With the population blasting and the environment is increasingly damaged, experts are looking forward to technological solutions that can incorporate both. Thus, the idea of a roof covered with thriving vegetation has taken shape and is becoming increasingly popular. Envisioning a city’s infrastructure covered in plants and flowers and not in asphalt and bricks feels like a fantasy movie that has come true.
The green roof technology is not only more efficient but is also beautiful and highly useful. Green rooftops of office buildings can serve as a rooftop retreat for the employees, while those of apartments and residential buildings offer people a private space to relax and raise a garden with plants of their choice. In contrast, non-accessible green roofs offer stunning natural views for surrounding building owners.
Thus, if you’re considering installing one on your building, here are some things you might need to refer to before starting the project.
What is a green roofing?
Green roofing means building a “contained” green space on top of the structures with flat roofs. A green roof system is an extension of the existing roof of a building used for growing flora. A green has the following minimum requirements-
- A less than 20-30 degrees of a roof slope
- High-quality water-proofing membrane
- Root repellent system to keep the structure safe and undamaged
- A filter cloth and a light-weight growing medium
- A layer of soil, with your choice of plants/vegetation
The first thing to consider while installing a green roof is to ensure if your green roof will be able to take the weight of a full-grown garden. For this, you need to take into account the dry weight of your garden and also the weight when it is subjected to its first downpour. Your roof may require some additional support before starting, so don’t hesitate to provide so.
Types of green roofing
There are two primary forms of green roofing differentiated on the basis of various factors. They are-
Extensive roofs- These green roofs can support up to 25 pounds of vegetation per square foot and have a thinner layer of soil that is suitable for growing shallow-rooted plants such as mosses. Here the plants are left to grow naturally, without any restrictions. An extensive roof garden is fairly easy to maintain, as the plants are grown such that they can take care of themselves as they would in the wild, and would only require yearly weeding and fertilization.
Intensive roofs- These roofs can hold 150 pounds of vegetation per square foot and have deeper soil to sustain trees with stronger roots. This type of roof requires a lot of hard work to maintain them, as would be required as maintaining an actual garden.
Pros of a green roof system
Improved air quality plants absorb carbon dioxide—a greenhouse gas and release oxygen, thereby naturally purifying the air around them. The plants on green roofs also filter noxious gases, and absorb other airborne pollutants, and suspended dust particles in the air. Additionally, they provide shade and cool the surrounding areas, thus maintaining the low city temperatures.
These temperature moderating effects of green roofs help to reduce demand on power plants, thus, providing substantial thermal performance over traditional roofs. The soil, vegetation, moisture, and respiration by the plants grown provide insulation, and have a cooling effect, as they absorb the energy of the sun.
Thus, the insulation offered by green roofs requires less energy to moderate the temperature of that building, and hence serve as energy-efficient alternatives.
In summers, the vegetative roofs are capable of retaining around 70-90% of the precipitation they receive, while in winter, their capacity falls to 25-40%. However, green roofs retain rainwater and naturally filter the water that happens to run off.
Thus, green roofs are beneficial in reducing the amount of storm-water runoff and delaying the periods of runoff, ultimately reducing the stress on sewer systems during peak seasons.
One of the major advantages of installing green roof technology is that a well-designed green roof can attract a wide variety of biodiversity, including various bird species such as birds, bees, butterflies. If maintained well, it can also serve as crucial habitat for their feeding and breeding—thus making the green roofs both socially and eco-friendly. They can also provide habitat for migrating birds and can help link species together that would otherwise remain fragmented.
Moreover, green roofs can sustain a variety of plants and invertebrates as well.
Cons of a green roof system
Expensive to install
Despite the increasing culture of green roof and advancement in its technology, installing one is still substantially more expensive as it requires highly skilled labor and non- conventional materials. Also, the insurance for green roofs is important, but at the same time, highly expensive.
All the dirt and vegetation add to the weight, and the pressure may cause sagging. Therefore, installing a green roof requires careful engineering. If you are replacing a traditional roof with a green roof, then significant structural enhancements are often required. Also, it can cause a nuisance in hurricane-prone areas, when fast winds can move its weight around, thus resulting in a roof collapse, along with all the mud and vegetation.
Difficult to maintain
Roof gardens contain plants that require intensive care. Therefore, even a well-designed green roof will require your period attention and watering. Additionally, you need to constantly monitor the plants since the roots of poorly chosen vegetation may damage the building by digging through the waterproof membrane and cause leaks over time—which is again time-consuming and costly.
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A beautiful and economical solution to all the woes, the green roof technology may seem like a far-fetched vision right now but is being widely adopted. It offers a wide range of public and private benefits, and technology has made way in many countries around the world. As technology continues to develop, experts predict to become green roofs considerably more common.
Thus, employ this technology with the help of a professional roof restoration team to get the best out of it without much hassle.