WHY GREEN ROOFING CAN BE KEY TO SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS
Sustainability is becoming a key mission for organizations as environmental awareness grows. Exploring sustainable options allows organizations to drastically reduce carbon emissions while developing new technologies. Green roofing is one solution that is becoming popular. Here is a detailed guide to its advantages beyond simple sustainability improvements.
Green Roofing & Its Benefits
Green roofs are covered with vegetation and plants, either partially or entirely. Vegetation is planted over a growing medium placed atop a waterproof roofing membrane. Additional features may include root barrier systems and drainage or irrigation systems.
Green roofs can be installed with new construction or retrofit for existing facilities. They are increasingly utilized as roofing for commercial, industrial, and municipal buildings. While this technology is well-established across Europe because of legislation and financial support provided by governments, green roofs are still growing in understanding, acceptance, and implementation across the United States.
Intensive green roofs consist of a thicker roofing material that can support a wider plant assortment—they are heavier, require a minimum depth of 12.8 cm, and need more maintenance to upkeep. Extensive green roofs are shallower, weigh less, and require less maintenance. Green roofs can also support other green technology, such as photovoltaic solar panels or solar thermal collectors.
Some environmental, economic, and social advantages of green roofing include:
- Aesthetic improvement of facilities
- Improved rainwater management
- Increased marketability
- Longer roof lifespan
- Improved thermal performance
- Wildlife habitat support
- Air quality improvement
- Reduced noise
- Energy conservation
How Green Roofs Contribute to Sustainability Efforts
Green roofs contribute to the sustainability efforts of an organization through:
- Conserving energy by insulating the building and mitigating thermal heat gain, which reduces the need for heating and cooling. This also improves the service life of HVAC systems due to decreased usage.
- Extending the lifespan of the roof by shielding it from the elements. Green roofs offer protection that can double or triple the useful life of the structure. This keeps more roofing materials out of landfills, reducing waste.
- Decreasing stormwater runoff on average of 40 to 60%, keeping runoff out of local sewer systems, and reducing wear and tear along with potential damage that can lead to contamination.
- Improving air quality by trapping airborne particulates and gases and performing photosynthesis to reduce pollution while decreasing urban heat island effects that produce ozone and diminished water quality.
- Providing habitat for local wildlife, decreasing the impacts of urbanization to local populations.
- Absorbing radiation to better the microclimate of the immediate area.
While green roofs aren’t as widespread in the United States as they are in Europe, they can make a major impact on local organizations and communities. With a variety of installation options for new and existing buildings and the ability to incorporate further sustainable technologies, green roofs have the power to greatly bolster an organization’s sustainability efforts.