A Garden By Any Other Name: The Green Roofing Trend

Roofing Contractors of Washington state educate their customers about eco-friendly vegetative roofs.

There are Myriad Benefits to Green Roofs, but They Must Be Carefully Planned

While the idea of a raised garden bed has often been a point of discussion, recently there has been a trend toward raising the garden to an even higher point: the roof. Green roofs are becoming more and more common in the cityscapes, especially in countries like Germany and Switzerland. As the US strives to find more ecologically sound solutions for the warming climate and the problem of reliable, sustainable energy, the green roof trend has made its way across the pond. If you are looking for a way to live a more sustainable life, a green roof may be a good choice for your home or business. 

What is a Green Roof?

So, what exactly is a green roof? A green roof, also known as a vegetative roof or eco-roof, is composed of several layers of waterproofing, insulation, and growing medium (such as dirt and mulch) topped with any variety of plants. It can only be done on a flat or slightly sloped roof, but the plants used vary depending on the climate and depth of the soil or growing medium. It can be a garden or an extra recreational space. It is a particularly valuable commodity in urban areas where green spaces are scarce.  

Basic Designs of the Green Roof

There are several types of designs that are available in green roofs including intensive, extensive, and semi-intensive. No matter which type of roof a person chooses, all green roofs do share certain components in the layers that are required to make them work:

  • Support structure for Roof
  • Insulation
  • Roof Membrane/Waterproof layer
  • Root deterrent
  • Filtration/Water Drainage
  • Growth Medium
  • Plants/Vegetation

Green roofs are sometimes sold as sheets of each layer while at other times they are sold as modular pieces that contain all the layers in connectable units. Before installing a green roof, the load-bearing and slope of a building’s original roof must be taken into account, so a roof inspection would definitely be necessary. 

What are the Benefits of Investing in a Green Roof?

Now we come to the real question. Why should you even consider investing in a green roof? Are there reasons beyond the simple motivation to be more ecologically friendly? In fact, there are many reasons that both individuals and entire communities can benefit from green roofs.

  • Heating and Cooling Costs: Green roofs act as insulation for roofing against winter cold and summer heat. This prevents a great deal of energy waste from the HVAC system. They have been measured to cut energy costs by 40-60%.
  • Prolongs Roof Life: Because the roof is covered and not exposed to the extremes of heat and cold, the roof may last longer without needing roofing repair. 
  • Drainage: The vegetation and growing medium used in green roofs absorb up to 75% of the rain that falls on them. This can prevent problems of an overwhelmed drainage system. 
  • Filtration:  Plants are known for their properties of air and water filtration. Cleaner air and water make for healthier people. The vegetation on green roofs has been shown to reduce air pollution including smog and other particulate matter.
  • Animal Havens and Habitats: Green roofs draw small animals and insects that can be beneficial to the environment such as pollinators like butterflies and bees.

These are just a few of the positive things that can be said about green roofs.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Just like any garden or any roof, green roofs cannot function without proper maintenance. The vegetation will need watering, whether manually or through an irrigation system. The support system likewise may need an inspection by a roofing company. A roofer that has experience with green roofs is a must. This sort of roofing maintenance can prevent a roof leak before it starts.

About Cobalt Exteriors, Inc.

Cobalt Exteriors has been offering personalized roofing, deck and siding services in Woodinville, WA for more than 30 years. Call today for a free quote on any exterior service whether residential or commercial.