Green Roof: The Future of Sustainable Living
With each new environmental analysis, we become more aware of the situation our planet is in. Results showing high levels of carbon dioxide, ozone, and other harmful gasses in the atmosphere are an alarming wake-up call to everyone. Science and technology are hitting their maximum to find new and sustainable ways of building and living – from wasting less water to implementing green building options and transforming our properties into energy-efficient machines.
One of the latest sustainable solutions and a more eco-friendly alternative to regular concrete roofs are green roofs. They transform the neglected space on the roof into a functional green oasis.
Green roofs are roofs covered with vegetation that represent the ultimate combination of developed industry and eco-friendly building code. They can be a significant financial investment, but they bring countless benefits and help boost the overall efficiency of your entire property. Your initial investment will be quickly recouped by monthly energy savings and you’ll be making a tremendous step in helping the environment and setting an example for your community.
Green Roof Construction
Green roofs have a unique structure that allows them to function in a way no other roofing material and system can. The secret to their efficiency lies in several interconnected layers that operate as a perfect mechanism:
Image courtesy of veggiefrog on Flickr, published under CC BY 2.0
1. Vegetation Layer
The first or top layer is vegetation. This is the part of your green roof that positively contributes to the environment, especially when it comes to biodiversity. It plays a significant role in reducing your bills as well since vegetation absorbs light and heat, and cools down your roof substrate. Some of the most widely used types of plants for the vegetation layer are flowering plants from the Crassulaceae family, Sedum group. They’re low maintenance and lightweight, which makes them an ideal choice for roof conditions.
2. Growing Medium
Growing medium, also called nourishing soil, is placed on top of draining layer. It ensures proper conditions for growing the top layer and provides nourishment for plants by keeping water and nutrients inside. Without this part of the green roof, plants wouldn’t be able to survive droughts or excessive rains.
3. Filter Fabric
Filter cloth layer guarantees safety and leak-free roofing. It is usually inserted between the soil and the drainage part to remove organic substances from the layer above and eliminate clogs. The most widely used type of filtering material are geotextiles or geosynthetic materials. They are dense enough to block dirt from entering the drain, but also capable of letting enough water through.
4. Draining Layer
Drainage layer ensures that any excess water is led away from the roof foundation. Otherwise, the leak may appear, or weight on your roof may increase. Besides, it also ensures best conditions for pants. There are two main categories of drain layer: pipes and sturdy, substrate material. When it comes to pipes water will be channeled through them to the edge and away from the roof. A more common way of draining is using a granular layer in which water can flow through. This material has to be strong enough to withstand the weight and possible penetrations. Options include gravel,pebbles, pumice,clay etc.
5. Protective membrane
The last layer is a protective membrane or root barrier. It has a vital role in keeping your actual roof foundation unharmed and in original shape. It prevents any penetrations and scratches done by roots. It significantly adds to the lifespan of your roof and ensures fewer chances of any damaging.
Benefits of Green Roofs
There are countless benefits of greening your roof when it comes to your household. Insulating properties of a green roof can substantially affect your utility bills. Although initial building price turns away many homeowners, from the long-term perspective, a green roof is highly profitable. It absorbs and insulates your interior from heat which leads to less need for air conditioning. A green roof is able to lower interior temperature for up to 8 degrees F. This results in substantial energy savings.
Because of their extreme durability green roofs last about twice as long as traditional roofs do. You can also count on savings on roof repairs and replacements. Besides utility green roofs can also lower your groceries bill. Adding new green area allows high quality but simple food production. Your green roof can be an ideal location for growing various fruits, vegetables and herbs.
In addition to this, the aesthetic appeal of your home will also be enhanced. Green roofs blend your home with the environment while making it stand out with specific organic plants. Compelling look also brings the increased overall value of your home and more attractive property among real estate buyers. Except for yours, a green roof will also improve general marketability in your community.
Impact of Green Roofs on the Environment
Green roofing is an inevitable and essential part of green building. It has several highly significant eco-friendly properties and brings beneficial effect on the environment. The first and most straightforward impact is creating a new habitat for wildlife. Small insects, birds, and butterflies are suffering from urban infrastructure and overuse of concrete in cities. Green roofs create a new oasis for them and improve biodiversity which is one of the crucial elements of our ecosystem. Besides, vegetation layer on your roof purifies the air in your community. It eliminates carbon dioxide, that is a result of dense traffic, from the air and improves living conditions. Stormwater can be absorbed by green roofs and released back into the atmosphere resulting in fewer floods.
Environmental impact of green roofing systems can be so powerful that they can even reduce overall temperature during summer. They also tackle urban heat island“ effect which is becoming one of the growing global environmental problems. Green roofs can release colossal heat gain which conventional roofs tend to absorb fully. This harms both the environment as well as roofing construction. Let’s not neglect societal effect: the better example you set, the more people will be interested in green roofing and produce the same positive change in the environment.
We at Fortified Roofing, NJ roofing company say that you can also motivate your neighbors to act more environmentally friendly and consider other sustainable ways of living. You can simply boost your community’s reputation and therefore, help increase economic activity.
On a global level, green roofing can fight off acid rains which destroy hundreds of green surfaces. It reduces the effect of heat island and lowers levels of carbon dioxide in the air. It also improves the overall quality of water and air.