Rooftops are changing fast with the traditional roofs making way for green roofs. This aspect should not escape your attention when you look around any urban landscape as you see more and more buildings have roof gardens and vegetation on roofs. Indeed, there is a qualitative difference between rooftop gardens and green roofs because the purposes are quite different. The love for plants can drive people to create a garden on them, which is perhaps the only open space available in an urban setting. In such cases, the focus is more on enjoying the beauty of plants and flowers that gives a deep sense of satisfaction for those who love nature. However, creating green roofs have some distinctly different objectives.
What are the green roofs?
Also known as living roofs, it consists of creating vegetation growth on the rooftop that helps to improve the living conditions by making it eco-friendlier. Green roofs are the perfect answer to the concerns arising from the massive destruction of the environment due to widespread urbanization as it helps to conserve resources. It will be wrong to view green roofs merely as an architectural trend because it has been around for a thousand years. The Scandinavian people used to lay turf layers on rooftops to keep buildings cool by acting as thick insulation or sometimes considering it as an alternative to wood.
Urge for better living
With more and more people realizing the importance of making the world a better place by improving the environmental conditions, everyone is trying to do their bit in sustainability, and this has boosted the popularity of green roofs. Plants aid fresh air circulation and remove allergens from the air which have been the reasons for people using indoor plants that have been part of the urban lifestyle since long. But the addition of green roofs to buildings, old or new, comes with many more benefits including ecological, energy saving and above all cost saving. By talking to the professionals at Patriot Roofers Salt Lake City, you can gain more insight about green roofs that have become the most preferred roofing choice in the United States, especially in the city settings.
Energy efficient roofs
Home insulation is critical to reduce heat transmission inside homes and keep it cool and the roof is the largest area exposed to the weather that receives the maximum amount of heat and needs superior insulation to keep homes cool. Naturally cooled homes would use lesser utilities to cool it further and saves energy which helps in the conservation of resources. Green roofs create a thick covering of vegetation on the roof that provides excellent insulation and instead of transmitting heat inside homes, it absorbs almost the entire heat and creates a cooling effect. Similarly, it keeps homes warm in cold weather by retaining the indoor heat. Homes with green roofs are much cooler and consume lesser energy, which is why it is the best choice for creating energy efficient homes.
In summer, the green roof protects the building from solar heat and in winter reduces heat loss by providing insulation on the roof surface. Conservation of energy leads to lesser use of cooling and heating equipment that lowers greenhouse emissions and improves the environment.
Improves air quality
Green roof plants remove particulate matters from the air, provide shade, and produce oxygen. The effects of evapotranspiration (the combined effect of evaporation from the land surface and plant transpiration) cooldown ambient temperatures. Less heat together with less ground-level ozone results in less smog and maintains a clean environment.
Reduces urban heat island effect
Urban areas absorb immense heat from the environment and the surroundings, and it remains trapped inside, thereby creating a condition called Urban Heat Island Effect. It results in creating areas that are hotter than surrounding rural areas due to which the annual average temperature of any city can be much higher than rural areas. For example, a city of 1 million people can be warmer than its surroundings by 1 to 3oC. Green roofs reduce such effect and create comfortable living conditions.
Long lasting roofs
Green roofs provide an added layer of protection to the roof surface by shielding it from the natural elements that ensure longer roof life. The layer of waterproofing on the roof lasts longer, and there are minimal chances of roof damage of leakage as the vegetation neutralizes the harmful effects of UV rays and protects the roof from extreme temperature fluctuations. Green roofs can double the life of the waterproofing layer, which means doubling the life of roofs too. The need to repair roofs would almost be a forgotten thing due to the protection provided by the vegetation growth.
Green roofs become a natural habitat
The greenery created on rooftops serves as a refuge for creatures that struggle to survive in urban conditions. From birds to insects and flies, the roof becomes a natural habitat as evident from the trend of ground-nesting birds like Killdeer choosing green roofs as a safe abode for building homes, breeding and rearing the young ones. The rooftop habitat created by green roofs serves as stepping stones by creating corridors for connecting with other patches of greenery and natural habitats in the vicinity and beyond. Green roofs encourage biodiversity that helps to improve the ecological balance greatly destroyed by rampant urbanization.
Natural flood deterrent
During continuous of excessive rain, the stormwater infrastructure undergoes huge stress due to runoff water that can damage fish habitat and waterways. The plants and vegetation on green roofs and retain rainwater and transport a part of it back to the environment due to evaporation and transpiration, a process known as evapotranspiration. Lesser stormwater reaches the drainage system and saves it from damage.
Extended roof life results in considerable cost saving in the long term. The natural protective layer of vegetation causes less roof damage that needs lesser maintenance and saves cost.
Although the initial cost of green roofs may be higher, the cumulative cost savings from the above and less energy consumption results in higher payback than the investment.