Green Roof Solutions
Green roofing isn’t new, but it is a great way to protect your home or commercial building from the elements, increase its value and aesthetics, substantially reduce your monthly utility bills and do your part to preserve our natural resources for future generations.
Green roofing has been used successfully and is a very popular roofing choice throughout Europe for the last 30 years. It took longer than expected, but the logic, ecological and financial benefits as well as the growing numbers of green roof contractors doing business in the public sector has started to make a significant impact on the U.S. roofing market.
Americans are more knowledgeable and actively involved in going green, being eco-friendly, taking better care of our environment and preserving our natural resources more than any other time in our nation’s history. Minimizing our utility bills, getting rid of some horrendously unattractive flat asphalt roofs, increasing the comfort of our homes along with the wide array of private and public benefits should at the very least make green roofing worth exploring.
There are two typical types of green roofs; intensive and extensive. Intensive green roofs often have a soil depth of a foot or more and require substantial structural elements to support the weight of an entire roof. Intensive roofs can sustain a wide range of plant species and typically require a fair amount of maintenance. The additional structural demands, added maintenance and a significant increased price tag limits the number of property owners who can afford them and thus the demand and number of intensive green roof installations is limited at best.
The increased popularity of green roofs in the U.S. revolves around Extensive green roofs which average 2”- 4” in depth and are planted with particularly hardy plants.
Skeptics of the highest order can’t argue with the substantial and unchallengeable list of private and public benefits that green roofs offer:
Private Benefits include:
1. Increased Roof Life – The life expectancy of a “naked” flat roof is only 15 to 25 years, even with professional installation. This is due to the physical, chemical and biological stress on the roof skin/ waterproofing over the years. Temperature differences of more than 100 °C during the year and 60 °C over 24 hours are not unusual. UV-radiation and high Ozone ratios accelerate the ageing process of the waterproofing; which results in, material fatigue, shrinking, crack formation, and leakage. Green Roofs provide protection for the waterproofing. The vegetation layer buffers the temperature stress during summer and winter, and temperature differences of, 35 °C during the year and 15 °C over 24 hours are not usually exceeded. In addition, the Green Roof creates a protection layer for the waterproofing in case of mechanical damage like hail, wind, vandalism, and fireworks.
2. Reduced Noise Levels – Green Roofs reduce sound reflection by up to 3 dB and improve sound insulation by up to 8 dB. This is important for people who live near airports, noisy discotheques, or industrial parks. Additionally, electromagnetic waves from transmitting stations can be effectively shielded by the vegetation layer.
3. Thermal Insulation – Green Roofs can be regarded as additional thermal insulation, thus, reducing the use of primary energy. This is a well known economic benefit and it’s now possible to quantify this effect and integrate Green Roofs into the building energy balance.
4. Heat Shield – During the summer months Green Roofs reduce indoor temperatures through transpiration. According to recent studies, an apartment underneath a Green Roof is comparable with one on the base floor. The typical overheating of attic flats in summer can be avoided with vegetated Green Roofs and therefore decrease the use of air conditioning and energy consumption.
5. Use of Space- Green Roofs offer various possibilities for usage, including: natural refuges for insects and plants, recreational roof gardens, roof cafés, and sporting areas. As long as the structural requirements are met, there are virtually no limits for plant, garden and landscape designs. If the building is a rental property, the building owner can save costs from purchasing additional land at ground level. A gorgeous view, fresh air, and privacy are also included in the price. Roof gardens and greenery are also known to increase productivity in the work environment.
Public Benefits include:
1. Natural Habitat for Animals and Plants – The sealing of the landscape by human building activities has several negative effects on the ecosystem and the human habitat. This applies in particular for urban areas, where a large share of the total land area is sealed. Vegetated Roofs can compensate for lost green areas and create living areas within sterile cities. Low maintenance extensive Green Roofs also promote biodiversity, as wild bees, butterflies, and insects find food and shelter there.
2. Storm-water Retention – Green Roofs provide an important avenue for preventing flash and local flooding. A Green Roof system growing at a medium depth can reduce immediate water run-off by as much as 50-90%. Most of this water returns directly into the natural water cycle by evaporation or transpiration of the Green Roof. The excess rainwater is filtered and drained off with a temporal delay which leads to reduced stress on the sewer system during peak flow periods and allows smaller sized sewage systems to be installed. In combination with other forms of modern rain water management such as storage tanks, the rainwater can be entirely infiltrated on the property owners land.
3. Reduction of Dust and Smog Levels – Inner city air pollution can cause serious and adverse health effects. Nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxides, volatile organic compounds and diesel exhaust gases etc…create dangerously toxic substances for urban inhabitants, but Green Roofs with living plants are able to enhance the quality of the air.
4. Improving City Landscapes – There’s no argument when it comes to Green Roofs visually enhancing the look, feel and quality of life in the city. The last ten years has seen one small green rooftop island after another disrupt the monotonous, dismal and endless sea of depressing city grey. Studies have shown that green roof environments have a positive and calming effect on our mental and physical health.
The Future of Green Roofs in the U.S.
The most realistic prediction for the future of Green Roofs in the U.S. would be cautiously optimistic. Most commercial buildings are structurally strong enough to support green roofs now. Unfortunately, the vast majority of residential houses and communities are simply not structurally strong enough to support a vegetated Green Roof without substantial and costly roof reinforcement.
That combined with the added cost of a green roof versus a conventional shingle or tile roof and the relatively small number of roofing contractors with the financial wherewithal and expert knowledge to install them properly limits the number of new green roof installations in the U.S. per year.
Not to worry, the prognosis for slow steady growth comes isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As the industry grows, prices will fall and when prices fall more people will be able to afford Green Roofs and when the market grows, the number of green roofing contractors will grow even faster and on and on…
Jordan Roof LA has always been ahead of the curve and for those of you who want to enjoy the public and private benefits of Green Roofing; you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you desire a green roof for your residence or your place of business, you can rest assured that Jordan Roof LA will complete your green roof on time, on budget and not only meet your expectations, but exceed them. We’ve been serving the roofing needs of Southland communities since 1981 and we’re not about to stop now. Call us the next time you’re in the market for any type of roofing service and we guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.
Call us today to learn more about Green Roof Solutions 877.628.5556