At first glance, I was taken aback by the picture: there sat a beautiful little cottage in Iceland, and atop its roof was a grassy field. It looked as if the house was built right into the ground! As I would soon find out, the house was actually fitted with what is known as a “green roof” or roof top vegetation.
Such an installment has many benefits, as we will soon see, for both in cities and in the countryside.
Energy Efficiency and Heat Transfer
These roofs don’t just look cool – they keep you cool too. Natural mechanisms in plants help them keep in a few degree range of the temperature outside, meaning they will work at keeping your roof in a reasonable temperature range.
Through convection and radiation, heat will move down from your roof during hot summers, overheating your house. With a green roof though, the heat will be naturally dissipated by the use of vegetation. The green roof really is a just an advanced form of insulation.
With less of a need to cool your house artificially, your electricity bill will noticeably drop, making you and your home more energy efficient.
To get a good sense of how this heat transfer works, check out GreenRoofs.com 7-part series.
With a green roof, you’re not the only one benefiting.
Because of the vegetation and soil, green roofs also provide themselves to be a useful storm water management tool. Storm water runoff has proven itself to be a difficult problem, especially in cities like Los Angeles and New York, where the runoff will pick up chemicals and pollutants on its way to the sea. Furthermore, as urban development continues to spread, water quality is impaired as less permeable ground is available, heightening the likelihood of sewage overflow.
According to the EPA, green roofs provide a solution, “removing 50% of the annual rainfall volume from a roof through retention and evapotranspiration.” Not only does this help reduce the runoff (and in extension, pollutants) that reaches the sea, but it also reduces the problem of overflow.
Create a Peaceful Retreat
Finally, green roofs provide themselves to be a peaceful retreat when applied to businesses. While green roofing begins to lose its total benefit with taller buildings (when windows become the main saver of energy), it can still provide aesthetic value. Furnishing a rooftop with flowers, vegetation, and gardens helps boost morale with a business and provides an alternative area to enjoy the daily lunch.
With all these benefits in mind, you (or your business) should consider installing green roofs right away. You’ll be saving money, helping the community, and creating a positive environment that reflects nature!