Green roofs are a relatively new phenomenon, first utilized in Germany in the 1960s. Since then, two groups of green roofs have emerged – intensive and extensive, and each has varying degrees of usage and cost.
Intensive roofing requires more soil and, therefore, a stronger underlying building structure. The upside of intensive roofs is they can provide a wider variety of uses such as growing food, recreation, or providing open park-like space. Greenery can include anything from ground covers, flowers, shrubs, and even trees. Features such as ponds, benches, tables, and walking paths can also be added to increase useability.
Extensive green roofs require a thinner soil depth, fewer soil layers, and therefore less maintenance. Planting options tend to lean to the low-maintenance plants such as drought-tolerant grasses or succulents due to their shallow root systems. Extensive options may not be as aesthetically appealing and lush as intensive roofs; however, they are more pleasing and more functional than their asphalt or shingled roof predecessors.
A few reasons why green roofs make good neighbors in a community:
- Reduces heat
- Improves air quality
- Adds oxygen
- Reduces the risk of flooding and sewage overflows
- Increases plant and animal biodiversity
- Working or living near green environments enhances the quality of life
Green roofs improve commercial property directly by:
- Increasing property value
- Adding to building aesthetic
- Possible tax advantages
- Ability to add usable square footage to your property
- Lower monthly energy costs
Green roofs cost twice as much as ordinary roofing; however, they last two to three times as long as traditional roofing because the vegetation and water barrier act as protectants from extreme heat and cold. Combined with the monthly energy saving costs to your heating and air conditioning bills, innovative roofing may be something worth digging into. A little more green upfront will lead to years of cost-saving benefits.