University of Sheffield buildings with green roofs

The University of Sheffield has embraced green roof technology: both for its benefits to the built environment, and to support Sheffield City Council vision of Sheffield as the UK’s green roof capital. Most buildings the University has built since 2005 feature intentionally vegetated green roofs; and some existing buildings with suitable structures have been retro fitted with green roofs.

Sir Robert Hadfield – Green Roof Centre Demonstration Site

Demo2.jpgThe Sir Robert Hadfield building is home to the Engineering Materials Department and on Floor E is the Green Roof Centre Demonstration Site. The 500m2 area is designed to show the diverse and varied opportunities and possibilities that green roofs can bring to an urban environment. Varying depths and recipes of substrate are used throughout the site, providing a range of common green roof build-ups. Plant specification and layout was designed by Dr Nigel Dunnett and planted by volunteer students and Green Roof Centre staff. In the centre of the roof is the Information Lodge, designed and built by Handspring Design from green oak and larch. The Lodge is green roofed with Lindum Turf’s ‘Green Roof Mix’ pre-grown mats, and houses green roof displays and real-time data logging from the on-site research.

In addition to the demonstration areas, there are 10 raised research beds which are currently being used for PhD hydrology research.

Jessop West

Jessop1.jpgIn January 2009 the Jessop West building became the new home to the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, the Department of History and the School of Modern Languages and Linguistics. Designed by innovative Berlin Architects Sauerbruch Hutton, the eco-friendly building is a model of sustainability, with many features built into the design to maximise energy efficiency and make the best use of natural light.

Based around a central atrium, Jessop incorporates state-of-the-art design and comfortable working space. In addition there is a Campus Visitor Centre and café on the ground floor.

The whole building has in excess of 80% green roof cover, using highly screened demolition waste and loam as a growing medium. The green roofs and rainwater drainage are monitored as part ongoing PhD and Masters research.

Humanities Research Institute

HRI1.jpgIn 2006 this existing Georgian building was refurbished to very high specifications. The extension added to the building became The Douglas Knoop Centre, and Sheffield's first green-roof development. Providing the adjacent roof garden area to this handsome building. Imaginatively designed by the Bond Bryan partnership.

The green roof is a turf lawn with benches and ‘fresh air harvesters’, it only recently became accessible to conference attendees from the Douglas Knoop Centre.

Sound House

Soundhouse1.jpgThe Soundhouse has been specially designed to provide practice studios, rehearsal spaces and recording rooms for the University's Department of Music. The three-story building was designed by Carey Jones Architects and Jefferson Sheard Architects and was built by Kier Northern. The building is clad in black rubber giving it a quilted appearance and earning it the nickname of the 'music box'.

The Soundhouse has a lightweight green roof of sedum blanket and competes for space with mechanical plant on this relatively small building.

Regent Court

Regents-Court.jpgThe Regent Court building, finished in 1993 is home to several University departments, all with shared access to the internal, turfed court yard. What many of the occupants of the building don’t realise is that they are crossing a green roof every day to get in and out of their buildings. Sometimes referred to as a ‘podium deck’, the landscaped area within the four walls of the quadrangle is suspended above an underground car park.

The green roof design is a simple turf lawn with ornamental miniature furs and lavenders. Never-the-less the build-up below will be similar to most green roofs.

Arthur Willis Environment Centre

AWRC.jpgThe £4.5M Arthur Willis Environment Centre was officially opened in May 2009 and is named after Arthur Willis, the late Emeritus Professor of Botany. It provides a state of the art ‘Grodome’ in which 16 discrete units can be used to simulate plant growth conditions for different regions around the globe, as well as future climate scenarios. As a facility of the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences it provides dedicated laboratory, office and meeting room space to enable researchers to investigate the wide variety of environmental challenges facing the planet.

The main enclosed part of the building has a lightweight sedum blanket green roof system, covering almost all of the roof area.

The Ridge, Ranmoor Student Village

The Ranmoor Student Village development was completed in early September 2009. It consists of 6 separate blocks with 6 floors each.

Ranmoor has an on-site central focus point named The Ridge, which takes on a similar role to The Edge in the Endcliffe village, having a bar, laundrette, services desk, meeting rooms and other services in the building. The Ridge also has a green roof covering almost its entire area, design with a wildlife habitat in mind, the substrate is quite deep and course in nature.


ICOSS1.jpgThe Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences Building was built in 2005 without a green roof, but with a small walled off roof area at 1st floor level, which was unused.

Opposite ICOSS used to stand Jessop’s Hospital, St Georges Block. Jessop’s was the maternity hospital for the greater Sheffield area, almost anyone born in Sheffield since 1878 was delivered in this hospital. However, in late 2006 St Georges Block was demolished to make way for new buildings. Two tonnes, of the 150,000 tonnes of demolition waste now resides on part of the ICOSS roof, which created our very own biodiverse green roof.

Part of the area was sown with the Green Roof Centre seed mix, while the rest was left to its own devices. Only time will show what new things are born out of the Jessop’s building!

**We do not advise the use of unscreened demolition waste on green roofs.**