A Different Take to “Green Roof System”

LeakSeal takes great pride in installing green roof systems that reduce energy costs and are environmentally conscientious. The Solar Shield Reflective Coating we apply with our Fiberglass & Emulsion System does just that: saving energy and reducing cooling costs. However, there are other unique approaches that others have taken in the effort to install green roofing systems. The rising popularity of living roofs, roofing installations that include a vegetative layer growing on top of a permeable layer, gives a new literal meaning to the term, green roof systems.

Living green roof systems have been around for hundreds of years, being a common sight during 19th century American prairie life due to the number of people who lived under turf roofs. However, an increasing number of builders and architects are incorporating the same concept of vegetative roofs, not simply for aesthetic or design purposes, but for their potential functionality and benefits to the environment. Green roof systems have popped up all over the world in big cities like Chicago and Tokyo. In countries like Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, buildings are required by law to have living green roof systems. Currently, Portland, OR is running its own Grey to Green initiative to replace several of its commercial building roofs with living, vegetative roofs, breaking up the current monotonous landscape of steel and cement.

Popping up all over urban environments and cities, green roof systems are creating stirring alcoves of abundant with color, life, and nature in an otherwise steel and artifice environment. A park filled with birds and trees at the top of a commercial building in the middle of the city may seem disconcerting and out of place in the urban jungle of the city. However, more city-dwellers are positively voicing positively for the idea and encouraging their own cities to turn their flat, asphalt roofs into living green roof systems. The growing enthusiasm toward green roofs reflects the changing attitudes that many are having toward urban environments and their relationship to nature. People are less likely to see their cities as foreign and alien to nature these days, but rather as yielding the amazing potential to coexist in its own type of ecosystem. Naturalizing cities allows for a more symbiotic approach to nature versus manmade construction than we have previously found acceptable. By transforming roofs into living green roof systems, otherwise unused roofing space can now become habitats that promote the growth of wildlife and reduce some of the ecological footprint that cities imprint upon the environment every day.

Along with helping reduce the ecological footprint, living roofs also provide the following benefits:

- Mitigating urban heat islands and reducing high roof temperatures.

- Reducing energy use: Living green roof systems absorb heat and act as insulators, reducing the energy necessary for cooling and heating by as much as twenty percent.

- Reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions: By lowering the necessity for air conditioning, less air pollution and greenhouse gas is emitted into the air. Vegetation also helps to remove air pollutants.

- Improving comfort and health: green roof systems reduce heat transfer through the roof, improving indoor comfort and reducing heat stress.

- Enhanced stormwater management and water quality: Green roofs can slow stormwater runoff. They also filter rainwater more effectively, returning cleaner water for use and potentially reducing the chances of street flooding.

- Improved quality of life: Green roofs can provide aesthetic value and habitat for many species, as well as improve physical and emotional contentment for people who feel irritated living in an urbanized environment with no vegetation.

Living green roof systems can be installed on a wide range of buildings, and can be as simple as a patch of grass or as complex as a fully accessible park with trees and shrubs. Initial costs of living roofs are generally higher than conventional roofs, up to two or three times more, but owners often see costs offset by the savings they earn through reduced energy and stormwater management costs. Estimated costs of installing a living roof starts at $10 per square foot and goes up to $25 per square foot. Annual maintenance costs range from $0.75“$1.50 per square foot.

Despite what type of roofing installation, green roof systems are increasingly becoming an important part in benefiting the environmental impact of cities and urbanized environments. Installing green roof systems in Vancouver, WA, such as the Fiberglass & Emulsion System, will help improve the expenditure of energy in this city.