Having a green roof not only promises cleaner air and greener environment, but can also relieve personal stress. With global warming and pollution being ever-present topics on the news, it is important for everyone to contribute to making the world a cleaner place. Find out why it is such a great choice to make your next new roof a green roof!
It is difficult to pinpoint when the living roof jumped from eco-fantasy to eco-solution — there have been startling and innovative green roofs all across the country and in Europe seemingly forever. But in my mind, technology and design caught up with the dream in 2008 when a sweeping marvel of native plants, wildflowers, and engineering was built atop San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences. Since then, there’s been an inspiring generation of eco-savvy, design-forward residential green roofs — from cactus garden to rain forest, topping everything from chicken coops to full-blown homes.
Green roofs have become natural fits for many public buildings as well, thanks to large-scale environmental and financial benefits such as energy efficiency, storm-water management, sound insulation, and the development of habitats for birds and other urban creatures. Most of these projects, like the Academy’s, are standard “extensive” green roofs as now defined: vegetation growing in a shallow (3- to 6-inch) layer of lightweight soil medium, contained in a special assembly system over a waterproof membrane. A smaller residential roof may accomplish some of the same environmental goals, but full financial payback is unlikely at least in the near future; these projects are more about doing good for the environment, beauty, and horticultural interest. Yet with lowered financial expectations comes more design freedom, and a growing number of residential green roofs display plant surprises, innovation, and a delightful sense of experimentation and fun.