Green Roofing – The Breakthrough in Combating Urban Heat?

While it is an accepted fact that a roofs most essential purpose is to act as a barrier against the weather and natural elements, green roofing has created a whole new and diverse dimension in this field. A green roof can offer far more than mere shelter, and has the potential to assist in a range of tasks including providing energy for your utilities and a safe habitat for plants and animals alike. They can even collect water for surrounding gardens, and therefore have the potential to make a valuable contribution to the well being of our environment.

What are the Main Types of Green Roofing?

Green roofs are vegetated and natural roof covers which are built on top of a roof deck, and may also be referred to as an ecoroof or sky garden. It is a relatively modern and increasingly popular construction technique, and fits well with the contemporary drive of governments and citizens to develop sustainable energy and maintain an eco-friendly lifestyle. There are two fundamental categories of green roof types, and each boast different features and benefits to the concerned citizen.

The first is called the extensive type, and this is a non-recreational space which hosts a sustainable biotic community of herbs, grasses, plants and other natural succulents. These are usually planted into a layer of shallow soil which covers some of the roof surface or in single plant pots, and are then allowed to develop naturally in an exposed and dry environment which encourages growth. This type of structure is usually favored in smaller spaces, which is not usually accessible for an alternative or social use.

The intensive option is a far more costly affair, and requires a higher level of planning, commitment and knowledge to construct effectively. These roofs are usually created with recreation in mind, and so can accommodate individuals mixing among the array of plants and living organisms. The entire roof surface is covered in far deeper soil than that which is seen extensive green roof projects, and will often house larger species of plants and even trees in some instances.

The Benefits of Green Roofing and its Pitfalls

Biodiverse roofs offer a further example of these eco-friendly principles, and these may also be referred to as rubble or brown roofs. They boast all of the benefits affiliated with a the green roof, but their main difference is that they are usually designed to fulfill a particular biodiversity project or objective. These can vary depending on the environment and the climate, but may including providing a habitat for an under threat species or featuring as part of a local council or government bodies biodiversity scheme. So while these roofs may borrow much from the typical extensive green roof, the individual choice of soil, plants and growing mediums will be selected with a specific project or objective in mind.

Green roofing has been suggested by many to be a significant breakthrough in resolving global warming, especially as contemporary cities are becoming increasingly shorn of sun reflecting vegetation which cool the earths temperature. If creates an opportunity for households to resolve this issue, and subsequently reduce global warming while actively improving our earths natural environment. In addition to this of course, green roofing also provides the necessary strong barrier to heavy rain and inclement weather, and even retains between 70 and 90 percent of fallen rainwater (depending on the system) to assist with water drainage and local river flooding.

Now although green roofing helps to insulate properties in the winter and helps to make your home more energy efficient while saving money, there are certain financial costs associated with green roofing. Whether you select an extensive or an intensive roof type, they are not especially cheap to install especially as expert guidance is often required to complete the job properly. This problem is even more relevant when you consider the option of installing photovoltaic panels on your existing roof, which help to provide primary or back up electricity to households but currently costs nearly twice as much as traditional utility providers.

Is Green Roofing the Answer to Reducing Global Warming?

Green roofing is undoubtedly becoming increasingly popular in contemporary suburbia, and despite its current cost implications it is expected that government incentives and improved technology will reduce this expenditure significantly in the next decade. With more an more citizens being actively encouraged to create a green roof or implement some form of solar inspired technology on their roof top, then the environment can truly begin to feel the same benefit afforded to the individual household, and in time we may see the threat of global warming begin to gradually diminish.