Is A Green Roof In Your Future?

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If you are planning to roof for your new home, or looking to re-roof your existing home, you may want to consider the benefits of growing a green roof. While this process has been seen in many commercial projects for the last couple of decades, more homeowners now understand its benefits. This type of roofing will not only provide a serene environment, it can help to improve your health, and reduce your heating and cooling cost. Explore green roofing to see if it is an option for you.

What Is Green Roofing?

A green roof, which is sometimes referred to as a living roof, is when you choose to cover part of, or all of your roof's surface with vegetation. These types of roofs are installed in various layers, which are designed to keep your roof alive, as well as help to retain water.

These roofs are traditionally classified in two categories which are:

  • Intensive - Designed to support more of a variety of plant life, these types of systems are designed to allow for deeper root structure, and provide more water retention than extensive roofs. Due to this, their weight load on the roof is much heavier.
  • Extensive - Providing many of the same benefits of an intensive green roof, these systems are designed to be a much lighter, but a shallower system. Due to this, you must be more selective of the vegetation that you plant, as the plants must have a less invasive root system. These types of systems are often used in areas that are harder to access, due to the fact that they require far less maintenance.

Some roofing projects will incorporate both types of systems into their landscaping designs.

Components Of A Green Roof

When you have a green roof installed, it will come with multiple layers or components. Each of these layers is critical to the overall success of your roof. Starting from the bottom up, they are:

  • The plywood decking
  • Vapor control layer
  • Insulation
  • Waterproof membrane
  • Protective matting
  • Drainage layer
  • Filter layer
  • Roof substrate
  • Vegetation

While systems will vary, most will use some form of each of these

What Are The Advantages Of Green Roofing?

While green roofs are not for everyone, there are many environmental, as well as mental and physical health advantages to installing one. Here are just a few examples of what green roofing can do.

Help clean the air pollutants from the air. If you have ever had the opportunity to see the specks of matter that are floating in a ray of sunlight, you have observed a few of the pollutants that are in the air. These pollutants are caused by a wide variety of everyday environmental factors. Not only does these pollutants affect plants, and animals, they can have a direct impact upon you. Inhalation of these pollutants can have serious and deadly effects on your health.

Green roofs help to filter these particles out of the air. By doing so on the roof, they can catch many of the particles before they reach the ground level where they will affect you. Through the process of photosynthesis the plants also release valuable clean oxygen back into the air.

Insulate your home and help reduce your heating and cooling costs. Due to the construction of your green roofing, it will absorb much less heat than traditional types of shingles. The heat that it does absorb, will be retained by the soil on your roof, and not released down into your home.

Reduces the amount of storm water runoff. Many areas struggle in times of heavy downpours to properly process the amount of runoff that the area produces. This often results in temporary flooding in these areas. Green roofing assists in this area by not only absorbing, but even storing much of the water that falls for its future use. The collection and processing of the rainwater, also helps to filter out pollutants found in this water. Consult your local ordinances to ensure that you are within compliance with storm water runoff prior to installing your roof.

Provide a serene, yet productive natural habitat. Green roofing has been shown to provide a beneficial space that can be used for an increase in food production, in areas that do not have growing space. A great place to rest, relax, and unwind, as well as an environment that attracts beneficial insects, butterflies, and even birds. This is such an important concept, that some areas, such as Toronto has created policies and bylaws regarding rooftop food production.

Examples Of Green Roofs

There are many examples of green roofing projects that can be seen in most major cities. In Toronto, city leaders have committed to installing green roofing on new buildings where practical. Some that are already on public display in Toronto are:

  • The Social Services building addition at 1631 Queen St.
  • City Hall Podium at 100 Queen St. West.
  • Dufferin Transfer Station at 35 Vanley Crescent.
  • Horgan Water Filtration Expansion Facility at 201 Copperfield Rd.

These are just a few. There are others throughout the city, with many more to come. While all of these are commercial projects, there are many residential projects being built here, as well as in many other cities. Ask a builder, like those at Standard Roofing & Exteriors Ltd, to see examples of residential projects that are being built in your city.