For the last few years the green roof industry has been steadily growing. This is partly because of organizations such as Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) which promote the various benefits of having a green roof or a living roof as it is also known.
Green roofs not only benefit the environment, they are also beautiful to look at and they can save you money on other things. A living roof can retain more rain water and it is interesting to know that rain water which has passed through a green roof is actually cleaner. Tests carried out show that the water contains far less lead, copper and zinc once it has passed through a vegetated roof.
Green roofs are responsible for reducing sulphur dioxide which causes acid rain and for reducing nitrous acid in the air directly above the roof. Your home will be cooler during the summer because a vegetated roof will keep your house naturally cooler so you will not have to use the air conditioning so much. Likewise, during the colder seasons a green roof will protect your home from the elements and enable you to spend less on heating bills. Research also shows that a living roof can help with soundproofing your home.
It is easier than you might think to create a green roof on your house, garage or summer house. You may need planning permission before you start and it would be wise to order a structural engineering report in case your roof is not suitable. You should design your eco-friendly roof so that it blends in with its natural surroundings. In other words, you should perhaps consider using similar plants to what you have in your back yard so that it looks aesthetically better. Alternatively you can either buy roofing material which comes already supplied with mature plants or you could pay a professional to oversee the project for you.
Hardy plants, herbs and sedum seeds are popular choices to plant on a green roof. You will also need to buy aggregates combined with organic compound which contains plant nutrients. This will act as a layer on your living roof. Go to your local gardening centre to buy a moisture blanket, a filter sheet and a root membrane. If you are not very confident about this project then go online and do plenty of research beforehand. Remember it is not as complicated as it may sound but it is important to do it properly because you want a roof with efficient drainage so you would need to know how to install a drainage board.
You can use your imagination regarding the design of your green roof. You could even create your very own urban oasis right on top of your house! By making your roof green you are being eco friendly and improving the landscape in your area as well as making your home more efficient to run. Generally speaking, conventional roofs do not last as long as green roofs so this is another bonus. So long as your living roof has a good working drainage system and ample water absorption you cannot go wrong.
Mike Sorensen is a structural engineer and master cabinet maker and the author of www.AcousticFields.com/blog audio blog. He provides tips for soundproofing a room using environmentally friendly sound production methods and generally tries to do good by mother Earth.