Pros And Cons Of A Green Roof
When the time comes for extensive roof repairs or replacement, you may be considering your options and wondering about a ‘green roof’. What exactly is a ‘green roof’, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of taking this eco-friendly route? Read on to find out more.
What is a ‘green roof’?
Simply put, a ‘green roof’ is a roof covered with plants and vegetation. There are several types of green roof.
Extensive: An extensive green roof consists of a thin layer of topsoil planted with a mix of low-growing, drought-resistant species such as succulents, grasses, herbs and the like.
Semi-intensive: Semi-intensive green roofs use deeper layers of soil with plantings of shrubs, perennials and grasses.
Intensive roof gardens: This type of green roof uses much deeper soil layers and features lawns, bushes, trees and larger species of perennial plants.
A green roof is effectively a series of raised beds. The structure prevents plant roots from encroaching on the roof beneath the soil, and keeps water out of your home.
The type of green roof you opt for will depend on your location, prevailing weather conditions throughout the year and the construction of your property. A professional roofing contractor will be able to advise you on what sort of green roof would suit your circumstances.
What are the advantages of a ‘green roof’?
A green roof can make a significant difference to your electricity bills. The plantings have the ability to promote heat retention in your home during the winter months, and offers a cooling effect during the summer. Consequently, you won’t need your heating or air-conditioning turned on as much, or turned up as high, so your bills will be lower.
If you’re a keen gardener and live in a suitable climactic region, you could grow edibles such as salads, vegetables, herbs and even fruit on your green roof. Not only could you enjoy a steady supply of fresh fruit and veggies, you might save a little money on your weekly grocery shopping bill too.
Urban areas can be noisy. A green roof provides a certain degree of sound insulation, reducing the noise pollution from outside by as much as 40 decibels. A green roof could therefore be a perfect choice for you if you live in a very noisy city location.
Plants produce oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air. They also provide the benefit of removing pollutants from the air that passes across them. Although one small green roof won’t provide a solution to global warming, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are reducing your own personal carbon footprint and breathing cleaner air.
What are the downsides of a ‘green roof’?
Building a green roof is a challenge and not every home is suitable for such an installation. Conversion costs can be very expensive, typically far higher than it would be to have a standard tiled roof installed. More insulation and waterproofing are required, and your home may need structural alteration in order to accommodate the extra weight of the soil and plants.
A green roof takes far more upkeep than an ordinary one. It’s much like having an extra garden on your property, but with the added hassle of irrigation, waterproofing and possible damage to your home from leaks to take into consideration.
You could find yourself very limited as to the kind of planting you could have on your green roof, especially if you live in a very arid area or in an exposed coastal region. If your property is located in an urban area, you might not be permitted by your local council to have larger plants or trees featuring on your green roof as these could have a negative impact on neighboring properties and businesses.
Although the idea of having a green roof is certainly appealing, the practicalities of installing and maintaining one could be off-putting for some. Seek the advice of a professional roofing contractor to ask whether a green roof would be suitable for your home and to get a quote for installation.
Image source: greenroofs.com
About Alison Page
Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at http://www.theladywriter.co.uk