Everyone agrees that starting to build a building from the roof is not a good idea. But this does not mean that this part of the structure is of little importance, or that it should not be included in planning in advance.
It is also wrong to think that there is not much room for innovation or variety on the roof of a house or commercial building. For these people, the green roof concept may be a complete novelty.
Whether you are one of them or have heard of the concept, you will like what’s coming next, as you will get to know what exactly a green roof is, what are the advantages and disadvantages of it, and some practical examples of this type of roof.
What is the green roof concept?
The name of the green roof has everything to do with the main material that makes up this type of roof: plants. Instead of ceramic, steel, or any other hard material, the secret of the green roof is to use the apparent vegetation.
And the most interesting….
The idea is not just to decorate the place, as a kind of decorative plant vase. The purpose is to save energy and make the building more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Another point that may surprise you
It is not just about creating a kind of vegetable garden on the concrete roof and planting whatever you want. There is a lot of technology behind the green roof. For all of this to work well, there is a well-designed engineering process, which ensures care for vegetation and the maintenance of the site over time.
How does the green roof work?
It pays to be more specific when I say that there is a lot of technology behind the green roof implementation process. Basically, the structure of such a covering is based on no less than 7 layers of materials. They are:
Roof – The slab itself that is used to cover the construction serves as a basis for applying the other layers.
Waterproof membrane – The membrane ensures that no moisture passes into the building.
Barrier against roots – The roots of any plant grow naturally. This barrier serves to contain this growth and stabilize the entire roof.
Drainage system – It is the system, which will drain the water captured from the rain and prevent leaks or flooding on the roof.
Permeable fabric – The permeable fabric just above the drainage system serves as a basis for placing the land that will receive the vegetation;
Land – Every plantation needs land. It goes just above the permeable tissue to keep the system alive and to ensure that the plant grows and breathes;
Vegetation – Lastly comes vegetation, which can be grass or some specific plant.
Some green roof systems are smart enough to retain some rainwater to irrigate the plant in dry weather.
Advantages of using the green roof in your projects
There are many advantages to having an ecosystem for a house or commercial building. Just to mention some of the advantages, it is worth mentioning:
1. Thermal and acoustic comfort
The first and most obvious benefit is the thermal and acoustic comfort that the green roof offers. As it is made of vegetation, it prevents heat and sound from entering the building’s internal environment.
The more pleasant internal temperature and the low noise level in the place give greater quality and well-being to those who occupy the building.
2. Intelligent maintenance
The rainwater retention system for irrigating roof vegetation in times of drought is a major advantage that takes away the worry of how to keep the roof beautiful and alive.
Of course, there is still a need to care for the appearance of the place. Without automation, there is no maintenance system, which does 100% of the work. But it is already quite a help.
3. Less pollution
Another great advantage is the reduction of pollution around the building due to the photosynthesis process that the roof vegetation normally performs.
4. Differentiated look
There is no vegetation 100% equal to another. So, even if two buildings are identical and both use a green roof, there is a good chance that they will have a unique look.
This touch of differentiation is perfect for buildings that seek to stand out through design, especially when they want it combined with sustainability.
Disadvantages of using the green roof in your projects
Of course, it would not be realistic to think that the green roof has only advantages. Although this is something to be glimpsed for the future, the fact is that today there are still possible obstacles that may hinder the adoption of the sustainable model of coverage.
Some of the main potential difficulties that you may encounter halfway if you want to put the green roof on a building are as follows:
1. Cost of qualified labor
As we are talking about a new, highly technological, and revolutionary process in terms of the quality of the final result of the work, we cannot expect cheap labor.
The good news is that you can already find good professionals and even companies specializing in green roofs. The problem is that as the competition is almost zero, the price of this qualification tends to be much higher.
In addition, the delay due to travel can be greater than opting for a type of conventional roof, which any construction professional is used to.
2. Getting the government’s approval
Once again, the novelty factor weighs on the negative side when we take into account the size and weight of the government. Obviously, the project will need to be approved by the local city hall before the construction receives the green light. For example, check out Washington DC’s guidelines and restrictions for green roofs.
The problem is that with the novelty some supervisory bodies may be confused and cause obstacles to the process.
Does this mean that it will be very complicated or even impossible to approve a project with a green roof? Not necessarily. There are already many such constructions. But, it is worth warning that it may not be as easy as it should be.
3. Adaptation of the maintenance cycle
Although the maintenance cycle is, in some aspects, even smoother than that of a conventional roof, it cannot be argued that the green roof still inspires care. As the maintenance cycle for these covers is different, adapting to them may cause strangeness at first.
Is that a reason to put aside the green roof and all its advantages? No. The adaptation process is transient, and although the first projects may bring some obstacles, the tendency is that later this becomes the standard.