Green Roofs 101

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What is a green roof?
A green roof is a cover of vegetation which is installed on top of a roof. The plants used for a green roof vary from ground cover, to turf grass, shrubs, trees and even vegetable crops. The type of climate, structural capacity of the roof and aesthetic preference determine which type of vegetation is used. Green roofs can provide a natural refuge for building occupants and wildlife but also insulate the building, and reduce heating and cooling costs. Cities in particular benefit from the addition of green roofs. They reduce the “urban heat island effect” by replacing dark, heat absorbant surfaces with plants that clean the air and keep rooftop temperatures down in the summer, while absorbing and filtering stormwater. Sitting on top of the existing roof, the layers of the green roof include a membrane which provides insulation and protection, a drainage layer, a filter mat, and a soil layer, topped by the vegetation.
 Benefits of the Green Roof: 

  • Insulates the building lowering heating and cooling costs
  • Helps to extend the life of the roof
  • May add to the property value
  • Helps to retain stormwater runoff
  • Provides a natural habitat to the area’s wildlife

Frequently Asked Questions: 

  • Does a Green Roof affect my existing roof? The green roof actually helps to protect the existing roof. Green roofs help to
    block damaging UV light and will shield the roof from inclement weather.
  • What are the maintenance requirements? The ACUA’s green roof will be very low maintenance. The vegetation selected is drought tolerant and grows to a height of 6-7 inches. During a prolonged period of drought some watering may be required. Green roofs should require nothing more than standard roof and drain maintenance.
  • What does a green roof cost? This type of green roof would cost approximately $25 a square foot.

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