Monday, October 3, 2011

What is a Living (or Green) Roof?

When it comes to maximizing space, many business and home owners are looking up. They’re turning their roof into a green space. Living roofs are becoming more than a trend. They can help you save money and beautify your space.

What is a Living Roof?

Chicago City Hall Green RoofImage via WikipediaA living roof is a roof that has been planted - that is, it is at least partially covered with vegetation. For example a living roof might be covered with grass. Or many hotels, businesses and even schools are using rooftop space to build a garden. It’s a fantastic way to maximize space, improve the environment and save money.

There are different types of living or green roofs. Some require little to no maintenance. These are the simple grass or sod covered roofs that you might see on homes in the countryside. They may require nothing more than nutrients from time to time. Roofs which have gardens or other plants on them require more work. They’re commonly referred to as semi-intensive or intensive. You may have to weed, prune and harvest. Flat roof are easier to plant on. If you have a pitched roof then sod is the simplest living roof option.

What Does a Living Roof Do?

A living roof can provide many benefits. At its simplest a living roof helps the environment. Plants help clean the air. A living roof can also add space to your home. It can become a place to go for serenity and a nice view. Imagine sitting on your roof and enjoying your flower bed or garden? If you live in an apartment building or work in a high rise in the city, this is often a great use of space.

You might also benefit from any flowers or vegetables grown on your living roof. However most of the benefit may be in the form of environmental benefits.

A green roof absorbs rainwater, and the plants and roots help filter the water. This in turn helps keep waterways clean. Also, a living roof can provide insulation for your home. You’ll spend less money on electricity or fuel to heat and cool your home. And for urban dwellers, green roofs actually lower the air temperature. In the city during the summer months the temperature in a city can be ten to fifteen degrees higher. This is because of the heat the city creates. A living roof can help lower the air temperature during the summer, and keep the heat in during the winter.

Before You Create Your Own Living Roof

Traditionnal buildings with green roofs at Nor...Image via WikipediaThere are several considerations to make before you plant on your roof. The first is what type of roof you have. If it is flat or has a slight pitch then you have more options about what you can grow. Steep pitches really only accommodate sod. Also, will the structure of your home support the added weight of a green roof?

Finally, the cost and maintenance. You’ll need to waterproof your roof before you plant. This can be expensive. You’ll also want to review your community’s zoning laws. Are you allowed to have a green roof? Finally, what are you going to plant? What maintenance will be required? Are you going to plant it yourself or hire a contractor? Will you need extra insurance for your home after the roof has been installed?

Green roofs are good for the environment. They can be fun and beautiful to look at too. But before you start growing on your roof, be sure to take a look at your options. Is a green roof right for you?

If you've already tried this interesting idea, we'd love to hear from you! Please feel free to share your experiences below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment