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What Is A Green Roof?

Roofing & Gutters
By on Mar 5, 2017
What Is A Green Roof?

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It seems like every homeowner is looking for new ways to go green. From toilet installations that save water to remodels designed for eco-friendly living, there are many ways you can contribute to green efforts.

One way that is up-and-coming in residential areas is green roofs, or living roofs. Once popular in urban skyrises, this unique trend is being seen on more homes throughout the country. Green roofs have plenty of benefits that aid both the homeowner and the environment. See what you need to know about green roof systems and if it’s the right choice for you.

If you’re not ready to transition to a green roof, there are other roof repairs you can make to make your home more sustainable. Contact a roofing pro today for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.

Modern Green Roof

What Is A Green Roof?

A green roof is a unique style of roofing that provides a protectant waterproof layer and a drainage system that’s able to support light vegetation. With a system of layers, plants can thrive without damaging the structure. While they have been prominent in Europe, more and more green roofs have been appearing on commercial buildings specifically in cities, extending now to residential buildings. Urban areas benefit greatly from green roofs as they help to filter pollutants and reduce energy consumption. However, many homeowners are viewing this typically unused space as an opportunity to increase their eco-friendly efforts at home.

One of the biggest fears homeowners have about green roofs is the increased potential of water damage to their home. The reality is quite the opposite. Because the green roof has a waterproof layer and natural runoff, there is less risk for water damage to the home. Plants and vegetation increase the longevity of the roof as well, with some green roofs lasting up to 50 years.

Green Roof Vegetation

Green Roof Benefits

While green roofs look nice and are a unique feature of any home, many choose to install a green roof due to the ROI benefits it has. The first being a natural insulator. It helps to reduce energy costs by reducing tempura tires on the roof and increasing the R-value, conserving heating and cooling energies. When cared for correctly, green roofs can last up to 50 years on your home. This benefits both the earth and your wallet! Additionally, green roofs have been known to increase property values in urban areas.

Not only does a green roof aid in eco-friendly advances inside the home, but outside the home as well. Plants and vegetation on the roof help to increase the air quality and filter pollutants. It also helps to control water runoff in sewers. According to the Center For Green Roof Research at Pennsylvania State University, green roofs capture about 80% of rainfall as opposed to 24% of water runoff captured by standard roofs.

You also can grow your own food and flowers on your home! Herbs and lighter vegetables are recommended if you’re interested in harvesting your own food. They also tend to be more resilient to all types of weather. Choosing a green roof is a unique option for any homeowner and bound to be a conversation starter for all.

Moss For Green Roof

Green Roof Maintenance

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Having a green roof does require additional maintenance in the beginning, but less over time. Never use potting soil on your green roof, as it can become too heavy and cause damage to your home. Upon installation, your roof will need watering for the lightweight planting material regularly. As time passes, your material and vegetation will start to settle and will need less maintenance, unless there’s a drought.

While hand watering is certainly an option, some choose to have an irrigation system set up. In days where there is no rain, you’ll need to maintain proper watering of your plants to keep the green roof healthy.

Like any garden, weeds can invade and cause problems to the plants that belong there. It’s suggested that green roofs be weeded at least 2 to 4 times per season. It’s a good idea to have your roof’s soil tested regularly to maintain proper pH levels. The average cost to test soil is $1,142, giving you a full analysis of your soil. However, there are cheaper options you can DIY to find out your pH levels.

Green Roof On Home

Green Roof Design

When it comes to choosing what plants will live on your roof, be sure to choose options that can withstand the elements. After all, your roof will be needed throughout every season. A frequent choice for many green roof owners is succulents for their ability to withstand droughts and extreme temperatures. They also come in many colors to add variety to your green roof.

Moss and short grasses are another popular choice for green roofs. They need very little maintenance and are wide-spreading.

If you’re using your green roof to benefit your home-chef as well, herbs are a great choice. Here are a few to consider:

  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Rosemary


Green roofs are certainly the roof of the future. The good news is that they often can be added to a preexisting roof. Consider a green roof remodel for your home and start seeing all the earth and budget-friendly ways you can save. If a green roof seems too extreme for your home, try it on a shed or garage.

Looking for more ways you can make your home more sustainable? Read Eco-Friendly Home Remodeling Ideas.

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