In urban areas, space is at a premium. Especially large lots that could house gardens or green spaces, since such spots are likely to attract buyers who will build on them. So what’s a garden-lover in the city to do?
Well, we contend that green roofs can go a long way toward fulfilling that desire, without requiring the purchase of new property. Plus, even if your green roof never gets used for recreation, it’s still a wonderful thing to do for the planet … and even your wallet.
Today, let’s discuss some of the main benefits of green roofs, from the well-known to the more esoteric to the downright surprising.
Energy Cost Savings
Believe it or not, a green roof can help you save on your energy bill. Greenery absorbs heat from the surrounding environment, which is especially problematic in urban heat islands, or cities in which human activity causes a huge heat spike compared to surrounding areas. Plants do double duty in the wintertime as well, insulating the building.
No one needs to tell you that plants drink water. You know what doesn’t, though? Asphalt, tar and shingles, which create funnels of water that erode landscapes and cause flooding. Use green roofs to suck extra moisture right up.
Yep, you can get a tax break for putting plants on your roof. Check with your local and regional tax code for specific information. For buildings that meet ASHRAE standards, you may qualify for federal tax breaks as well. These can help offset the cost of installing the roof, and you may qualify for them long after it’s put in place.
Okay, fine, so you didn’t need to be told that green roofs are pretty. But when it comes to beauty, there’s more than meets the eye. Studies show that people who spend time in natural settings, away from the lines and repetitive patterns that define the manmade environment, are calmer, less stressed out and more productive.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system (LEED) was developed by the United States Green Building Council to mark buildings constructed with a high degree of environmental attention. Green roofs can help you meet LEED standards, which can in turn get you more tax breaks.
Guess what your employees will always love you for? More outside time! Giving them a place to spend some calm, contemplative hours is the perfect way to use your rooftop space. Walking paths and visual interest are always a plus.
Many people think of green roofs as an extravagance. But as we point out here, “you don’t have to replicate a rainforest in order to reap the benefits sustainable roof systems can offer.” In fact, you can do it on a pretty restricted budget using the following tips:
- Building a green roof on top of your existing roof instead of replacing it
- Green roofing with mosses and grass rather than trees or shrubs, which need much deeper soil
- Choosing low-maintenance plants
Believe it or not, installing a green roof can actually make your roof last longer, because you’ve got a handy system for repelling rainwater, withstanding bad weather and insulating it against leaks.
Ever tried putting a foot of soil over your head to block out a loud rock show down the street? Well, probably not … but if you had, you’d discover the incredible noise-canceling ability of earth. Put that to use on your rooftop and reap the benefits today!
Green roofs truly do combine a wealth of benefits into one pretty, cost-efficient and long-lasting package.