In Partnership With Zinco

Green Roof System Build-up “natureline” – with Elements from Renewable Raw Materials

Thanks to bioplastics, drainage element, protection mat and filter mat in this system green roof build-up now contribute materially to climate protection, in addition to their actual environmental function.

The drainage element in the “natureline” system build-up is produced mainly using sugar cane, the most efficient and largest capacity sugar plant worldwide. The process energy required to convert sugar to plastic is also drawn to a great extent from biomass. Sugar cane is grown in line with strict statutory requirements that take into consideration both social and environmental standards and the protection of nature (recognised as per EU biofuel regulation). The raw material is farmed and processed in the Federal State of Sao Paolo, about 2,000 km from the Amazon rainforest.

The protection mat and the filter mat in the “natureline” system build-up consist of PLA (polylactic acid). This bioplastic is created through the polymerisation of lactic acid, which is in turn a product of the fermentation of maize starch using lactic acid bacteria. One important advantage of PLA is the special diversity of this bioplastic, which can be adapted to be quickly biodegradable or to be permanently viable. Further advantages are its strength, thermoplasticity and its good processing characteristics on existing machinery in the plastics processing sector.

In combination with the roof substrate Zincolit®, a pure recycled product, this system build-up sets new standards in terms of ecology.

ZinCo developed the idea of a green roof system based on renewable raw materials together with Tecnaro GmbH, a pioneer in the field of biobased materials. Tecnaro GmbH has been very successful in the field of bioplastics since 1998 and at the Hannover Trade Fair in April was awarded the international GREEN BRAND Germany, among other things for the materials group ARBOBLEND. One type of material from this group was developed specifically for use with thermoformed applications such as drainage elements and it shows properties that are comparable with those of conventional polyethylene. With Tecnaro, ZinCo has found a partner who shares a common approach in terms of the requirements of quality and environmental sustainability.

It goes without saying that all parameters required for the application of a specific product are adhered to, which ensures the permanent reliability of the system build-up.

Technical Data*

Build-up height
ca. 90 mm

Weight, saturated
ca. 95 kg/m2

Water retention capacity
ca. 25 l/m2

*The values are typical for Central Europe and vary depending on the actual building and the location.

Why renewable raw materials?

In a time of increasing scarcity of fossil raw materials and of global warming, ZinCo has taken on the resulting challenge and is looking for suitable solutions for conserving natural resources. The use of renewable raw materials is an obvious solution and one that promises huge potential. Renewable raw materials are biomass sources from agricultural, forest or marine production. They are typically one or two-year old plants such as grain, maize, sugar cane, oleaginous crops, wood and in the future possibly even algae. Mankind is exploiting the advance work of nature here, for example as carbon is extracted from the atmosphere in the form of CO2 through the process of photosynthesis and is converted to energy-rich, organic compounds (biomass). The resulting sugar and other elements can be used as energy sources or chemical raw materials, for example for the production of bioplastics.

The decisive advantage of renewable raw materials compared with fossil raw materials is that they contribute to reducing the glasshouse effect and therefore play a role in climate protection. For example, when bioplastics are compared with fossil plastics (based on comparable applications) the savings in CO2 emissions are generally speaking between 20% and 80%.

Any decision to start using bioplastics is taken in the full knowledge that renewable agricultural raw materials are only available in limited supply. Agricultural land serves many purposes, in particular the cultivation of foodstuff. Given a usage of only 0.006% of the agricultural land worldwide (source: European bioplastics and IfBB Institut für Biokunststoffe und Bioverbundwerksstoffe), we are certain of one thing at ZinCo: The development of bioplastics and of sustainable concepts that are based on them, for example, green roofing, is the right way to go.

The future of building is Green!