What are green roof systems?

green roofing

What are the benefits of a green roof?

Today, the topics of green roof and sustainability are popular as everyone is concerned about the Earth. What exactly is a green roof though? Well, it is more than the just a color reference, a green roof is when a roof of a structure has been converted into a garden or covered with vegetation. A waterproof membrane is installed along with a root barrier, drainage, and irrigation systems. Then a growing medium is planted that can be used as a garden with flowers or vegetables. There  over a waterproofing membrane.

Green roofs have been over in Europe for decades, and their  popularity is increasing here in the United States as we learn more what green roof benefits we’ve been missing all these years. Some of those benefits are: 

  1. Energy costs reduced – Unlike traditional green roof vs traditional roofs, a green roof absorbs heat instead of attracting it and allowing it to radiate into the building.  A green roof is a natural insulation and can reduce the demand for cooling energy by 75% during the hottest part of summer. 
  2. Urban heat island effect reduced – Green roofs ease the environment’s condition from absorbing and trapping heat.
  3. Cleans the air – Green roofs clean the air by removing air particulates and producing oxygen while providing shade.  This natural protection green roof create against the extreme heat also give a longer life for the green roofs compared to the traditional roofing materials, as much as two time longer. 
  4. Stormwater runoff reduced – Because a green roof can use the stormwater for the vegetation, the reduction in urban areas of the stormwater runoff minimizes flooding and pollution. The nonporous surfaces found in urban can’t absorb stormwater runoff like the rural areas and green roofing gives minimizes that problem. 

Do green roofs need maintenance?

An extensive green roof  will need some minimal maintenance, especially if this is a garden you hope to reap what you sow in the way of flowers and vegetables.  There will be fertilizing and weeding, almost like your garden and yard at home.  Weeds will be carried to your gree roof by the wind, causing more weeds to grow and sprout. 

How do you maintain a green roof?

There are seven simple tasks that need to be consistent during the first 2 seasons of a green roof.  Then they need to be done with some regularity afterward. Those seven tasks are: 

  1. Weed the unwanted growth out – this is crucial to keep unwanted growth like weeks from taking over the plants you do want on your green roof. 
  2. Keep the drainage clear – another crucial task so that the roof doesn’t become too weighted with water and penetrate through the membrane to the roof structure and cause damage. Keep the drain outlets clear of gravel, plant growths, and weeds. This can be twice year minimal or more frequent if desired.
  3. Biannually add more compost – Keeping the green roof compost refreshed will keep the nutrients working and providing the vegetation what it needs to grow. -rich compost should be added to the roof garden in spring and autumn. 
  4. Weed the unwanted growth again! Animals, birds, and the wind will keep dropping weed seeds from other gardens, you’ll need to keep them pulled every time you see them. 
  5. Water rarely – a green roof doesn’t need much watering because of the added weight to the roofing structure, but it will need four to six inches of water every 10 days or so. It is better to underwater than to overwater! 
  6. Watch for diseases and pests – a green roofs will attract insects and increase biodiversity, which will attract more insects. Keep them at bay with treatment is a must for a healthy green garden. 
  7. Keep a diary or log – by keeping notes of when your green roof has been watered and weeded will be key in a successful garden. You should keep details of your findings and results documented for reference so that you know what worked and what didn’t work.  

Can you walk on green roof?

Yes, of course you’ll have to in order to weed your green roof garden but walk as little as possible and with extreme care not to step on the vegetation. If there has been a frost or extreme cold weather, walk with extra care so that you damage the vegetation. 

green roof with variety of colors

Do green roofs really work?

Definitely!  Research and data collected from that research found that a green roof can capture as much as 80% of rainfall from a rainstorm, minimizing the amount of water on nonporous surfaces in the city. This is more than the typical 24% that standard roofing captures, where there remaining 76% adds to the runoff and pollution on the streets. 

How long does a green roof last? As we mentioned earlier, green roofs are nothing new in Europe, they’ve been around since the 1960s there and are still growing and providing the same benefits, even more. A green roof protects the roof membrane and extends the lifespan of the roof by up to three times. For your green roofing needs in New Orleans, LA, call 877-406-7663 today.

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