A green roof or a living roof has a profound effect on the quality of life of an individual and the surrounding community alike. Its influence is particularly noticeable in urban areas, where concrete and unnatural materials dominate the landscape. Besides the obvious aesthetic appeal, having vegetation on the roof has many practical advantages over other available roofing solutions, spanning from long-term financial gain to improving living conditions on a grand scale. The following is a brief introduction to some of the benefits of green roofs.
Growing a layer of vegetation on your roof will protect all the systems that are in contact with it, as well as the roof itself. It will prolong the life of waterproofing membranes, as a green roof offers offer much better insulation than conventional roofing solutions. As a result, waterproof materials in the roof will be less exposed to big temperature fluctuations, identified as one of the causes of micro-tearing and ultraviolet radiation.
Green roofs also brings a drastic improvement in energy efficiency. Many don’t know that roofs are responsible for the biggest heat loss in the winter and warming of the house in summer months. Better insulation offered by a living roof will reduce the amount of energy needed for moderating the temperature of your house. Results of a research conducted by National Research Council of Canada indicate that an extensive green roof (supporting 10-25 pounds of vegetation per square foot) can reduce air-conditioning costs in the summer up to an incredible 75 percent.
Reduction of fire, noise and EM radiation
In addition to offering much better insulation, green roofs have much smaller burning heat load. In other words, they burn much slower and at much lower temperatures, ensuring minimal damage to the property in the case of fire.
Living roofs are a have excellent noise-reduction properties, especially in dealing with low-frequency sounds. Research shows that an extensive green roof (see above) can filter out outside nose up to 40 decibels, while an intensive one (supporting 80-150 pounds of vegetation per square foot) can reduce the noise by an incredible 46-50 decibels.
Extent of potential health risks of exposure to electromagnetic radiation from wireless devices and mobile phones is still a matter of some debate, but all agree that noise-reduction properties, has a negative effect on human health. It is experimentally determined that green roofs can filter out up to 99.4 percent of EM radiation, in effect isolating you from its harmful effects.
Green roofs require a relatively big initial investment compared to a conventional one, depending on the type of vegetation, depth of planting medium and the maintenance regime it requires. However, don’t let yourself be deceived. What may seem as a bargain at first may turn out to be a much worse long-term solution. A conventional roof, although cheaper, will burden you with maintenance and repair costs right around the corner. These are virtually nonexistent for a living roof, which will pay itself off in a year or so. Then it will continue to save you a lot of money in electrical bills, significantly prolonging the lifespan of virtually every device in your house and improving your quality of life along the way.
Author: Kerry Blake is a writer of home-related articles for Arrow Roofing.
Image source: Norðragøta, Faroe Islands