Is a green roof a good choice for your home?

Posted May 25, 2016 by Gabriel Posternak

When thinking about updating your roof with efficiency in mind, a green or living roof might come within the options for it. But this type of roofing can be tricky to install, depending on the architecture of your home. Check the following information to decide if a green roof is the right remodeling project for you.

[caption id="attachment_12264" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Photo by TonyTheTiger for Wikimedia Photo by TonyTheTiger for Wikimedia[/caption]

What is a living roof?

There are plenty of options on green roofing or efficient roofing, but we are focusing today in a most particular one: the green living roof. Commonly called just “green roof”, is a system consisting of a container with a waterproof membrane, a growing medium -like soil- and vegetation -either grass, plants or a combination-. Most of them also count with root barriers, advance drainage and irrigation or complex setups to collect and purify rain or grey water. While someone might assure that it can be applied to steep roofs, the truth is that is most commonly seen in flat ones.

[caption id="attachment_12265" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Photo by Wolfman SF for Wikimedia Photo by Wolfman SF for Wikimedia[/caption]

Main advantages of an eco-roof

Improved efficiency of the house: The main advantage of a living roof -like most of the other green roofing- is that it helps moderate the indoor temperature, reducing the energy consumption of heating and cooling systems, all year round. Improved air quality: As it happens with all green patches, vegetation will absorb carbon dioxide in large quantities, while liberating oxygen with photosynthesis. In urban setups, it helps reducing pollution and keeping the air around cooler, which lowers the heat island effect. Habitat for wildlife: From birds to beneficial bugs and insects -like bees, for instance- an eco-roof will provide with the sounds and natural activity that most of urban houses lack off. Aesthetic value: A living roof will create a gorgeous atmosphere that no other roof can match. As well as a nicely kept yard, this type of roofs add a lot of the overall curb appeal of a building.

[caption id="attachment_12266" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Photo by Rimagne for Wikimedia Photo by Rimagne for Wikimedia[/caption]

Some risks and things to consider before adding a living roof

As we said before, a roof with a high pitch can be completely unsuitable for this project, no matter what a designer's magazine says. If you have something steeper than a flat surface, pay extreme attention to what the contractor offers. Other thing you need to consider is its high cost of maintenance and its time-demand. A living roof will need frequent maintenance and periodical tending, almost more than a yard. Also, waterproof membrane and root barriers might need to be fixed and replaced as soon as they become leaky. You might need to appoint a “roof gardener” to take care of all-roof-issues with a retainer agreement. And the last thing you can face with this roofing is leaks and water damage to the house structure, that stays hidden before it is too late and requires loads to be fixed. Even with the most professional built and the most caring periodical service, some of this problems might arise with a simple shift of temperature, small earth movement or unusual weather conditions. You will need an extra care of attic space and building integrity than what you do with a traditional roof.

Building a living roof can be a huge project with many advantages, but you need to see the complete picture before making that decision. If you doubt, please contact us so we can help you evaluate which of the green roof option is the best for your home and make a #Change4Better!


*Featured image, Santa Clara By Sky Garden Ltd (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Posted May 25, 2016
by Gabriel Posternak.


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