The SSE Hydro’s Green Roof challenges are solved by Blackdown Green Roof

Posted by david.luukas

The SSE HydroBlackdown Green Roofs from Alumasc has boosted the green credentials and provided an attractive feature, at Glasgow’s newest landmark venue.

The SSE Hydro is a £125million entertainment and sporting venue, which, since its opening in late 2013, has already achieved “Most stylish Entertainment Venue” at the 2013 Scottish Style Awards and the ‘Architectural Excellence Award (Public Building)” at the Scottish Property Awards.


The Blackdown Intensive Green Roof system was specified by architects Foster and Partners, who were looking for a sustainable solution to complement the strong design features of the building’s main entrance. The system comprised of 37,000 Lonicera Nitida ‘Maygreen’ shrubs, planted to form a thick, hardy green mat over the low level ‘skirt’ above the entrance of the arena.


The installation at the SSE Hydro presented a number of challenges, due to the varying pitch of the roof and the requirement for the planting system to be fed on a regular basis.

The SSE Hydro, Blackdown Greenroofs


Paul Otway, Head of Contracts at Blackdown Green Roofs, explains:

“Due to the fluctuation of pitches in the roof, from between 8 and 52 degrees we had to work closely with our supply partners to devise an innovative solution for the delivery and application of 1,020m3 of substrate that was to be used on the roofs. Our successful methodology meant that the amount of manual handling of materials was kept to a minimum and the installation was completed within the time scales agreed.

Blackdown also supplied an automatic irrigation system to ensure that the planting is permanently fed and watered with minimal manpower requirements.”


Blackdown Green Roofs are constructed from a range of components that replicate the natural growing environment for plants, without requiring the same depth and weight of construction.

Green roof plants are cultivated at Blackdown’s nurseries in the Blackdown Hills, Somerset and form part of the company’s intensive, extensive and bio-diverse systems. Blackdown specialise in the design, supply, installation and maintenance of roof planting systems, capitalising on their horticultural expertise and green roof experience.

Green roofs improve a building’s thermal performance, increase rainwater retention thereby reducing storm water run-off, and reduce the life-cycle costs of a roof by protecting it from climatic changes, UV light and mechanical damage.

Blackdown greenroofs logo

In addition, they provide wider benefits, such as helping to reduce the heat island effect within cities, increasing both the absorption of CO2 and biodiversity levels.


Visit the website at: or call 01460 234582 for more information on how Blackdown can help with the supply and installation of quality green roof systems.

grass, strip, blackdown, green roofs

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