Grow a Living Roof or Green Roof | Sustainable Living
The thought to grow a living roof is becoming more and more common in the United States but living roofs are not a new idea.
A living roof or green roof is one that has a layer of earth allowing vegetation, perfect for a simple lawn, flowers, trees or a vegetable garden.
They have been an important part of architecture in European countries for more than 60 years. Some countries have recognized their benefits to the extent of requiring that all new flat roofs grow a living roof.
Benefits of living roofs
Water runoff management
Green roofs add an extra layer of insulation to a building. Since the greatest source of heat loss in the winter is through the roof, a green roof helps retain much of that heat. Regular roofs get extremely hot in the summertime, especially ones with darker colors. A living roof cools roof reducing the cost of cooling in warmer seasons by as much as seventy-five percent.
Improve quality of life
In addition to providing cooler temperatures to cities and urban areas, green roofs are attractive and provide a pleasing, natural look to homes and can soften the appearance of buildings. Structures that provide an opportunity to grow a living roof, upon creation provide a habitat for birds and other wildlife in areas that were otherwise wiped clean of greenery. In addition, plants act as natural air filters and remove many air pollutants and reduce the emissions of greenhouse gasses.
So how do you grow a living roof? There are organizations sprouting up across the country promoting “grow a living roof”. Many city planners recommend that all new construction projects grow a living roof with many cities offering education on the subject. The methods for planting include rolling out sod right on top a roof to more complex methods including a system of layering an assorted variety of vegetation and plants. Of course, this all depends on the type of roof you have and the area with which you have to work and then what you plan to plant. If you decide to grow a green roof and planting your entire roof seems like too much to take on, start with a small area first, then you can expand as your comfort level improves. Maybe start with a small shed or even grow a green roof on your dog’s house!