You could be forgiven for not noticing immediately, but a large section of Manchester City Centre just got a lot greener.
The Whitworth’s green roof is now a year old and is getting really established. It’s one of three along Oxford Road, helping to create the highest concentration of green roofs in a City Centre area of this size in the UK.
The new green roofs have been built on Manchester Metropolitan University’s All Saints and new business school buildings, and the Whitworth. These add to the four green roofs that can also be found on the University of Manchester’s Business School, ASK’s First Street building, Bruntwood’s number one New York Street and BDP’s Piccadilly Basin offices.
The roofs will help to combat climate change in the city as well as providing important financial and social benefits.
Councillor Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Environment is delighted by the many benefits the roofs will bring: “The roofs don’t just look pretty, they serve a real business purpose and the financial benefits are bigger than you may think. As well as reducing heating bills as result of improved insulation, the roofs also cool the building in summer, reducing air conditioning costs.
“Green roofs also protect against the elements, increasing the life span of the building by at least double.”
Peter Stringer, Special Projects Manager at Red Rose Forest believes the roofs can solve many of the problems large modern cities face: “Green roofs have an immediate positive impact on our environment. They stop rain getting to the ground which can help to reduce the causes of flash flooding.
“They absorb the sun’s rays and reflect heat, lowering the overall temperatures in our towns and cities which are becoming more and more vulnerable to the Urban Heat Island effect. The beautiful greenery also absorbs harmful pollution as well as providing important habitats for birds and insects, in particular bees.
“Plus green spaces in our cities are limited. Green roofs are a highly original way of creating this much needed space. Greenery helps us reconnect with nature and is well known to improve psychological wellbeing and inspire everyone that sees them.
Students at The University of Manchester will study the impact of the roofs and publish results in 2012.