Huge new undulating green roof in Paris

We have a mini version of this in Whitehawk – very mini – and a similar sized roof over the water treatment works in Peacehaven. But at 650 feet long this Parisian roof/park is huge, and way more interesting ecologically.

Part lab, part park, the stunning Espace Bienvenüe was designed by Pargade Architectes and is part of nearly seven hectares that consitutes the green belt of a huge learning center.

A building and a park all in one, the Espace Bienvenüe provides a major recreational landscaped garden for Paris

The green roof of Peacehaven Wastewater Treatment Works is one of the largest in Europe

Why Sedum green roofs often struggle to survive…

Good article here by Lee Evans, Director of Organic Roofs, on why so many Sedum green roofs struggle.

Struggling Sedum green roof

Unfortunately the many Sedum green roofs in Brighton are struggling too – for example those on Council buildings such as Whitehawk Children’s Centre and library, private buildings like the Smart House on Ditchling Road and the American Express HQ in Kemptown, and schools like Downs Junior.

The good news is that any struggling green roof can often be given a whole new lease of life by adding additional substrate, and establishing some more suitable plants.

Better still to get it right first time!

Big Winner! We’ve awarded the prize for the Big Nature drawing competition

At this year’s Big Nature event, Building Green ran a competition for kids.

Aimed at getting people to think about the possibilities of green buildings, entrants were asked to draw and colour an imaginary eco house. Green roofs and other features were encouraged, otherwise it was up to the imagination of the artist!

We had some great entries, but the one we selected was by 14 year old Tamsin from Brighton, who drew an earth sheltered eco-home, complete with built-in animal dens.

Earth sheltered eco-home by Tamsin, age 14

Earth sheltered eco-home by Tamsin, age 14

The prize was a bird box with a green roof, sponsored by Organic Roofs, and a tour of the Organic Roofs HQ in Shoreham.

Lee and I presented the prize on Saturday. Well done Tamsin!

Organic Roofs and Building Green presenting the Big Nature drawing competition prize to Tamsin

Organic Roofs and Building Green presenting the Big Nature drawing competition prize to Tamsin

Competition winner Tamsin on the green roof at Organic Roofs HQ, Shoreham

Competition winner Tamsin on the green roof at Organic Roofs HQ, Shoreham

Shortly after we got this photo through of the bird box installed in the garden. That’s a lucky bird.

Green roofed bird box installed in a garden

Green roofed bird box installed in a garden

Building Green tour of Brighton & Hove

The second day of our DIY Green Roof workshop involved a tour of some inspirational buildings in Brighton & Hove.

First was the Velo Cafe, with a green roof fitted by Organic Roofs. Lee Evans talked the group through the trials and tribulations of green roofing on a pitched slope. The roof now looks great, and we spotted a female grey wagtail feeding on it.

Building Green DIY Green Roof workshoppers taking a tour of the Velo Cafe, Brighton

Building Green DIY Green Roof workshoppers taking a tour of the Velo Cafe, Brighton

Grey wagtail on the roof of the Velo Cafe, Brighton

Grey wagtail on the roof of the Velo Cafe, Brighton

Building Green DIY Green Roof workshoppers taking a tour of the Velo Cafe, Brighton

Building Green DIY Green Roof workshoppers taking a tour of the Velo Cafe, Brighton

We visited Madeira Drive to see the ‘world famous sheltered walk’ and the green wall. Great inspiration for greening the other 4 building surfaces – which are often forgotten amongst all the talk of roofs! This was the first guided visit to the Madeira Drive Green Wall, and Building Green highlighted the threats and opportunities for its continued conservation.

Building Green DIY Green Roof workshop crew hearing about the special green wall at Madeira Drive, Brighton

Building Green DIY Green Roof workshop crew hearing about the special green wall at Madeira Drive, Brighton

Finally we went to Whitehawk to see the great wildflower roof at the Crew Club. Unfortunately the roofs on the Children’s Centre and library are faring less well – much of the planting has died and the roofs should really be refurbished. Still, it’s a hotspot for green roofing and green building – nearby houses are making their own contribution too, as this well managed ivy attests.

