Green Roofs 101: Nine Reasons to Consider Green Roof Design

In recent years, green roofs have become the hottest trend in roof design. Even Habitat for Humanity has jumped on the bandwagon, creating its first green roof for a low-income housing unit in the South Bronx.

The term "green roof" refers to any roof that supports living vegetation. The benefits are personal and environmental when it comes to green roofing. Read on to find out why you might want to consider creating a green oasis on your own rooftop.

Why Are Green Roofs So Popular?

In addition to having a personal park or beautiful garden growing on your rooftop, there are dozens of practical benefits for having a green roof.

Benefits for the homeowner can include:

  • Lower energy bills, as green roofs cool the home in the summer and insulate several degrees in the winter.
  • A longer lifetime for your roof. The soil on a green roof blocks sunlight that may break down roofing material over time.
  • Green roofs can help protect the waterproofing on your roof.
  • Less noise. The layers of plants and soil in a green roof help insulate noise and keep it where it belongs--outside your home.
  • Longer life for your HVAC system. Less strain on your heating and air conditioning units mean they will last longer.

Some environmental benefits are:

  • Improved air quality. Plants clear the air of harmful pollutants emitted by cars and trucks, and they take carbon dioxide out of the air.
  • Birds and butterflies will flock to your green roof, finding refuge in the oxygen and living habitat provided there.
  • Reduced storm water runoff, which means less strain on public sewage systems that can cause flooding and polluted water.
  • If enough structures embrace green roofing, the combined effect can significantly alter climate change for the better.

Can My Home Support a Green Roof?

Weight is the main concern for existing homes when it comes to considering a green roof. However, a lightweight green roof is achievable on a roof with a pitch of less than thirty degrees. If you have access to your home's attic, where load-bearing structures can be reinforced with additional materials, then your possibilities expand considerably.

There's no reason your garden has to stop where your home begins. Embrace the many positive elements of green roofing and open up a world of benefit to you and the environment.

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