While green roofs have seen an increase in popularity in the US and Canada, it is actually in Europe, where you can observe the true potential of these systems. Fourteen percent of the total roofing area in Germany has green roofs. I’m not at all surprised by this statistic, given its economic and environmental advantages.
As more and more buildings start to adopt green roofs, I thought it would be a good idea to curate a read about this topic to give my readers better insight. So, without any further ado, let’s get right into it.
A green roof is just as the name suggests—a roof covered in greenery. Also known as a vegetative or eco-roof, new and existing buildings can have green roofs.
Depending on its overall design and construction, a green roof could be a ready-made module or individual components installed separately. Irrespective of the scheme, almost all green roofs have the same fundamental layers—vegetation, growing medium, drainage layer, filter fabric, root barrier and waterproofing membrane. Each layer is essential to ensure the success and durability of the system and the roof deck.
Before I take you through the details of how a green roof can add to your overall property value, let me quickly describe the two main types of green roofs that you may come across: intensive or extensive roofing. The soil depth is the significant difference between the two types.
Extensive green roofs have a thin layer of soil, and the accompanying plants are often smaller, more natural species able to withstand the harsher conditions with little or no irrigation. This type of roof is often a better option for retrofit projects as it weighs much less than an intensive system.
Intensive green roofs have a deeper layer of soil and irrigation which can satisfy the growing conditions of larger plants and even trees. New builds with the designed structure to account for the increased weight of the system typically have this type of roof installation. From an aesthetic and usability perspective—if you can dream it, you can pretty much achieve it with an intensive green roof.
There are pros and cons to each system. Moreover, each building is unique regarding structure, the desired level of maintenance and end-user experience. Frankly, it warrants its own in-depth investigation to understand the true potential.
In the following sections, I have outlined some of the main reasons for installing a green roof, which, in turn, could enhance the value of your property:
After the initial installation's costs, green roofs help moderate the building's temperature by providing additional insulation and, in turn, reduced heating and cooling costs.
Green roofs can also increase the lifespan of your roof by decreasing its exposure to the elements, reducing the need to spend money on your roof assembly prematurely. In some cases, a green roof may extend the life of your roof by up to 60 years or longer!
These are just a few of the ways green roofs can save you money.
The following benefits may not directly affect your pocketbook, but you can confidently use buzz words like green or sustainable in your marketing. Many people today are looking for ways to contribute to the betterment of the environment through sustainable living practices. A green roof may be what you need to appeal to this section of potential buyers or renters.
Here are some ways through which you can promote the environmental benefits of a green roof in your marketing campaign:
Unlike that under-utilized indoor pool in the basement of an apartment that tenants visit once to say they used it, a well-designed outdoor rooftop amenity space can be a deciding factor in whether to rent/buy in a specific building.
The options are endless for what a green roof could be. Something as simple as a lounging area with moss can evoke feelings of tranquillity and contentment. While something more intense, such as large trees, gas grills and lawn games, can provide that social experience to meet neighbours and create a community.
Installing a green roof is win-win-win satiation for the property manager, the tenet and the environment. Even though the initial cost of the installation may look like a hefty investment—the return-on-investment will be remarkable. I should know I designed one!