For years, green roofs have been used around the world to not only provide a unique, old-world look but also deliver unbeatable benefits that are both natural and money-saving. Today, green roofing is used throughout the U.S. to provide energy efficiency and reinforced protection to both residential and commercial roofing systems. But how do you make your own green roof without spending a fortune?
What are Green Roof Systems?
Green roofs are low-sloped or flat roofs that have been covered by plant life. But, aside from being nice to look at, why are green roofs good? These roofing systems provide unmatched protection for your structure while also lowering energy costs and maximizing your roof life. Since green roofs are covered by a layer of plant life, they have a natural barrier from hazards like UV rays, impact dangers, and even heavy rain and wind. The plants protect your roof materials from experiencing the wear and tear that most roofs accrue which allows your roof to last longer with fewer repairs.
How are Green Roofs Energy Efficient?
The first question most ask when considering a roofing system such as this is, ‘Do green roofs leak?’. Green roofing systems use a strong underlayment and base layer like PVC or TPO to prevent water and debris seepage over time. These materials help to prevent leaks and separation throughout your system. These durable roof materials are known to be Energy Star rated for efficiency and provide up to a 30 percent decrease on your annual energy costs. Along with highly insulated and reflective base materials, green roofing boasts a plethora of greenery that creates a cooler surrounding atmosphere through the natural photosynthesis process. Because of this, the air around your building will be cooler, creating less work for your HVAC system. In fact, when used in connection with an energy efficient HVAC system, these roofs can save you up to 35 percent in annual energy costs.
Along with proper irrigation, anchoring, and sealing, you will want to consider what types of plant life you want your green roof to showcase. While there are multiple looks and plants that can be utilized for green roofing, the best plants for green roof systems are those with shallow root systems and slow growth patterns. This is because green roof plants are often in ideal conditions for spirited growth, but with no real location to grow towards. In the end, this could cause problems with your roof material and base lining.
Ideal plants for your green roofing system will depend on the depth of the planting medium and the size of the area. Typically, shorter, less substantial plants work best, especially those that expand outward. Some good plants to use on your green roof are:
These low-lying plants are ideal to cover a lot of area without a lot of height or maintenance requirements.
- Wooly Thyme: A great area covering flowering plant that can survive the strenuous environment of a rooftop garden
- Sea Thrift: This fast-growing ground cover boasts pink blossom balls.
- Festuca Grass: All of these species are great for green roofs and have a soft texture
- Herbs: Most herbs provide a natural bush-like plant that is perfect for a shallow living space like green roofing.
- Mexican Feather Grass: This soft-textured grass provide a light flow to your green roof.
Medium-sized plants are perfect for supplying spots of color and highlighted areas.
- Succulents: All types of succulents work well on green roofs and provide hearty, low maintenance beauty year-round.
- Wildflowers: These flowers can grow almost anywhere and emit multiple colors and heights without overly-saturating root systems.
How to Build a Green Roof
When building a green roofing system, a proper waterproof lining must be in place, along with a root guard sheet. These two materials will protect against runoff irrigation as well as root spurts that can damage your material and structure. Once your waterproof base in place, you will want to consider your irrigation method.
Most use a system of small tubing to carry small amounts of water throughout. It’s crucial to have the correct drainage system in place to circumvent leaks or ponding that can be detrimental to your roofing material. A professional roofing team can help make sure that your green roof turns out as expected without the risk of flooding or other damage.
With all of the green roof benefits you can incur, it’s difficult to find a reason not to install your own. However, it’s a good idea to use a professional roofing team like the Voegele Co. experts for your Pittsburgh, PA green roof installation to ensure that your roof is built properly. Many homeowners love the idea but are unaware of how to build a green roof system and end up with thousands of dollars in roof and home damage from illy-irrigated systems. Don’t let this happen to you. Call the Voegele Co. pros at (412) 227-8488 today to help create the green roof of your dreams.