The 'chalk downland' green roofs of the Crew Club community centre, Whitehawk, Brighton

The ‘chalk downland’ green roofs of the Crew Club community centre, Whitehawk, Brighton

Whitehawk home - carefully grown and tended ivy as a home for wildlife and attractive front garden. Brighton

Whitehawk home – carefully grown and tended ivy as a home for wildlife and attractive front garden. Brighton

All in all a great weekend – new friendships, new networks, and some new neural pathways from all this learning!

DIY green roof workshop a success!

This weekend’s DIY Green Roof workshop was a real success!

Happy green roofers with their green roofed bird boxes

Happy green roofers with their green roofed bird boxes

We had participants from Brighton & Hove and further afield across the country…and a keen Spanish green roofer who travelled over from Córdoba!

We discussed the fine points of projects on sheds, house extensions and even a Dutch barge.

Everyone put their learning into practice by building their own green roofs and installing them on a bird box they also put together.

The second day was a tour of some green roofs and green walls.

Lee Evans, course tutor, talking participants through the benefits and technical aspects of green roofing at Organic Roofs HQ

Lee Evans, course tutor, talking participants through the benefits and technical aspects of green roofing at Organic Roofs HQ

Lee Evans, course tutor, demonstrating how to build the bird box to the course participants.

Lee Evans, course tutor, demonstrating how to build the bird box to the course participants.

Course participants DIY-ing their bird boxes

Course participants DIY-ing their bird boxes

James Farrell, course tutor, talking participants through a container green roof at Organic Roofs HQ

James Farrell, course tutor, talking participants through a container green roof at Organic Roofs HQ

James Farrell, course tutor, talking participants through a container green roof at Organic Roofs HQ

James Farrell, course tutor, talking participants through a container green roof at Organic Roofs HQ

Finished bird box with a green roof

Finished bird box with a green roof

Happy course participant with their green roofed bird box

Happy course participant with their green roofed bird box

Channel 5’s ‘Cowboy Builders’ talks green roofs

Lee Evans from Organic Roofs was featured in a recent episode of Cowboy Builders.

Lee Evans of Organic Roofs talks to Dan Lobb of Channel 5’s Cowboy Builders

With film of the Velo Cafe and the refurbished green roof at Infinity Foods, Lee talked about the many benefits of green roofs, compared with your average roof.

Lee has blogged about it here, and you can view the episode here. The green roof section starts 32 minutes in.

Not too late to book your DIY Green Roof course!

It’s not too late to book your place on this year’s DIY green roof course!

  • learn about how to build green roofs
  • understand the history of global green roofing, and the benefits of the modern habitat-based approach
  • put the principles into practice – build your own green roofed bird box to take home
  • visit inspirational green roofs and green walls in Brighton & Hove
  • get expert advice on your project
  • enjoy the surroundings of Organic Roof’s new workshop, right on the banks of Shoreham harbour
  • have fun, learn new skills and make new friends!

You never know, you might be so inspired that you jack your job in after the course – and become a professional green roofer. That’s exactly what previous course participant Lee Evans did!

To book your place, visit https://brightonpermaculture.org.uk/courses/ecobuild/greenroofs

Happy green roofer with the green roofed bird box we built on the Building Green DIY weekend

Happy green roofer with the green roofed bird box we built on the Building Green DIY weekend

Eastbrook Primary Academy, Southwick, has a living roof

A nice living roof on the extension to Eastbrook primary. Solar hot water, roof lights and what looks like a Sedum green roof with a decent amount of substrate for the plants to thrive in.

I hope it’s used as a teaching resource for the kids.

Eastbrook Primary Academy, Southwick - a living roof

Eastbrook Primary Academy, Southwick – a living roof