Green Roofing (Vegetative Roofing)
Green roofing is a 21st-century take on the sod covered roofs used in Scandinavian home construction in the 1700s. Today, green roofing encompasses everything from rooftop container gardens to an entire roof surface covered in vegetation. Green roofs can also be roofs which energy-saving technologies like solar panels and reflective materials. A true “green roof” is a living, growing carpet of vegetation. These roofs are built with a layer of dirt over a waterproof membrane. The vegetation is usually drought-resistant grass, wildflowers, or landscaping plants. Irrigation systems are often incorporated into the installation. Besides adding visual appeal, a green roof can significantly decrease energy costs and reduce stormwater runoff. In addition to earning LEED credits for the Storm Water Design and Heat Island Effect, there are also financial incentives for green roofing. In Milwaukee, for instance, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) offers a $5 per square foot subsidy for green roofing. Reflective heat-reducing roofs using Energy Star approved materials (not vegetation) are also eligible for a tax credit of up to $1,500 (on the cost of materials).
Characteristics of Green roofing:
- Lower heating and cooling costs
- Helps control stormwater runoff
- Vegetation protects roofing material underneath
- Can be used for recreational space for gardening
- Reduce carbon dioxide in urban environments
- Highest installation cost
- Requires regular maintenance including replanting
- The roof requires adequate structural support
Environmental conditions, foot traffic, roof slope, and the quality of the installation affect the service life of a green roof.
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