Should You Try a Green Roof?

Should you try a Green Roof? Will this roof make your home more efficient?

Many homeowners are looking at improving energy efficiency around their households, whether it be through smarter appliances, better windows or other cooling and heating methods to reduce reliance on furnaces and air conditioners.

One development that is gaining popularity is a green roof to cover your home. But what does it entail? Is it expensive? How much does it save in the long run and what are the drawbacks of installing a green roof? Don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you here.

To Green Roof or Not To Green Roof

Pros of Green Roof

Assists in temperature moderation

Most roofs provide very poor insulation, which results in both a loss of heat in the winter and a loss of cooling in the summer. When a green roof is installed, the plants help absorb the sun’s heat, which means your home uses less energy to keep itself cool. This could result in savings of approximately 20% for the cooling of your top floor alone!

In contrast over the winter, the thermal insulation of a green roof also means that you use less heat over the winter months, saving you anywhere from 3-10% on your heating bills.

Improved Drainage

You might be surprised at how much water a green roof can hold. It is capable of holding a great deal of runoff water within the plants which helps to prevent flooding.

Longevity

Roofs are the first line of defence against the elements and having a green roof that regenerates is significantly advantageous for protecting this investment in your roof and your home. Some green roofs have doubled and, in some cases, tripled the life expectancy of rooftops.

Better Air Quality

Air pollution can be a scourge on health for people living in many cities. A green roof helps alleviate air pollution by absorbing not only carbon dioxide, but also dust, sulphur and other harmful particles that can cause breathing difficulties.

Additional benefits

You can grow fruits and vegetables (how cool is that?).

Reduces noise (because of the insulation value).

Cons of a Green Roof

Cost

Green roofs are more costly than standard roofing. First, they are significantly heavier than standard roofs and therefore, require more structural support. This increases material and labour costs.

Second, a waterproof liner must be installed that allows the soil to hold water while preventing leaks into the roof. Overall, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that green roofing can cost $10 – $25 per square foot depending on the complexity of the material and work involved. A standard roof, in contrast, typically costs between $4 and $7 per square foot.

While the upfront cost is steeper for a green roof, it will eventually be made up by savings on heating and cooling.

Maintenance

Think of your green roof as another garden, likely costing anywhere from 75 cents to $1.50 per square foot to maintain. This will give you a good idea of how much work is required to take care of it year-round. Your green roof will need to be watered, trimmed, weeded and fed properly in order to maximize your investment and realize the savings available from your environmentally friendly transition!

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