The UK’s blue roof market has become increasingly important in recent years as a way to manage urban stormwater runoff. The sector has delivered a staggering year on year growth of 21% according to the Environment Agency, worth around £7.5 million in 2019 and rising to £16 million in 2023, and offers massive opportunities for roofing contractors writes Justin Pitman, sales director of Proteus Waterproofing.

Blue roofs are designed to reduce the amount of water that enters drainage systems, helping to control and prevent flooding – and with more extreme climate events, this market is expected to continue growing due to increased demand for sustainable drainage systems.

While there is no official count of the number of blue roofs in the UK, it is estimated that there are around 2,000 currently in existence. This number is expected to grow significantly in the coming years as the benefits of blue roofs become more widely recognised and as regulations require new developments to include sustainable drainage systems.

To be more precise, the potential for growth in the blue roof market over the next 10 years is significant. The UK government has set a target to increase the use of sustainable drainage systems by 80% by 2025, which includes blue roofs. This target, along with increasing awareness of the benefits of blue roofs, are the factors expected to drive growth in this market.

Take into account that the construction industry is becoming increasingly focused on sustainable development, which includes the use of green and blue roofs, then it is almost certain that blue roofs will become a more common feature in new developments and refurbishment projects over the next decade.

Stormwater management is an essential part of urban planning and design and delivers numerous benefits in addition to reducing the risk of flooding. Improving water quality, particularly when rainwater runs off hard surfaces, is a key factor.

Under such conditions, rainwater can pick up pollutants such as oil, grease and chemicals, which can then enter the waterways. Blue roofs release that water slowly, which allows it to be naturally filtered and cleansed. This helps to reduce the number of pollutants that enter the waterways and improves water quality.

Reducing the urban heat island effect is another major benefit. This is a phenomenon where urban areas are significantly warmer than rural areas. This is due to the amount of heat that is absorbed by hard surfaces such as roads, buildings and pavements.

Blue roofs help to reduce the urban heat island effect by providing a cooling effect. When rainwater is retained on the roof, it evaporates over time, which cools the roof surface and reduces the amount of heat that is absorbed by the building.

Blue roofs are also proven to help to reduce energy consumption. By providing a cooling effect, they can reduce the need for air conditioning during hot summer months, resulting in significant energy savings and lower utility bills.

For contractors wanting to sell the benefits of a blue roof to domestic users there is also a good argument that they can increase property values. Buildings that are equipped with sustainable features are becoming increasingly popular among buyers and tenants. A blue roof can help to distinguish a building from others on the market and attract buyers who are interested in sustainable living.

Proteus Waterproofing is a company that specialises in the design and installation of high-quality waterproofing solutions, including blue roofs. In terms of installation, they do not differ too much from a conventional flat roof requiring a waterproof membrane, a drainage and protection layer.

That said, a blue roof by its very nature commands a premium price offering many advantages for roofing contractors prepared to install something different – and we at Proteus Waterproofing can help with technical support and all the right systems to deliver a perfect job every time.

As has been demonstrated – the potential for growth is enormous – as climate change continues to affect our environment and new regulations come into force to reduce the impact of flooding.