The 411 on Green Roofs for Your Home

It’s not always possible for people to take extended breaks from modern life, but more and more people are looking for ways to bring elements of nature closer to home. One of the ways homeowners are looking to create financially and environmentally viable living spaces is through the installation of “green” roofs.

So, what is a green roof, and how do you know if might be right for you?

1. What is a Green Roof?

A green, or living roof, is essentially an installed rooftop garden that generally consists of a waterproof membrane, draining layers and insulation, and soil and plants. Though the appearance, style, and composition can vary widely, there are both extensive and intensive varieties. Extensive green roofs are generally less accessible but also lower-maintenance, featuring shallower soil and plants like succulents and other drought-resistant varieties (or sometimes grasses or pre-vegetated mats) that require little more than rainwater in the way of watering. Intensive green roofs are more accessible and utilize more soil. The distinctions between these two affect everything from cost and labor time to structural requirements.

2. What are the benefits of a Green Roof for my home?

The benefits are numerous, and both tangible and more abstract/subjective. Green roofs reduce greenhouse gases, energy and insulation needs, stormwater pollution and runoff, and flooding potential. They can increase (sometimes drastically) the lifespan of your roof, beauty and curb appeal, and the availability of habitats for wildlife from birds to butterflies.

3. What are the requirements for a residential Green Roof installation?

There are structural requirements for any green roof, thus it’s advised to first consult with a structural engineer. Flat roofs, or those angled up to about 30 degrees, are usually good candidates. The structure also has to be able to support and hold the weight of a green roof, which can be substantial (about 20 lb./sq. ft.). The roof should also be in a generally sunny area. Many cities and towns have permit and other requirements for green roofs.

4. What are the costs for a Green Roof for my home?

 Costs vary widely, from $12-45/sq. ft. installed. The cost is dependent on many factors, like whether you are installing an extensive or intensive roof (extensive are generally less expensive upfront), size of the structure (some homeowners actually start with green-roofing a smaller structure like an outbuilding, shed, or even doghouse) and whether the gardening and maintenance portions or handled through professionals or DIY. Experienced green roof professionals are always recommended!

5. How much maintenance is required for a Green Roof?

Maintenance is generally low, but also depends on whether you’ve invested in an extensive or intensive garden. Plant types also determine how much is required in the way of watering and weeding.

Green roofs can be an incredibly beautiful, earth- and pocketbook-friendly way to bring nature closer to your home. Contact Bayscape if you don’t want to do it alone, we are happy to help and guide your process?

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