A Magheramorne-based company is celebrating after making it through to the final of a prestigious business awards competition.
Green Roofs Ireland, a local firm which grows and supplies green roofs to the construction industry, was one of 12 finalists in this year’s JFC Innovation Awards for Rural Business.
The company is owned by Raymond Harvey, whose family has been in the horticulture business for 22 years.
Set up six years ago, the business is the first on the island of Ireland to offer the complete service of growing and installing green roofs.
Green Roofs Ireland has gained a reputation in the industry for growing top-quality roofs and has won business on the back of it.
It has covered the roofs of hotels, hospitals and shopping centres as well as a growing number of houses. It even supplied material for a set on the popular TV show Game of Thrones.
The target customers are architects, public building contracts and new developments.
Raymond said: “It’s easier than it sounds.
“Firstly, we started up in 2008 just when the construction industry took a downturn. The biggest challenge was to get a turf with 100 per cent coverage.
“The concept of green roofs might be relatively new here, but in Tokyo all new construction uses green roofs and existing buildings must convert 20 per cent of their rooftops.
“Many more cities are integrating green roofs into development plans, which has opened up new markets.
“But it’s not just in Britain that there is potential. Donegal County Council currently has a green roof policy and more are set to follow.”
Raymond said that green roofs don’t just look good, but can help insulate a building, reducing heating or air conditioning costs.
He added: “They naturally filter the contaminants out of run-off water and as the roof absorbs water, it slows down the flow, helping minimise flooding.
“In the company’s first year in business the focus was on developing the turf and it made one living roof. In its second year it made 20 and in 2013 it completed over 150 roofs, a significant increase in the current economic environment.”
Speaking at the awards ceremony, David Small from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said:“This competition is all about encouraging and providing tangible support for innovation and wealth creation in the countryside.
“The need for rural dwellers to continue to investigate different ways of using their resources to secure a sustainable future for their families is greater than ever.”
Mr Small congratulated Green Roofs Ireland on their success in the 2014 JFC Innovation Awards. He also paid tribute to the overall winners, the four category winners and all 12 finalists.