Innovation at Ecobuild – Introducing BioSOLAR

Deciding between a green roof and photovoltaics (PV) has been a question faced by many industry professionals over recent years when designing a flat roof; however these two technologies are no longer mutually exclusive options with the introduction of Bauder BioSOLAR, which will be officially launched at this year’s Ecobuild.

A biosolar roof is the successful combination of biodiverse and extensive green roofs with photovoltaic systems, delivering a duality of technologies for environmental advantage and increased profitability for your client or building owner.

Although designed primarily for new build applications where this synergy of solutions is often required to meet planning and BREEAM requirements; the biosolar system can also be retrofitted on many existing roofs without the need for any structural modification to the building. The construction industry has long been calling for rooftop solutions that include a duality of technologies for environmental advantage, and a biosolar roof delivers just that providing reciprocal benefits from the PV module and green roof components.

Biosolar roofs deliver all the benefits of green roofs and solar power in a synergy of technologies that maximises PV output and the footprint for the green roof:

  • Cooling effect of vegetation increases solar output by up to 5 per cent
  • Green roof element acts as ballast so waterproofing is not penetrated
  • Entire roof qualifies as biodiverse green roof by maximising area for vegetation
  • Shade tolerant species thrive under PV creating more diverse flora and fauna community

The integration of PV and green roof technologies requires skill and expert understanding and there are already examples of where biosolar roofs have been poorly designed and installed. Designs that do not perform optimally for both technologies are often as a result of people assuming that the solar panels require more technical input than the green roof.

Getting the green roof element wrong can mean the vegetation is forced to grow around the panels, which results in shadowing and therefore reduced energy generation.

For many PV systems shadowing on one panel can subsequently have a detrimental impact on the overall performance of the entire string of modules. Ultimately, a collaborative approach is needed throughout the design and procurement process from all project stakeholders to ensure the maximum benefit for the building owner.

With flat roof manufacturer Bauder able to supply all of the waterproofing, green roof and PV elements it gives you total confidence that this energy efficient and cohesive solution is the right one for your project.

Switzerland, Germany and various other European countries have already proven that when planned, designed and installed well, solar and green roofs can improve the performance of both elements. There are many local authorities in the UK requesting that new developments seek to incorporate, where suitable, PV and green roofs into their designs, however not many are yet calling for biosolar technology, which is something that must change for this combined system to truly take off and become commonplace.

Bauder was the first company to introduce green roofs to the UK over 30 years ago and it is now bringing to market its own innovative PV mounting system for biodiverse and extensive green roofs, Bauder BioSOLAR.

The Bauder BioSOLAR system uses the substrate and vegetation to provide the ballasted installation mechanism, removing the need to penetrate the waterproofing to secure the mounting units to the roof and simultaneously makes the most of the available area for vegetation, enabling the entire roof to qualify as a biodiverse green roof.

A key feature of Bauder’s unique system is that the front edge of the polycrystalline PV panel is raised 300mm above the finished green roof level, allowing light and moisture to reach beneath the panels whilst ensuring the mature vegetation will not shade the panels and can be easily maintained. The mixture of sunny, shaded and sheltered areas together with a variable depth of FLL compliant extensive substrate gives a matrix of different habitats that allow a broader range of plant species to thrive, and a rich foraging environment for bees and insects.

The BioSOLAR solution also delivers advantages to the building, as the cooling effect of the vegetation and water held within the green roof system preserves the ambient temperature around the PV array, which in turn increases the solar output by over 5 per cent (studies in Germany have shown that PVs work most efficiently with a temperature of around 24°C).

The PV mounting frame features a 100 per cent recycled high-density polyethylene base board and consists of just three components – a quick fix angle support, profile module rail and module fixings – that make for an extremely quick and simple installation process.

Bauder BioSOLAR will be officially launched to the widespread construction industry in March at Ecobuild 2016 – the world’s leading event for sustainable design, construction, energy and the built environment. Now in its 12th year the highly anticipated event is expected to attract over 40,000 industry professionals and includes a tantalizing speaker line-up that includes comedian and TV personality Stephen Fry.

BauderSOLAR Product Manager Tom Raftery will be in attendance and is set to deliver an exclusive new seminar on how biosolar roofs can help you meet BREEAM targets, planning conditions and the Merton rule (Wednesday 9th March 1:30pm-2pm at Specifier Live near the Discover Zone in ExCeL London).

This discussion will also cover the biosolar design and installation pitfalls to beware of and how to avoid them to ensure your warranty is sound and not fragmented to safeguard your client.

Tom and the rest of the Bauder team will be available to answer any technical questions that you may have about current or future projects on Stand E4090, across from the Discover Zone near the N3 entrance, so be sure to visit them.