Save Money and the Environment: Green Roofing
Building a green roof isn't as simple as placing some plants on your rooftop
By Kathryn Keep
Today's world is going green from floor to roof. Even your own rooftop can become a healthy, green habitat. A green roof is simply a roof covered with plants. Green roofing is popular in Europe and Canada and is gaining popularity in the United States because of its natural beauty and energy efficiency.
A green roofs starts with a regular roof fitted with a series of waterproof membranes and a drainage layer followed by a layer of soil and plants. Plant selection depends on the climate and how much work you want to put into it. Starting from seed isn't necessary with newer green roof modules or preplanted tiles.
Extensive green roofs generally have 2 to 4 inches of soil and use only the hardiest plants. Less common, intensive green roofs have a foot or more of soil, so the building must be much stronger to support the added weight, and these roofs require more maintenance.
Green roofs make a building more energy efficient and offer the roof protection so it lasts longer. Urban areas can especially benefit from the ability of green roofs to reduce pollution and control urban heat effects.
Green roofing isn't just for flat roofs. With the right system, any roof can be made into a green roof. Not all green roofs need irrigation or weed control. It depends on climate and plant selection.
Green roofs help new buildings achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Accessible roofs even have the potential to become vegetable and herb gardens.
About the Author
Kathryn Keep is a regular contributor to DexKnows. She is an eco-consultant, with expertise in environmental issues, home decorating, green building, and general sustainable living.
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