Driving sustainability in pitched roofing

15 June, 23

With an increasing focus on sustainability, spurred on by the UK Government’s Spring budget pledge of £20 billion towards Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage, and the extension of the Climate Change Agreement scheme, businesses are focused on taking action.

For the construction industry and equally, developers and planners, the issue of not knowing what a sustainable building product can be the source of confusion. To address this, Dan Hancox, Business Support Manager at Russell Roof Tiles, has delved into how pitched concrete roof tiles can offer a sustainable solution.

For more than four decades green roofing solutions have been popular in urban environments and have been seen as the only sustainable option within many European countries. The UK has recently seen a surge in this type of roofing solution, with Peacehaven near Brighton being one of the most well-known green roof projects.

For obvious reasons, green roofing systems may be seen as the ‘go-to’ choice for sustainable buildings; supporting wildlife habitats, boosting thermal performance and diverting water from drainage systems are just a few.

However, green roofs are not always feasible as factors such as structural stability, installation time and ongoing maintenance heavily affect the success of the roofing system. Plus, in areas where structures need to blend with the local aesthetic or harmonise with historical buildings, green roofs are not always a viable solution.

One suitable alternative is concrete roof tiles as they are easy to install, aesthetically pleasing, require very little maintenance and can be used with renewable energy systems like solar panels – making them a great option for planners and developers.

Concrete roof tiles also require less energy for production than their clay counterparts; since clay needs to be fired in a kiln at a temperature of over 1,000 degrees for up to two days, whereas concrete only needs to be cured for around 24 hours at a much lower temperature, amounting to a 30 percent reduction in energy usage.

Specifically thinner leading-edge concrete roof tiles can be a really good sustainable roofing solution. These tiles use 15 per cent less raw materials than a standard concrete roof tile and the product has less depth. This means that around 20 per cent more tiles can be packed onto a pallet which equates to a much lower carbon footprint when transporting them.

However, sustainability goes beyond just products, it is about ensuring every part of the supply chain is doing more to be energy efficient and reduce emissions.

These can be small changes such as using recycled packaging, signing up to a pallet return scheme or even making the switch to electric equipment where possible, which is something that Russell Roof Tiles have done recently to reduce emissions across its sites by investing in a fleet of electric forklifts.

As a prominent manufacturer of concrete pitched roof tiles, the company has made major investments in sustainability across its three sites and I’ve been proud to be leading the task force to analyse new initiatives and develop methods that can help us foster a more sustainable future for the construction industry.

Working with external sustainability advisors such as Planet Mark, we have conducted an in-depth assessment of our environmental impact throughout our production and delivery operations. This review follows the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and considers all Scope 1, 2 & 3 components, including transportation.

All our timber pallets used to transport goods are FSC-approved, and our logistics team work to consolidate delivery shipments to reduce our fleet emissions. We’ve also redesigned our packaging with increased amounts of recycled material, in an effort to make our entire process more sustainable.

Russell Roof Tiles has always been at the forefront of sustainability and was the first UK roof tile manufacturer to have achieved an “Excellent” rating for responsible sourcing. Last year, Russell Roof Tiles also announced plans to become a Net Zero business by 2040.
For more information, please visit www.russellrooftiles.co.uk

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