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What Is A Blue Roof, What Are The Benefits And Drawbacks?

Maguire Brothers look into what a blue roof is and the positives and negatives associated with having a blue roof on your property.

One thing the summer of 2021 has shown us is that for those living in the UK—stormy weather is inevitable all year round.

With flooding becoming a far too frequent occurrence, we investigated how the design of a roof can not only help keep those inside dry but, also ease the strain on waterways and assist in flood prevention.

A concept that has been around for over half a decade is that of a blue roof. For many years, the industry has sought ways to discharge water from flat roofs, from structural design to the introduction of tapered insulation schemes.

But, could the answer to our problems, be the exact opposite?

What is a blue roof?

According to the National Federation of Roofing Contractors

“a Blue Roof is a Flat Roof, designed to allow controlled attenuation of rain fall during heavy and storm events as part of a Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) good practise policy, replicating the natural environment or improving the as built environment.” [1]

Blue roofs are designed with numerous drainage and filtration layers and as rainfall lands, the built up system ensures water slowly drains through the inbuilt drainage system. Significantly slowing the movement of water and controlling its discharge.

Depending on the design, a blue roof will either treat the water and store it for alternative use, or control a slow release of water into sewers, waterways and rivers.

What are the benefits of a blue roof?

In areas where rainfall is less regular, blue roofs have been used to capture water and direct it to storage units, allowing for use in times where rainfall is less frequent.

This also allows for harvesting of rainwater for numerous other purposes. Furthermore, the slow pace in which water in discharged from the roof alleviates pressure on drainage systems, rivers, etc. enabling improved flood management opportunities.

What are their drawbacks of a blue roof?

While Blue Roofs have a number of benefits, they also have their downside too.

Due to the elaborative build up and drainage system required to carry our functions, the installation of the waterproofing membrane must be carried out using the correct materials and to the highest of standards, as any future repair work is extremely difficult to undertake and costly.

By design, a blue roof system will hold significantly more moisture than a roof designed to shed water, and therefore structural guidance and advice should be sought prior to installation.

Conclusion

Blue roofs certainly offer a huge number of benefits and in countries prone to flash flooding, or where the harvesting of rainwater will have significant benefits, their regular introduction can only (if managed correctly) add numerous benefits to our built environment.

However, many of the benefits of a blue roof can be achieved with a green roof whilst also minimising the drawbacks involved.

To find out more about sustainable roofing solutions, get in touch with the team here.