17 April 2013 — A redeveloped child care centre, featuring a cutting edge, 450 square metre, lightweight green roof, is now open in a North Balwyn Park in Melbourne’s inner east.

It is the first time a green roof of its size has been created on top of a single storey building, outside Melbourne’s CBD and in a suburban park setting.

Minifie Childcare Centre’s green roof also helps the building blend with its surroundings.

City of Boroondara Mayor Jack Wegman said the city wanted to wanted to work with the parents and committee at Minifie Park Childcare Centre to build something that suited the setting and created a safe haven for birds and insects indigenous to the area.

The roof is lightweight and supports smaller indigenous plants that grow no higher than one metre.

The roof can only be accessed by city maintenance staff via a ladder so cats, dogs and foxes cannot reach the roof top microenvironment, providing a haven for native ground-nesting birds and insects.

The roof’s plants and soil insulate the childcare centre, reducing energy needs. The plants’ respiration creates a kind of natural evaporative cooling in the warmer months, cutting the roof surface temperature by up to 30 degrees in summer.

Mr Wegman said the it was hoped the “cheaper, simpler, lightweight green roof” would create more interest in the concept and inspire smaller organisations, developers and private citizens to consider building a green roof of their own”.

“The Minifie Park Childcare Centre roof shows you don’t need millions of dollars to do it.”

The structural, mechanical and electrical engineer was Irwin Consulting, the architect was Fooks Martin Sandow Anson, hydraulics engineer was Protype, quantity surveyor was Prowse Quantity Surveyors and landscape consultant was Jeavons Landscape Architects.

The project was managed by Boroondara City Council which was also the building surveyor.

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