No matter what they say, building sustainable roofs is hard.
It will cost a lot of money to plan, build and maintain it.
Being an investor with limited budget, it makes sense for you to invest in roof that brings value to your building and save you money over time.
Roof with a long life.
Roof that is aesthetic.
Roof that is evergreen.
Key Points In This Post
- Clarify Your Objectives First
- 3 Factors of Success In Any Green Roof Project
- Consider Maintenance Early In The Project
- How To Get 10X Return In Your Investment
What Is a Green Roof?
A green roof or living roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. It may also include additional layers such as a root barrier and drainage and irrigation systems.
Container gardens on roofs, where plants are maintained in pots, are not generally considered to be true green roofs, although this is debated.
In general, green roofs are described in two main categories: intensive and extensive.
Intensive green roofs have more deeper soil layer and offer more opportunities to crop variety of plants, including even small trees.
However they need much more resources to build and have higher maintenance costs.
Extensive green roofs are thinner and lighter, usually not more than 15 cm in depth.
They are simpler and easier to install and that makes them very popular in Western Europe.
That’s why we are going to focus on the second category.
The results show extensive green roofs offer the best return on investment not only in economic but also ecological terms.
What do think if you see pictures like this below?
If you love green roofs like me you might say:
“It’s beautiful..” and “I want it.”
But then come the fears and doubts..
You are probably asking yourself the same questions:
What would it cost me?
What do I need to quit to have this?
Most of the investors ask themselves such questions before making a decision.
Start with: Why you want to build a green roof?
Even the most basic extensive green roofs usually look way better than conventional asphalt based roofing systems.
However, aesthetics is not the main reason to build a green roof.
Why To Invest In Green Roof
Of course the green roofs have a lot of benefits:
- Longer life of waterproofing system,
- Stormwater management,
- Reduction of energy costs
- Increasing the amenity value and quality of life
- Creating a habitat for urban wildlife
- Better marketing appeal
- Mitigation of the urban heat island effect
Whatever your main reason is you will need to consider three things:
- Design of extensive green roof system
- Proper installation
- Maintenance program – you will need this if you want to ensure long-term viability of the roof
While discussing design take into account all adjustments for both the regional climate and the roof’s microclimates.
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The Green Roof Design Process
Now let’s get back to the design.
Think about your green roof as a system.
It includes a lot of different elements that work together and they need to be synchronised.
Fact: The cost of careful design is almost always lower than the cost of failure.
The green roof design process requires interdisciplinary cooperation.
It’s very important to ensure that all the elements of the system, from waterproofing system to drainage layer and living elements, reinforce each other.
Educate yourself first.
Get data for other projects similar to yours.
See how they look after installation.
Are the plants well established?
Maybe you know other investors that could share their experience.
Ask them if there are any leaks?
What problems they have?
What are the costs?
Knowing what they know now would they invest in green roof again?
This information will give you a lot of answers and you will know if the green roof is exactly right for you.
It will help you to clarify your objectives before the design process begins.
Don’t Be Fooled By Installation
Make sure to keep the integrity of the plan and installation
Even excellent design won’t help you if the system is not properly installed.
The most important thing is to ensure that the design intent is fulfilled during the installation.
A lot of general contractors are willing to avoid unnecessary spending.
But changes in the specification, especially if you don’t understand the technology and the role of every component of the system could lead to failure.
Green roof design and installation is a complex process.
It brings together many different disciplines and very often multiple teams.
That’s why communication and coordination across the process are crucial.
The waterproofing system is a very important component of the green roof system.
It should be installed correctly and also need to be protected during the installation process.
If medium has to be stored on site before it can be transported to the roof, it has to be kept free of weed seeds and other contaminants.
If an irrigation system is part of the design, make sure it’s on stock.
Keep everybody on the same page.
Maintenance On A Budget
Most of the maintenance on an extensive green roof is done during the establishment phase.
Plan regular visits with proper timing and keep an eye on the newly installed plants.
Understanding the life cycles of common green roof weeds is important for high-quality maintenance.
Clarify the responsibility for maintenance and define it in the project specifications.
Are You Ready To Build Your Green Roof?
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be
Green roof could be a business asset once it’s installed.
It would increase the value of your property and reduce the heating and cooling costs.
You could build any roofing system but green roof makes difference.
I hope you might find this helpful.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
If you know someone who need it, please feel free to share it.
And of course if you have some questions or think my team and I could be your partners with your next green roof project go to our website and fill in the form. We’ll get in contact as soon as possible.
Be Better You Today!