Green Roofs Benefits And How To Build A Green Roof
Green Roofs Benefits
Green Roofs have lots of benefits. Green roofs provide a fantastic environment for wildlife. They are visually appealing and contributes to a more natural looking environment in a built-up area.
Green Roofs can protect the roof membrane from sunlight, which breaks down the roofing material. Having even a couple inches of soil helps to greatly extend the life of the roof, and a longer lifespan means less material ends up in landfills from re-roofing buildings after the membranes have failed.
Green roofs help to reduce roof stormwater runoff. In some cases, this can help reduce the size of stormwater pipes, and the amount of stormwater that needs to be treated by municipal water treatment. In a light rainfall, a building with a vegetated roof can have no stormwater runoff at all.
Green roofs keep the roof cooler, which helps to reduce the heat-island effect, which contributes to cities being hotter than the surrounding countryside. This can be beneficial to the building in reducing its summertime cooling load.
A green roof is also a source of oxygen and provides a habitat for some birds. Birds and insects can find homes much more readily in the living environment of a green roof, where an ordinary roof is nearly barren. And yes, it’s even possible to graze goats.
How To Build A Green Roof
There are two types of modern green roof systems, intensive and extensive. Intensive green roof systems are generally for heavier landscape constructions on flat roofs, whereas extensive systems can be installed over any deck and contain a number of layers including vapour retarder, insulation and waterproofing membrane layers beneath the vegetation.
Starting from the top, an extensive green roof has a layer of plants, which are typically sedums. These are low-growing, shallow rooting, drought tolerant plants. There are many different varieties of sedum, with different different coloration and different flowerings, so that a roof can have a varied appearance, rather than looking like an entire crop of a single variety. The plants are in a growth medium, an engineered mixture of lightweight soils, vermiculite, and other materials that provides a good environment for the sedum.
The shallow depth of the soil aids in keeping weeds from establishing themselves on the roof, since most weeds cannot survive in the arid and shallow soil conditions on a vegetated roof. Local plants that can survive in that environment may establish themselves on the roof, as well. Underneath the soil are several membrane layers, rather than just a single membrane roof. There is also a drainage layer (to allow excess water to move freely, rather than lifting the soil and having it flow off the roof in a mudslide, and a root barrier layer, which keeps the roots from penetrating the roof. The roof membrane sits on the roof deck, insulation, or structure of the building much like a conventional roof.
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