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Green Roofs

Installing a green roof is one of the hottest trends in “green” construction. These attractive spaces not only enhance a buildings appearance, they can also provide much needed recreation space in a relaxing, peaceful environment. Green roofs improve a building’s energy efficiency by insulating from heating and cooling loss. They also help with storm water run off because they will retain 50% to 90% of rainfall on the roof. Green roofs are environmentally friendly, as they help reduce urban heat island problems and process airborne toxins while they re-oxygenate the air. Green roofs can be installed on almost any building, both commercial and residential.

If you are thinking of putting in a green roof, consider the following:

  • A shallow, lightweight roof can be installed in locations where no one will be walking on it. A waterproof membrane is laid over the top of the building, and as little as 3 inches of a special lightweight growing mixture is spread over it. Plants recommended for this type of roof include herbs, grasses and sedums because they are able to withstand the harsh growing conditions. These roofs require virtually no maintenance. They can be easy and inexpensive to install.
  • More elaborate green roofs that involve watering, fertilizing or mowing are also possible. These can be planted with flowers, vegetables, lawns, shrubs and even small trees. They can be paved with hardscape materials, and outdoor furniture for pedestrian use can be added. These roofs require special building materials and often need to be part of the initial construction of the building. These park like green roofs can be installed on top of office buildings, apartment complexes, retail stores and parking garages.

Green roofs have been safely used in Europe for many years. They are sure to be an increasingly popular option in North American.

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