3 Tips For Making The Most Of Your Roof

3 Tips For Making The Most Of Your Roof

“The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire”. Okay, not quite, but those solar panels are keeping things pretty warm up there.

1. Green roofs

Living Roofs Aotearoa lists the main benefits of installing a green roof as insulating the building below, providing better stormwater management and maximising marketable meterage by turning a barren space into a usable one. It is this literal pay-off – increasing the value of your property by 11%* – which is being emphasised by Bayleys National Director of Commercial Real Estate, John Church. “We’ve noted the increased financial outlay at the construction phase can reap significant cost savings and provide sustainability benefits for building owners and tenants,” he says.

Who’s doing it? Central Otago’s Mt Difficulty Winery found converting its entire 900m 2 roof into a living entity in 2013 succeeded in dragging heating and cooling costs down, while boosting the aesthetic appeal of the restaurant and tasting rooms housed below it. Meanwhile, in Central Auckland, the NZI Centre became the country’s first commercial building to receive a 5-Star Green Star rating for its 350m 2 living roof – which was increased to 5.5 stars after said living roof breathed life into the centre’s energy efficiency, increasing it by 17%.

2. Solar panels

Solar power systems are especially suited to commercial buildings who operate during daylight hours, because obviously that’s when the system is producing its energy. Once paid off, a commercial solar power system has the potential to save businesses thousands of dollars each year – especially now costs have dropped in New Zealand from $40,000 for a 3kW system seven years ago to around $10,000 in 2016.

Who’s doing it? South Auckland Forging Engineering Ltd in Drury boasts one of New Zealand’s largest solar power systems, with 360 solar panels powering the workshop. The 68-kilowatt solar farm provides 70% of S.A.F.E's power needs – a large motivation behind the initiative. Meanwhile, down south, Yealands Estate Winery in Blenheim covered its entire roof in solar panels in 2013. Their 99kW PV system converts sunlight into enough direct current voltage to power 18 New Zealand homes – or to make one New Zealand winery carbon neutral.

3. Bee havens

You may be surprised to learn that urban bees tend to produce more honey than those in the country, because bees don’t tend to stray far from their hive and there are more varied food sources in high-density areas. For warehouse and factory owners looking to utilise their substantial roofs, why not help save the world’s dwindling bee population while creating a “woah, what is that?” roof? You can, of course, market this bee saving – and their honey.

Who’s doing it? In Christchurch, Ballantynes, Ara Institute of Canterbury and C1 Espresso Cafe have all installed rooftop beehives, with Ballantynes selling its honey under the Ballantynes Rooftop Bees brand. But it is Central Auckland’s Designworks that takes the honey-cake, currently housing 60,000 honeybees on its rooftops. Auckland Council’s Place Activations Team is now investigating how more rooftops can support local hives and make Auckland the safest city in the world for bees. Let them know if you can help. And let Bayleys know if we can help you find a bee-friendly warehouse or factory – or a solar or living roof capable building, for that matter.