As concerns about the health of the planet grow, some innovative solutions to protecting it have come out as well. One such technology that is by no means new but is seeing a resurgence in popularity is the use of green roofs. Let’s look at what green roofs are, their advantages and their drawbacks.

What is a Green Roof?

Simply put, a green roof is a roof covered by vegetative matter and a growing medium overtop of a waterproof membrane.

There are two main types of green roofs, intensive and extensive. An intensive green roof usually has more planting medium, more vegetation and may require maintenance such as irrigation, pruning and other routine maintenance. An intensive green roof is similar to having a small park on top of the roof. An extensive green roof is much simpler and is designed to be self-sustaining with little to no maintenance.

Advantages of Green Roofs

Green roofs have a number of benefits. Their insulation can lower energy bills, both on air conditioning during the summer and heating during the winter. Some buildings report savings around 25-27 percent on their energy bill. This insulation can also increase the average lifetime of a roof, sometimes up to 200%.

The plant material and planting medium can also help reduce storm water runoff. The roof will absorb precipitation and slowly drain it away rather than dropping it straight onto the ground. This makes it popular in cities with overtaxed sewer systems.

Green roofs also clean the air, attract wildlife and some states and jurisdictions may qualify you for a tax discount for green initiatives.

Disadvantages of Green Roofs

While the final bill will be decided on the extent of how intensive you want your roof, costs for green roofs can be costly. Sometimes two to three the average cost of more traditional materials. You will also need to make sure your roof can support the weight of all the materials that come with a green roofing system.

The building owner will need to decide if a green roof is a viable choice for their building. Continue research and consult with green roofing contractors to find out if it is the right choice for you.