For environmentally conscious homeowners, green roofs can be a great way to boost the sustainability of your family home. However, these systems are often misunderstood, so to help you with these, below are three commonly asked questions regarding green roofs:
How Beneficial Are Green Roofs Really?
There is a lot of cynicism surrounding green roofs, and many people have concerns over how 'green' they are in reality. However, most of this cynicism is unfounded, and green roofs do offer a genuine benefit to both the home on which they are built and the environment. Specifically, there are a number of benefits that homeowners should consider when deciding on whether or not to install a green roof:
- They absorb direct sunlight and heat.
- They soak up a large portion of rainfall during wetter periods.
- They offer some degree of insulation for the building, naturally cooling the building during warmer periods and retaining heat during colder months.
- They suitably replace the ecology that was disturbed when the building was constructed.
If you're considering installing a green roof, it's best to weigh the above up against the overall cost of installation. The actual price will vary between location, and some states have incentives in place to encourage homeowners to be more environmentally conscious.
What Type of Systems Are Available?
You'd be excused for thinking that all green roofs are the same. After all, every green roof does look like a patch of turf sitting on top of a building. However, this isn't the case, and there are actually a few different solutions available depending on your specific needs.
The most common type of green roof is an intensive green roof. These roofs have a fairly thick layer of topsoil (6" or more) that allows a wide range of grasses, herbs, and plants to flourish. Due to the thickness and quality of these roofs, they do require a significant amount of maintenance, and you need to consider this before installing an intensive green roof. However, if you're willing and able to maintain the turf, intensive roofs offer an invaluable habitat for wildlife and also offer a significant layer of insulation to keep your building temperature well regulated.
If you don't have the time to regularly maintain your roof, a better solution would be an extensive green roof. Extensive roofs have a shallower layer of topsoil that makes the structure lighter. Although these systems are unable to support the diversity of plants and herbs that intensive roofs can, they are still able to grow a range of grasses. Similarly, these roofs do not offer the same level of insulation as intensive roofs, but they can incorporate conventional insulation in order to provide more protection.
What Other Considerations Are There When Choosing a Roof?
Green roofs are great for storing rainwater, which means that your drainage requirements will be far less than in a traditional structure. However, there is always going to be some level of surface run-off when the soil becomes saturated, so you will need to have a suitable system in place to handle this. One solution to consider is installing a gravel layer, which has been a traditional solution to managing the level of run-off on the roof. However, it's important to consider the capacity of your home to accommodate this – gravel layers add significant mass onto the structure and can cause roof panels to sag. A suitable alternative to this is replacing gravel with cockleshells, which significantly alleviates the stress on the roof whilst allowing safe drainage of excess water.
Another thing to consider is whether or not to install photovoltaic (PV) panels on top of your roof. Indeed, this is a great way to boost the sustainability of your home, and the two systems can actually work better together than individually. This is because the cooling effect of your green roof can keep the panels cooler, which in turn increases the efficiency of the system. Therefore, it's worth looking at the possibility of installing PV panels once your green roof is in place.
To learn more, contact a roofing company like Drey Roofing.