- We have given a large number of talks to promote green roofs and walls in our city, and run tours of green buildings and Madeira Drive green wall.
- We published a free local history of Madeira Drive – a unique ‘miracle mile’ of Victorian invention.
- With partners, we published a major study of the green roof retrofit potential in Brighton.
- We took on the management of Madeira Drive green wall, working with Green Gym volunteers and providing approximately 200 hours of voluntary labour to improve the local environment.
- We successfully argued for Madeira Drive Green Wall’s designation as the UK’s first such local wildlife site, and promoted our work internationally.
- We are an active partner in the Council’s endeavours to restore and regenerate the East Brighton seafront.
Tucked away on the resources section of the Building Green website is a broken link that tells the story of how this group came about.
London Ecology Unit published a highly influential book in 1993 called ‘Building Green – A guide to using plants on roofs, walls and pavements’. It was a prescient tome – heralding techniques and approaches from across Europe and the world that came established only years later in the UK, Building Green was a systemic, ecological approach to urban nature. It became the name of our community group.
When at the Greater London Authority, I created an electronic version of the out of print manuscript – the broken link referred to. Well, here it is in all its free, downloadable glory. Go crazy.
In particular note the appendices which list plants for different locations – walls of different aspects, balconies, roofs etc. Check it out, it’s great – all credit to the originators Jacklyn Johnston and John Newton.
10 years ago today, Brighton & Hove Building Green had its very first meeting.
The first meeting agreed to establish a forum, and set out some success criteria. Here’s how we think we’ve got on.
“The forum would look to achieve the following:
* the mainstream establishment of green buildings in Brighton and Hove as a contribution to a healthier City
Green roofs and green walls are certainly more mainstream, with links in planning policy. Some of the ambitions – for London-style planning requirements – have not been achieved and there is work to do to encourage better quality installations that last and perform.
* greater public awareness about the role of green buildings, through practical demonstrations, guidance and media attention
Building Green has been central to promoting green buildings in Brighton & Hove – we’ve run many events, and contributed many stories to the media.
* generate pride in Brighton and Hove’s existing green buildings through open days etc
We have run tours of green buildings in the city, and were a partner in Eco Open Houses – many of the houses featuring green roofs and/or walls.
* the growth of small (household) projects – especially sheds, garages, dormers – through the provision of practical advice and demonstrations
Building Green established the UK’s first training course in how to ‘do it yourself’, and has gone on to run events
* demonstrate new, locally appropriate techniques such as vegetated shingle roofs”
The UK’s first vegetated shingle roofs are currently being constructed at Brighton Marina. Building Green is planning a tour to see how they’re getting on.
The DIY Green Roofs course is open for bookings, and takes place October 29-30.
It’s a highly successful weekend course that gets great feedback, and draws participants from across the UK and beyond.
More information, and bookings, here.
On 20 October we received over 100 unique visitors to our website. Great news!
This isn’t the record – in May 2014 we had over 250 unique visitors in a day – but numbers have been steadily increasing recently.
Whilst the majority of visitors are from the UK, we get large numbers of American friends, then Brazilian, Canadian, Spanish and Australian. in 2015 so far, we’ve had visitors from 119 countries.
Top topics are green roofs, bat and birds – followed by green walls.
A really good day at Big Nature in the Brighton Centre yesterday. Worth doing again next year we reckon.
The kids went mad for the Building Green drawing and colouring competition – inspired by the green roofed bird box sponsored by Organic Roofs!
There is a winner – but you’ll have to wait to see the picture!
Here are some snaps from the day.