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Flag-Soprema Green Roofs for Addenbrookes


Sanctuary Housing Associations’ £20 million build of four blocks of affordable accommodation at Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge has seen 12 areas of Flag-Soprema Optigreen 'Economy' green roof installed.

Each of the 6-storey buildings was of step design over the top 3 floors, the green roofs having been designed for their contribution to water retention using a low maintenance sedum/herb/grass planting mixture. Rainwater permeates the soil and passes into pipes before being collected in storm cells. Landscaping also incorporates swales to collect water and offset flood risk following periods of heavy rain. Brown roof areas are covered with a 150mm layer of soil from the site in order to provide a balanced eco-system for both insect and bird life. What was once an area of barren car park now provides a balance of controlled environmental contribution within a sustainable construction programme.

External elevations to the rooms are made primarily from natural, undecorated cedar obtained from sustainable sources. Photovoltaic cells heat domestic hot water while large areas of glazing throughout the 100 apartments are shielded by brises soleil. Zinc, recognised as the most sustainable metal used in construction today, was also used for cladding of the ground floor.

372 bed spaces for medical staff have been provided, Zaki Ghiacy, Director at McBains Cooper commenting “We wanted to use a mixture of softer, more ‘domestic’ materials to reflect the buildings use whilst responding to the contemporary look and feel of the main building”. Flag-Soprema MD Steve Greaves added, “This type of design shows how virtually any living space can be designed to incorporate a green roof area. The fact that it has been used within a hospital of worldwide reputation is good for the green roof industry as a whole.”

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