Since its introduction to the market, many homewoners have transitioned towards “green” living in an effort to reduce the cost of utilities. In small, urban spaces, a new trend has emerged: green roofing.
What Is a Green Roof?
Green roofs are roofs that are covered with vegetation in an effort to reduce the roof’s surface temperature. A lower surface temperature reduces energy costs by decreasing the amount air conditioners must run to obtain a desired temperature. A green roof also helps preserve and extend a roof’s lifespan, which also saves money.
Benefits of Creating a Green Roof
Aside from its financial benefits, green roofs have become inner-city havens for those who have access to them. With luscious vegetation and dappled shade, roof gardens permit individuals to relax in an environment that transports them from the concrete jungle to a tropical oaisis.
Roof gardens allow gardeners to expand their imaginations and practice their hobby in a completely different environment. Constructing a roof garden is no simple task – it requires long hours in sweltering heat, creative construction, and most importantly, the gardener must find a way to get all materials needed to complete their project up to the roof. With all this said, the overall benefit far outweighs the arduous work needed to create a green roof.
Materials Needed for a Green Roof
- A waterproof membrane, such as heavy plastic. Without a waterproof membrane, a roof will stay moist, which may create unstable support conditions.
- A root barrier to prevent roof damage caused by actively growing roots. Maturing roots can find their way through the smallest cracks and expand in both length and width as they grow, which can cause significant structural damage in little time.
- A growth medium that will sustain plants as they mature and provide adequate drainage. The medium selected depends on the types of plants used.
- A root barrier to prevent roof damage from actively growing roots. Growing roots can find their way through the smallest of cracks and expand as they grow, which can cause significant structual damage in little time.
- A drainage system that will retain as little water on the roof as possible. Any water that is trapped on the roof will add to the garden’s overall weight, which may become too heavy to support safely.
Plants Used For Green Roofing
Depending on climate zone, wind, rain, and light conditions, a wide variety of plants may be incorporated into a green roof. Most green roof designs use the following plants:
- Sedum pussillum
- Native Wildflower Blend
- Achillea millefolium (Yarrow)
- Centaurea cyanus (Bachelor’s Button)
- Oenothera speciosa (Primrose)
- Opuntia drunnondii (Prickly Pear)
- Rudbeckia hirta (Black Eyed Susan)
- Solidago (Goldenrod)