We are living in a period of transition where pollution has gotten to a severely damaging point and overpopulation is causing an increased need for urbanization. We are losing green space, which is decreasing environmental quality, especially when combined with our consumption and pollution. It is critical that we recover as much green space as we can to help reduce the environmental impact of development. Finding new ways to go green will not only have a positive and lasting effect on the environment but provide social and economic benefits as well. One way we can start recovering some greenery and help our environment is by installing green roofs to new and existing developments.
What is a green roof?
Green roofs are more common and popular in Europe, but this architectural style has been creeping into areas of America in recent years. Put simply, a green roof is a roof that is either completely or partially covered with vegetation, planted over a waterproofing membrane. It is a living, growing roof. There are two types of green roofs, intensive and extensive.
Intensive green roofs are more like elevated parks, usually offering walkways and benches, creating a more garden feel, while extensive green roofs exist solely for their environmental benefits, requiring less maintenance and are not usually accessible as a rooftop garden or park. To install a green roof you should hire someone experienced in green roofing like Southern Maryland Roofing.
Mitigation of Stormwater Runoff
This is often considered the primary benefit of having a green roof. In many urban areas, rapid runoff from regular roofs contribute to street flooding, erosion, and can even result in raw sewage, which is discharged directly into our rivers. Larger amounts of runoff also create a larger amount of water in need of treatment to become safe for drinking. Green roofs work to absorb a lot of stormwater, releasing it slowly over the course of several hours, and have been shown to absorb anywhere between 60 and 100% of the stormwater absorbed. Instead of stormwater becoming waste flooding the street, it gains a new purpose, fueling the greenery growth of a green roof.
Green roofs reduce the heat that passes through into a building. Vegetation helps cool the roof’s membrane as well as the building. Growing plants act as a protective insulating layer from the sun, shading the roof. This results in a lowered need for air conditioning in the Summer months. In the winter, green roofs help retain heat in the building, requiring less heat. This results in energy conservation and lowered electricity costs, a win for the environment, as well as your pocket.
Green Roofs Last Longer
Green roofs have vegetation that covers its waterproof membrane. This protects the membrane from UV damage, which would cause a standard roof to deteriorate over time. Membranes under green roofs last on average, twice as long as a standard roof. There is less need for repair or replacement of roof materials, which results in fewer maintenance costs and less material waste. While the initial cost of installing a green roof will be more than a traditional roof, the life cycle cost is competitive. Once installed, there is little maintenance costs, especially for extensive green roofs. Nature will take care of watering and growth for the most part, and you’ll be free to reap the benefits of the vegetation you choose to grow. There’s also the added benefit of cutting heating and cooling costs over the long term, overall making a green roof a great long term economic investment.
A green roof is an incredibly environmentally friendly element that not only will do the world well but look great too. These are especially ideal for more urban areas where greenery and nature are quickly disappearing in favor of high rise developments. Are you interested in learning more about your green roof options? Contact us today with any questions!