Increasingly, owners of all building types are recognizing the economic and environmental benefits of living roofs.
A well-designed and built green roof can reduce annual heating and cooling costs, extend the life of the roofing material below it, improve air quality, and control storm-water runoff.
The insulation and moisture management benefits of a living roof are especially important in hot regions. Plants shade soil and absorb water, which acts as an additional layer of insulation in summer.
Insulation is an important part of building a home with a living roof. It provides resistance to the flow of heat through the structure, keeping it comfortable all year round and reducing energy bills.
Insulation works by stopping the movement of air through gaps and holes in walls, doors, windows, electrical outlets and rim joists. This helps reduce air leaks and energy loss, which can cause heating and cooling costs to skyrocket.
There are many different types of insulation, ranging from basic options like fibreglass and cotton batting to more sophisticated materials such as spray foam and cellulose.
One of the most popular types of insulation is cellulose, which is made from recycled paper and blown into cavities such as walls and attics. Other options include fiberglass and mineral wool, which are made from rock or slag.
Green roofs are not just aesthetic and environmentally friendly – they also help reduce air conditioning and heating needs. In fact, a living roof can lower energy use by up to 12% in winter.
When considering the plants to put on your roof, consider the type of soil and drainage you have. Plants that are tolerant of environmental stress, such as drought and wind, may be the best choices for your roof.
Among the many options, some of the most hardy plants are succulents. These plants store water in their fleshy roots, allowing them to survive dry periods without irrigation.
Another type of plant that performs well in dry soil is sedum spurium, which offers thick leaves with star-shaped flowers during summer. It also holds water better than grass roofs, making it a good choice for your green roof.
When it comes to green roof technology there is no one size fits all. The best way to ensure the longevity of your investment is to hire a contractor with a proven track record and a clear understanding of your needs and budget. A well conceived green roof plan can reduce your utility bills and increase the value of your home, both in the short and long term. The construction of a green roof is a complex and challenging endeavor. A competent architect and contractor will have the right tools and the knowledge to make your dream a reality. If you’re lucky you’ll be living in a gleaming green space for years to come.