Are Green Roofs the Future?

House with vegetation on the roof

Green roofs are one of the most exciting developments in roofing. Not only can they be attractive, but they provide social, environmental, and economic benefits. Find out why we are so excited about green roofs, which some believe are the future of roofing.

What is a Green Roof?

Green roofs grow plants on top of an existing roof. To protect the roofing system from exposure to water, a waterproofing membrane is used in between the roof and the growing medium. A growing medium is then applied on top of the waterproofing membrane. Plants are then planted in the growing medium. An irrigation system may be used to water the roof, or it may rely on rainfall. When installed correctly, no leaks pass through the roof to the property.

There are many styles of green roofs. Succulents, grasses, herbs, and wildflowers all work well on the green roofs as they can be grown with all maintenance. A traditional vegetable garden can work on the roof, but requires maintenance in the form of harvesting and planting.

A green roof is not a replacement for a traditional roof; it goes on top of the existing roof.

Benefits of Green Roofs

Green roofs are attractive, but their benefits go far beyond beauty. When roots are used to grow edible produce, they increase food security and promote consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables.

Since these roofs provide a natural insulation factor, they reduce reliance on HVAC systems, which helps to extend the lifespan of HVAC equipment and reduces fossil fuel consumption and energy use. Green roofs also reduce noise transfer and act as a natural fire retardant.

Green roofs remove carbon from the environment. Air quality improves too, since plants filter the air.
In urban areas, green roofs can be incorporated into planned development to provide outdoor space for the community. They’re seen as valuable, increasing both the value of a property and its marketability.

While green roofs have been fairly niche thus far, there’s reason to believe they will become widespread as material costs decrease and investments in carbon drawdown increase. At present, few roofers understand the manufacturing and maintenance needs of a green roof, but we expect this to change as demand grows. At Brandstetter’s KangaRoof, we are excited about the potential of green roofs, and we’re happy to discuss ways that you can go green.