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SEL Environmental

SEL Environmental

Coventry University is working with environmentally-focused construction company SEL Environmental to investigate the improvements green rooves could bring to the biodiversity of urban areas


The Challenge:

SEL Environmental wanted to research the plausibility and benefits of incorporating green space and wildlife-friendly habitats into heavily built-up urban areas.

To do this, they wanted to research the use of green rooves – where the top of a building is partially or completely covered with vegetation planted over a waterproofing membrane – and see how far they could take this technology utilising their own intelligent water management systems.

The benefits of green rooves individually include the improvement and reduction of energy consumption, while a concentration across a large area has been proven to reduce temperatures in the surrounding climate.

It is this larger concentration, creating a ‘network’ of green rooves, each bringing a different, unique climate contribution, that SEL want to focus on.


The Solution:

Sophie Barron-West was recruited by Coventry University to oversee a two-year KTP(Knowledge Transfer Partnership) project for SEL in the role of Associate.


Through the KTP, SEL have also been able to access the research expertise of Dr Steve Coupe and Dr Liz Trenchard, based within the University’s Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience.

The aim of the project is to realise the potential for green rooves to create new urban habitat, thereby enhancing local ecological diversity.


The Impact

The work has resulted in:

  • Ground-breaking analysis into how different types of green rooves can be created and maintained and what their benefits would be alongside others in a built up area.
  • The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience has been used to experiment with different types of green roof technology in order to get a wider understanding of how different types of plant life can thrive.
  • Sophie Barron-West and SEL Environmental have been able to utilise SEL’s intelligent water management systems to make huge improvements to the maintenance and drainage side of green roof technology, which can often suffer from drought.
  • As the project is particularly forward-thinking in a constantly evolving sector, SEL Environmental have been approached by leading green roof technology companies for advice on how to maximise pollination due to their interest in the KTP.
  • SEL are able to ensure they are completely up-to-date with any new trends or advances made in the world of green rooves occurring outside of the KTP thanks to the University team’s focus on the subject.

The KTP between SEL Environmental and Coventry University is beneficial for us because we believe that the scope for water managed green rooves to improve the biodiversity of urban areas is huge.

It is an extremely complex thing to get right and we believe that the mix of expertise created by this relationship, as well as the focus and commitment offered by Sophie Barron-West, has allowed us to make great strides.

This is our second KTP with Coventry University and we believe that this project in particular is something that will continue to grow over the years, so the relationship does not just end when the KTP comes to a close.

Andy Shuttleworth, Managing Director of SEL Environmental

SEL Environmental are an incredibly exciting company to work alongside, they have carried out some major projects in recent years and we are delighted to be able to work with them to find solutions to an issue as unique as this.

“The interest this has sparked from companies not directly involved in the KTP is proof of just how forward-thinking this project has been for both sides.

Dr Steve Coupe, Research Fellow at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience
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