A green roof or “living roof” is a growing trend which offers visually stunning features that also expands your outdoor square footage. Green roofs are designed to absorb heavy rainfall, reduce flooding and also, extend the life of your roof by protecting it from all of the outside elements. The most important feature of an environmentally friendly roof is that it insulates your home by reducing the temperature inside and helping the environment!
You may choose to put a living roof on your home for environmental purposes, the first thing you will want to do is find a local roofing company and green roof supplier to help you design and install your green roof properly. There are many features to a living roof that cannot be added once it is installed for depth reasons, so it is important to fully design what you want with your local roofing company.
Some things to carefully consider while planning out your green roof are, the types of plants you’re interested in having, how much added weight from the soil and moisture will be retained, and the climate your home is in. If your home is in a climate that goes through all of the seasons then it is important to consider the added weight of snowfall on top of what you are adding to your living roof.
What are the benefits of having a green roof?
Green roofs promote environmental health and local biodiversity by combining these unique features to reduce energy from greenhouse gas emissions. By choosing native or endangered species types of plants to put on your living roof, you will also provide food for bugs and other animals along with a habitat. Another benefit to a green roof is its ability to soak up storm-water and reduce the impact on animal habitats without flooding during heavy rain. Absorption of storm-water is filtered through soil, replenishes aquifers and flows back into streams and rivers which ultimately improves water quality.
An environmentally friendly roof is not only limited to housing endangered or native plants, you can also create a home for bees! If you are interested in cultivating homegrown honey then you’re in luck, our local roofing experts say that it’s no problem to house beehives on your green roof. Always be sure that you’re checking with your local roofing company to check weight limits and not exceed structural load limits. It is also important to check out any local by laws that pertain to regulating and maintaining beehives in your area.
Farming on a living roof:
Growing not only a variety of wild plants on your living roof, but also the produce you eat is another amazing benefit to a green roof. Planning is the most important step when deciding what you want to grow and what type of support it will need. If you want to grow large and tall plants be sure to let your local roofing contractor know ahead of time so he can better help your architect or structural engineer with the design.
Costs associated with having a living roof:
People are not interested in putting a green roof on their home because they are looking to save money, these people are intrigued by its environmental impact and aesthetic appeal. Having an environmentally friendly roof will have more costs associated with it and maintenance that is ongoing. Landscaping is an added cost that most people already take on for their homes and a living roof is no different, trimming plants and watering everyday are a required upkeep. You may not be able to do all the maintenance yourself because it is up on your roof, certain equipment and tools are required. It is recommended to consider exactly what type of maintenance you’ll need for your living roof and consult with your local roofing contractor and green roof supplier for more information.
How often does your green roof need watering?
This answer depends on many factors, the type of plants you have chosen and the climate that you live in will all yield different answers. Drought resistant roof plants such as sedums can last long periods of time without being watered, compared to flowers and produce vegetables which will need much more attention. Trimming your plants like watering is another required task, whether it be mowing the surrounding grass or tending to moss. A professional landscaper can advise you on the exact maintenance you can expect for your environmentally friendly roof.
Protecting your living roof in the winter:
Planting the types of plant species that can withstand the environment of your green roof so you won’t have to make preparations in the winter time, will save a lot of time and stress. Your local environment will determine which plants are appropriate. Even if you love the look of sedums it’s important to know how they’ll handle the freezing temperatures, and same with warmer weathered climates. Cold weather perennials wouldn’t last in the warmer climate, so do some research to find the best types of plants for your living roof.
- Clearing drains & gutters: During the winter months moisture accumulates on your roof and after the snow and ice melts a large amount of stress is put upon the roof. If the drainage system is not efficiently working water will begin to seem through the weakest points. Inspecting gutters and drains regularly will save you time and money in the long run.
- Snow removal: Depending on your area you may get more or less snow, as snow begins to collect on your roof it should be designed so that the load is evenly spread out. The best method of snow removal on your green roof is a simple shoveling; so you do not ruin or disrupt your plants.
- Waterproofing: When you are working with your local roofing contractor you can explain to them how important waterproofing will be for your green roof. From the summers of constant watering and rainfall to the winters of snow melting, you will need to make sure all precautions are taken so you roof does not leak. Making a check list to inspect the caulking to make sure everything is sealed properly, check surrounding areas for water & wind erosion, and deterioration from exposure to the outside elements.
Dealing with repairs on a green roof:
Unlike shingled asphalt roofs that are constantly exposed to the elements, a green roof is not exposed so repairs are not frequently necessary. It is necessary for your environmentally friendly to have a root barrier which acts like a waterproof membrane to reduce the likelihood of needing to make repairs.