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Learn about Green Roofing Options

Posted a few years ago by Rosie Wood - 1 Comments

Often when people say that a product is green, they do not literally mean the color green. Green plumbing, for example is about sustainable, and environmentally aware plumbing. Green roofing however, is literally green.

A green roof is covered in plants and sometimes it is called a living roof. It may look like a hobbit house, but the idea behind it is usually not to entertain movie viewers. The many reasons which people install a green roof include:

  • Insulation. The green roof reflects much of the heat and cold, regulating the temperature of the home. This can reduce electricity bills, which is a common reason which people use any green innovations.
  • Reducing the urban heat island effect. This concept is the warming of urban areas due to all the reflected surfaces. This effect can be reduced with a green roof which is less reflective than traditional roofing materials.
  • To create a place of refuge in the city. In cities green roofs can be a garden as well as a roof. This can also add value to the property as it creates another living space.
  • To reduce their carbon footprint. Green roofs absorb carbon dioxide, so environmentally aware people and companies use green roofing to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • To collect rain to reduce and slow down runoff. This is especially important in cities. Rainwater in cities usually reaches the river much faster than it would naturally, because of the flat, impermeable surfaces. The problems with this are that the rapid flow of water increases the potential of flash floods and more debris is carried into the river.
  • To assist in getting building plans accepted. In some areas, when trying for planning permission for a new build, the plans will have to mitigate undesirable environmental effects, such as natural habitats, visual appeal and permeable site area. A green roof can increase the chance of building plans being accepted.
  • Green roofs have a long life. The roof membrane is protected from UV and weather damage, thereby increasing potential roof life by 2 or 3 times.

The materials used are very specific, and there are many layers which have to be added to the roof. These series of layers will include the Including many waterproof layers, layers of gravel, soil and plants. With so many layers, green roofs can end up very heavy.

There are two types of green roofing available: intensive and extensive.

Homes usually use extensive green roofing. This type of green roofing is not as heavy per square foot as intensive green roofing. This type of green roof requires little maintenance and is usually there for environmental benefits, as they don't function as gardens.

The alternative green roofing is intensive. This is a sort of elevated park or garden. These roofs are far heavier and are typically used on business, or public buildings.

Chicago City Hall has the most famous green roof in America. It combines both types of green roofing.

The most famous green roof system in the world is The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, just outside of Baghdad.

It may be unpractical or too expensive to install a green roof. Here are some smaller green roofing projects instead:

  • Create a green roof on your garden shed.
  • Create a green roof on your letterbox – a great way to get kids involved!
  • Group potted plants on your deck or balcony.

Rosie Wood - Author Biography

Rosie has DIY experience fixing up houses for herself and her family. She's been responsible for Painting, Tiling, Deck Building, Old Floor Maintenance, and home decoration. She brings a woman touch to our website, helping handymen and handy woman with DIY projects for their home.
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Is it really possible to install a garden on your roof? I'm sure if your house is structurally pretty strong it can, right? But what if you are not sure? Doesn't adding dirt to a roof, create a ton of extra weight the roof needs to support?

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