With summer on the way and utility costs at an all-time high, it’s not surprising to learn that green roofing options have never been more popular. Green roofs are, as the name implies, green. Not just in the sense that they’re environmentally friendly. They’re green because they are made up of plant life. Green roofs come in three types:
· Ornamental roof gardens are made to be seen. They typically have a wide variety of plant life and as a result are quite difficult to maintain
· Green roofs with less soil and a narrower range of plant life are lower maintenance and less expensive
· The third type requires almost no maintenance at all and is covered with sedums and mosses and whatever grows all on its own
How green roofs work
To make a green roof, soil is placed on top of a waterproof membrane that covers the roof. Vegetation is planted into the soil. The vegetation can be any plant life that can survive in that climate; it’s entirely up to the homeowner. Some homeowners opt for a single kind of simple plant, while others plan elaborate rooftop gardens with a variety of vegetables and other plant life.
The layer of soil and the plant life acts as a natural insulator lowering heating costs by keeping homes much cooler in the warmer months. In urban areas, a large number of green roofs can actually lower the ambient temperature in the area because the plant life absorbs sunlight and uses it for energy. Green roofs also reduce noise pollution and decrease rain runoff.
Things to think about
If you’re seriously considering a green roof, there are some things you’ll want to consider first. Keep in mind that maintaining a green roof is typically harder than maintaining a traditional roof, especially if you opt for more complex rooftop garden. Most homeowners can’t keep up with the work required to maintain a green roof unless they go with a very simple one. Another consideration is the weight. Some green roofs can be very heavy. Not all homes can withstand the weight. If you have an older home especially, you should consult with a roofer who specializes in green roofing to see if it is a feasible option for your home.
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