Roof gardens are not a new concept, terraces and balconies have long been used to create outdoor spaces in homes cramped by urbanisation. Since additional square footage is prohibitively expensive, especially in London’s property market, it was a natural evolution for architects to use existing roof space to create vertical gardens instead.
However, while residential terraces are now fairly commonplace, commercial roof gardens remain relatively rare. It might be that businesses not based on hospitality consider them an unnecessary expense however this is a fallacy because, when considered closely, roof gardens can actually save businesses thousands of pounds.
The environmental perspective
The increasing risks of climate change have led to ecological legislation like the CCL (Climate Change Levy) and SECR (Streamlined Energy Carbon Reporting). Essentially their purpose is to offer a financial incentive, or impose additional costs, for businesses to improve their energy efficiency and decrease their CO2 emissions.
It’s well documented that the heat efficiency of the majority of London’s commercial buildings leaves a lot to be desired and roof gardens can help with this. A roof-mounted lawn area or flower beds can act as an additional source of heat insulation that prevents loss of heat energy, subsequently, this lowers your own heating bills and overall CO2 output.
In addition, since any plants on your organisation’s roof will also be absorbing the sun’s energy, you can count on them reducing your air conditioning costs in the hotter months. Speaking of hotter months, the UHI (Urban Heat Island) effect, caused by the concentration of highly heat-conductive concrete in cities, is greatly inhibited by the addition of green spaces. A roof garden is one of the most effective ways to integrate a greenspace into built-up areas, especially considering the relentless solar energy that roofs receive.
Finally, you will make long term savings on building maintenance by preventing flooding on your roofs, as well as the risk of damage from excessive snowfall. This moisture will either be sequestered more gradually into the soil or used by the plants within it.
Mental health has gained increasing awareness in the past two decades, to the point that it is now one of the most dominant conversations in modern society. As a result, business leaders are now taking notice and action to ensure the ongoing satisfaction of their team members due to its proven effect on their productivity and their firms’ resulting profits.
It has been estimated that mental health issues could be costing employers over £1,000 per employee annually and are the leading cause of absenteeism. A roof garden can help protect against this by providing your employees a respite from office life while on breaks. The calming and therapeutic effects of greenspaces are well-documented, alongside that a roof garden will also reduce air pollution and thus boost the physical health of your employees which will translate into smoother business operations overall.
Finally, we come to a hidden but major secondary benefit of roof gardening and that is how it will affect your image among consumers. Companies that invest in the environment are investing in the wellbeing of their customers and associate themselves with social responsibility and the caretaking of the natural world. The right roof garden may even attract adorable wildlife to your real estate, you might consider installing bird boxes or insect houses to encourage this.
A roof garden is a visual metaphor for your business’s allegiance with the mental and physical wellbeing of both your team and the greater community. In addition, it provides you with a unique and beautiful environment in which to host clients, company events, and even digital enterprises. How much might your web traffic benefit from a guided video tour of your own private oasis?
We hope that you and other business leaders are able to see both the value and utility of creating your own roof garden and how this can improve both your profit margin and relationships with the people that make your business run: Staff and customers.