Many homeowners and commercial property owners seriously contemplate the possibility of installing green roofs. As the planet gets warmer, as we consume more electricity and rely heavily on a plethora of appliances for our comfort, it is necessary and incumbent upon all to take some steps towards improving our natural environment. Artificial environments can be comfortable and are also desirable in many cases but they have financial repercussions, an impact on the environment and they are not always viable in every scenario.
What are Green Roofs?
Green roofs are so called because they are good for the environment. Any eco friendly roof can be called green. Usually, green roofs have vegetation and plants, possibly a garden. The green cover may be of herbs, grass, drought resistant plants, flowers and even vegetables. It doesn’t have to be a traditional garden, sprawling and having multiple types of herbs, plants, flowers or fruits. It could be just grass or perennials, shrubs or some bushes.
There wouldn’t be as deep a layer of soil as in natural gardens so the choices are limited but as long as there is a green cover, the roof will qualify to be called a green roof. There are many types of green roofs based on the type of garden one plans. There are intensive and semi intensive roof gardens. There can be natural but raised beds. The garden may not be the traditional laid out on the floor design. It could be a hanging garden with pots vertically lined up or a multitier garden.
List of Pros of Green Roofs
1. Natural Insulation
The biggest and also the most noticeable difference that green roofs make will be in the electricity bills. Green roofs act as natural insulation. They will keep heat out during summers. They will keep heat inside the home by preventing dissipation through the roofing material during winters. As a result, you would spend much less on heating and cooling costs during winters and summers respectively. You can save hundreds and large properties will witness a reduction in the bills by a few thousands in a year.
2. Natural Comfort
Rooms at the topmost floor below the roof are the most uncomfortable during any weather extreme. Very high temperatures can make attics feel like a furnace. Very cold temperatures will make the attic feel like freezing and worse. Plants or herbs and grasses are better regulators of temperature. Not only would them act as natural insulation but also help to have a more comfortable ambience inside. Imagine a scorching day and the shade of a tree. It is cooler and more comfortable even if you are in the middle of nowhere down south in an arid landscape. Green roofs add to the comfort in your home or office.
3. The Produce
Green roofs that have a substantial size or floor area can be easily used to grow many kinds of flowers and vegetables. Even herbs are useful. Many herbs of medicinal value can be grown on green roofs. You can use these herbs at home or you can sell them if you want. Fruits and vegetables grown on green roofs can be organic. You can consume them thereby saving money on your grocery shopping. You may even sell the surplus or if you don’t need the produce at local farmers’ markets.
4. Noise Cancellation
Metal or tiles, asphalt or slate, no material seals off a completely, at least when it comes to noise. Urban landscapes are very noisy, especially as you get closer to downtown areas. Many neighborhoods that are not in commercial or shopping hubs can also be quite noisy. Green roofs will not make your property soundproof but it will absorb much more noise than an ordinary roof. You will have calmer indoors with green roofs.
5. Better Environment
Not only would green roofs help the larger environment, they would also improve your immediate environment. Plants absorb carbon dioxide. The air on your roof will be fresher and richer in oxygen. Plants also absorb pollutants and cleanse the air. You will be less vulnerable to inhaling pollutants.
List of Cons of Green Roofs
1. The Cost
Green roofs are not easy to build or maintain for that matter. Simple green roofs can cost thousands more than ordinary roofs. You would have to factor in the requirement of the foundation, there is the soil, the various plants and then the whole installation which is itself a daunting challenge. The strengths of green roofs will only be realized when you complete the whole process of developing and installing one. It is only thereon you will see the savings or whatever impact the roof has on your life.
2. The Tedious Effort
Maintaining green roofs is a herculean task for people who don’t really have the luxury of time. Just as any garden, you would have to take care of everything from watering to keeping the plants safe from pests, insects and other threats. You need to ensure that your property is not vulnerable to water damage. You need to be a more hands-on homeowner or commercial property owner. In any case not all roofs will qualify for such installations.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.