Living Roofs- Grow Your Own Roof

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The beautiful rests on the foundations of the necessary. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

 A Growing Trend

To some, growing plants on our rooftops is a new concept. To others, living roofs are a common, even essential, practice that have been utilized the world-over for centuries. A living roof, also known as a green roof, is a roof of a building that is planted with vegetation and a growing medium over a waterproof membrane. Additionally, A green roof includes a root barrier, drainage, and an irrigation system. Living roofs, as mentioned by roofing contractors, are hypernyms of green roofs; the term ‘green roof’ can include roofs that utilize green technology such as solar panels or roofs that utilize green infrastructure such as water filtration pond systems. For the purpose of this post, I will use the term ‘green roofs’ as that planted with vegetation.

We at TLC, love the planning and detail that goes into selecting and planting vegetation to transform a landscape, whether it is in your yard or on your roof. But perhaps even more, we enjoy the value that is received by our work. The value of implementing a green roof are plenty. In fact, cities worldwide are incorporating regulation into their building and zoning codes to promote the increase of green roofs. The city of Zurich, since 1991, has had a law stating all flat roofs, unless used for terraces, be greened roofed surfaces. The advantages of this policy has resulted in increased biodiversity, rainwater storage and outflow delay, and micro-climatic compensation (temperature extremes, radiation balance, evaporation and filtration efficiency). In the United States, especially in Chicago, we are seeing green roofs becoming increasingly popular as well, this is likely to further progress as families strive for more efficient use of resources. The benefits of a green roof are so impressive, you just might be persuaded to install one of your own.

Environmental Benefits

  • Reduce heating and cooling
  • Rainwater storage and reduce storm water runoff
  • Help insulate building from noise
  • Dust suppression
  • Increased agricultural space
  • Habitats for birds and insects
  • Filter pollutants and carbon dioxide out of the air
  • Micro-climatic compensation
  • Quality of living and working environment: usable open spaces
  • Reduction of surface level ozone

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Financial Benefits

  • Dramatically increase life span of roof membrane
  • Increase real estate value
  • Reduction in energy usage and costs
  • Federal and local tax advantages

Two Main Types of Green Roofs

There are two main types of green roofs: intensive roofs and extensive roofs, as Overhead Roofing Of Colorado Springs notes. Intensive roofs are thicker and can support a wider variety of plants; being of substantial heft, they require more maintenance. Extensive roofs are lighter and utilized for a light layer of vegetation. They are designed to be self-sustainable, thus requiring minimal upkeep. Extensive green roofs customarily support 10-25 pounds of vegetation per square foot while intensive roofs can support 80-150 pounds per square foot.

There is a lot to consider when designing and installing a green roof. The possibilities are endless, and the return on your investment is too. Give TLC a call if you would like to further discuss the opportunities that a green roof could bring to your property.

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