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The quick answer is a huge yes.
Let's look in a bit more depth at how biochar is used in green roofs
What is a green roof?
A green roof (also known as a 'living roof) is a roof on a building that is covered with plants growing in a growing medium. This usually sits on a waterproofing membrane and may include other layers such as a root barrier, drainage, and irrigation pipework.
Biochar delivers several benefits
SoilFixer's 0-8mm Biochar weighs just 250 Kg/m3 dry, 400 Kg/m3 as supplied, and 700 Kg/m3 saturated. Biochar can be sourced in fine granules (0-2mm), medium (0-8mm), and coarse (2-8mm). We recommend no bigger than 10 mm as larger particles tend to have a detrimental impact on properties like 'aggregation' which makes the soil fall apart too easily.
More than 30% will help with weight, but it tends to tip the balance away from strong plant growth
The experts describe two types of green roofs
They come in many forms from slim-line to very thick.
(Rooftop designers have precise maths and engineering formulas for loading and safety - the above is a rough approximation to give gardeners an appreciation of the challenge)
The addition of biochar to green roof soil / growing media is only a few years old - as more roofs are built and tested, the advice will become more precise.
If you have a shed, garden office or outbuilding, or even wheelie bin storage, you can create your own DIY living roof by adding a water-proof membrane and a barrier to keep everything in place and plant your own.
Shallow-rooted varieties are the best options for planting living roofs such as various species of sedum, succulents, wildflowers, and grasses. Be mindful of the positioning of the roof and how much or how little exposure to the sun it gets, choose plants depending on the conditions.
● Creates a habitat and food for wildlife
● Contributes to improving air quality
● Provides insulating and soundproofing properties
● Improves drainage
● Adds a touch of nature to an otherwise unnatural surface
Usually, this is added at the start, but it can be added when the growing medium is being 'repaired/topped up (see degradation below)
Sometimes the biochar is added as a granular base layer and other times it is integrated into the growing medium (see SF40)
Biochar offers multiple benefits but some of these benefits have to be balanced with other challenges. The route chosen depends on the specific challenges the roof installer is looking to address (see below).
Green roofs improve and reduce energy consumption. They can reduce heating by adding mass and thermal resistance value also can reduce the heat island by increasing evapotranspiration. A 2005 study by Brad Bass of the University of Toronto showed that green roofs can also reduce heat loss and energy consumption in winter conditions. A modeling study found that adding green roofs to 50 percent of the available surfaces in downtown Toronto would cool the entire city by 0.1 to 0.8 °C (0.2 to 1.4 °F).
A green roof reduces cooling (by evaporative cooling) loads on a building by fifty to ninety percent, especially if it is glassed-in so as to act as a terrarium and passive solar heat reservoir.
There is a mass of DIY information on making green roofs. If you are looking at a whole building and want to gain all the thermal benefits, we suggest you approach a green roof structural design expert who will work with your architect.
Google 'Green roof design and installation'. Although we have not worked in partnership with any particular installer, we did like the information presented on GreenRooftech website and Green roof training.
We predict a huge uptake in biochar use for green roofs. All the above benefits are great - but biochar has a trump card - it is now widely recognized as the leading carbon-offsetting technology. Carbon Credits (see PuroEarth, Verra) use a certified methodology that demonstrates biochar-carbon is locked away for at least 100 years and hence offsets CO2 emissions. This marketplace is now growing at +50% year on year.
Not only will biochar be added to agricultural soils and horticultural growing media it will be a number one choice for corporate buildings with green roofs.
Living Walls are popular where space is limited or the building has a restricted floor space for soil/growing media. Adding biochar to living walls can help improve plant growth and health by providing a range of benefits, including improved water retention, higher nutrient availability, and better root development.
Image: British_Horse_Society_Head_Quarters_and_Green_Roof.jpg. Please note: Our use of the open-source image is not meant to imply any association with or use of SoilFixer Products. It is just a really nice green roof! Image attribution: Sky Garden Ltd, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Biochar Multi-Purpose Compost (SF40)
A ready-to-use multi-purpose compost used as a plant growing..
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