While a handful of people might have a negative opinion about the aesthetic appeal that a living roof (aka green roof or roof garden) brings to a home, let’s face it, all gardens are beautiful, no matter their elevation. The great thing is that a garden on your roof will definitively make a by-passer look twice.
As the level of awareness in environmental friendliness is rising, green roofs are being seen as a means of sustainability rather than just a trend. Therefore, green roofs are nothing out of the ordinary for specific areas around the world.
Living roofs consist of added layers to the existing roof itself which usually involves a process of making the roof waterproof before the green layers get added. Even though living roofs might seem like a complex structure and a costly process, they have many benefits and is worth the investment.
Benefits from Green Roofs
When a green roof is implemented on a rooftop, it is not only the homeowner who will benefit from it but the environment as well. Green roofs hold many benefits for the rest of society on an economical, ecological and social level, and we bring you some of the most important ones.
1. Stress Reduction
Nature has a positive effect on the well-being of humans as it helps to reduce stress while providing relaxation. For example, it has been proven that patients recover faster when they are in a natural environment. Whether green roofs are seen on the rooftops of an entire neighborhood, on top of corporate skyscrapers or hospital buildings, green roofs can help to improve the mood of people overall while at home, at work or recovering at a facility.
2. Habitat for Wildlife
The more greenery, the more animals. People have been destroying the natural habitat of animals for decades. Now it is time to give back, even if it is just in the form of rooftop trees that can offer a place for birds to nest.
3. Increasing Urban Agriculture
Green roofs act as a garden, which means that growing food on your roof will not be a problem. If more green roofs are implemented on skyscrapers around the world, it would be a great start fresh food production in urban areas thanks to the possibility of miniature-farms.
4. Decreasing Noise
Cities are known to be noisy which is known as noise pollution. Living roofs provide a layer of insulation on top of the roof what helps to absorb, reflect and deflect sound waves. The result is a reduction of noise inside and outside the home or building.
5. Better Air Quality
It goes without saying that more nature is better for air quality as plants and trees give us oxygen while reducing and filtering polluted air and gases. A large number of green roofs in an urban area would have a tremendously positive effect on the air quality of the city, and it may help with the reduction of smog as well.
6. Minimizing Waste
The fact that green roofs have an extremely long lifespan, they also reduce the need to produce new materials for new roofs over a short time frame. Another way of decreasing waste is through lowering the need of heating in cooling which is responsible for greenhouse gasses.
7. Rain Buffers
Plants and grass absorb rainwater, and that can help to avoid stormwater rundown which can evolve in flooding. At the same time, the plants use water effectively because they return water to the atmosphere through transpiration and evaporation. For homeowners or building owners, this also means less maintenance when it comes to cleaning out the gutters.
8. Urban Heat Island Effect Reduction
Areas that have more green roofs can benefit from a decrease in ambient temperature. Plants absorb and reflect sunlight which creates a more refreshing and pleasant climate.
Return on Investment to Homeowners
Even though green roofs are quite expensive to install, homeowners can inspect a return on investment through savings. Because these eco-roof adds a layer of insulation to the house itself, it ensures efficient heating and cooling throughout the years which will decrease the energy bills. Cooling cost is known to be reduced by 25% in homes with a green roof.
Furthermore, besides from soundproofing the home and minimizing roof maintenance, the homeowner will be sure to have a more secure roof as a green roof provides a protective layer over the existing roof. Green roofs provide a natural fire resistant layers and decrease erosion of the roof as well. Taking all of this into consideration the fact that green roofs have a lifespan of over 50 years does not come as a surprise. Homeowners can expect to recoup their investments in 8 to 20 years, and at the same time, living roofs add more value to the house.
After adding up the most important benefits roof gardens can give us, it is evident that green roofs are a great choice for a sustainable future. The green roof market is evolving with innovative products which provide many options for homeowners who wish to install an eco-friendly roof. Implementing green roofs during the construction of new buildings can help us fight many problems in urban areas.
Mattea Jacobs, the author of this post, is a freelance writer who mostly writes about both interior and exterior home design, and environmentally-friendly ways to improve homes. She is also a green activist, and a mother of two beautiful sons. You can reach her on Facebook and Instagram.