What is a green roof made of?
Today, when somebody says they want a green roof installed, they aren’t necessarily referring to the color. A green roof today is an ecosystem, environmental matter that can contribute to the sustainability of the earth while helping the homeowner with utility expenses.
A green roof is a garden of assorted vegetation that is usually planted on flat or low-sloped rooftops. It has a waterproofing system under it to protect the roof from leaks. There are three categories of green roof construction:
- Extensive: A shallow green roof that typically has less than six inches of growing medium. This roofing requires a moderate roof load approval with minimal required watering with limited plant diversity.
- Intensive: This green roof has a deeper growing medium, as much as several feet deep, and can support more diverse plantings, including small trees. This roofing requires a substantial structural load, more maintenance, and more watering. Accessibility is limited.
- Semi-intensive: A combination of the first two green roofs, the depth is based on the roof structure and the type of plants. Annual rainfall and stormwater drainage needs consideration before this green roof construction.
How do you maintain a green roof?
Above, we provided a thumb-nail idea of what maintenance is needed. The extensive green roof category is the most popular, partly because it requires little maintenance. The small amount of maintenance required as follows:
- Fertilization – the entire green roof needs to be fertilized immediately upon installation.
- Watering – An extensive green roof constructed during a dry and warm time of the year, the first two to three weeks it will need regular watering. These steps will help the planting seed into the substrate.
- Roof inspection – An extensive green roof should be inspected five times over the year. This inspection should be searching for weeds and unwanted seeding, then remove them manually. Chemical pesticides are not recommended for biodiversity reasons. Inspection should include checking the drainage system, making sure it is clear of debris, and draining properly.
- Fertilization – Every nine months, an extensive green roof should be fertilized, or a routine of every April and every September.
How long does a green roof last?
A green roof will be protecting the membrane and give your roof a longer lifespan, two to three times longer than it would without a green roof without plastic lining underneath. Since the 1960s, homes and other structures in Europe have had green roofs and are still going strong fifty years later with proper maintenance and upkeep.
What are the pros and cons of green roofs?
The pros for having a green roof installed far outweigh the cons, which the only one is the initial cost. Over time, that initial cost is returned in energy savings, and if you choose vegetation that can be consumed by occupants of the building, your grocery bill is helped too. There is always the benefit of having a green roof and sustainability and the other list of pros for having a green roof are:
- Environmentally Friendly
- Lower Energy Cost
- Low Maintenance
- Long lifespan
- Natural Stormwater Management
- Natural Reduction of Urban Heat Island Effect
- Improved Air Quality
- Mechanical Equipment More Efficient
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduced
- Urban Amenities
- Supports Wildlife
Can you walk on a green roof?
With a green roof professional installed, including green roof edge trim for safety, and thorough training of maintenance and upkeep. Then walking on a green roof is okay, minimally, and sparingly, recommended one person at a time no more than twice a week or as needed, taking extra care not to trample the plantings.
If there is a requirement for service on the green roof, it is best to wait until the foliage is dry, and it isn’t a hot and sunny day. Repetitive foot traffic should be avoided when the green roof is frozen or wet.
A green roof should not be constructed and installed until other rooftop work is done like the electrical, HVAC, plumbing, skylights, etc. Other trade contractors need to be advised at the time of scheduling any work that the building has a green roof in place. With this information, they can plan accordingly and come prepared.
Going With A Green Roof
Before deciding to go forward with constructing and installing a green roof, you want to have the contribution and dedication needed to maintain and upkeep the surface. If a green roof is installed and then neglected, you’ve accomplished nothing more than creating a place for algae, bacteria, mildew, and mold to grow and prosper.
With proper maintenance and upkeep, a green roof can be a source of beauty and enjoyment, as well as supply fresh vegetables for consumption. It helps you with energy cost, roof repairs, or replacement, and it is a great help to the environment. The money and the time that a green roof requires will come in multitudes over the years in energy savings and roof maintenance, and with your successful green roof, other building owners may join in. For green roofing in Voegele Co., call (412) 227-8488 today.