If you have ever seen an aerial picture of a city, you may have noticed what looks like grass growing on the roof of some of the buildings. Well, that is grass, and it is part of what is known as a green or living roof. People all around the world are starting to utilize living roofs, although not everyone who has a living roof also owns a city high-rise building. Still, a living roof is something for you to consider if you are looking for a way to save the environment and lower your operational costs.
Intensive Versus Extensive Living Roofs
Those living roofs you see on the top of city buildings are intensive living roofs. Their job is to provide vegetation and living space in areas where those two important features may not exist. The picture above shows an extensive living roof, which is basically a roof used to reap the benefits of a living roof and not for supporting human life. On an intensive living roof, people plant gardens and sit out in the sun. They become the little piece of heaven city dwellers need from time to time to escape the confinement of the city.
Benefits of a Living Roof
As we just mentioned, a living roof can create living space where there was none before. Both intensive and extensive living roofs help to absorb rain water and protect the main roof, and they also act as natural insulation against the heat and the cold. A living roof also adds more oxygen to an area and can help improve the overall air quality. An intensive roof can also be a source of food for people who might otherwise not be able to grow fresh vegetables of their own.
Drawbacks to a Living Roof
The most immediate drawback to a living roof is that it is expensive to install. In order to have a living roof, you must first put a waterproof covering over the main roof and make sure that the vegetation and moisture do not damage the roof itself. An intensive roof requires a considerable amount of cost to build, especially because of the reinforcement required for the main roof to support the weight of the intensive roof.
If you have a flat roof and have a particularly rainy year, then the water retention of the living roof could cause damage to the main roof and even cause major leaks. Living roofs also require ongoing maintenance that can become expensive and tricky to pull off. You do not want the vegetation on your extensive living roof to start growing out of control because the increased weight could cause problems for your main roof. A living roof could also attract bugs and other pests that would cause a variety of issues for your home.
There are all kinds of innovative ideas out there that can add character and functionality to your home. A living roof could be the best way for you to lower your energy bills and help handle excess water from those spring rain storms. But a living roof is a tremendous responsibility, and you should understand what you are getting into before making the decision to turn your roof green.