Green Roofs and Commercial Buildings

 

Green Roofs and Commercial Buildings

Green roofs, which are also known as rooftop gardens, are becoming ever more common in this day and age. Green roofs are extensions of existing roofs on both residential and commercial buildings

Green roofs on commercial and residential structures provide an array of different types of benefits. In a growing number of municipalities, a requirement exists for the inclusion of green roofs on certain types of commercial buildings. If you are contemplating a green roof for your business, whether because of a requirement in your community or because it is your voluntary decision, there are some factors regarding rooftop gardens that you need to bear in mind.

Basic Components of Green Roof or Roof Garden

At the heart of a roof garden system is layers that form the foundation of a green roof. A key to the system is to ensure that it is fully waterproof and does not allow seepage into the building.

The typical rooftop garden has between six to seven layers. Beginning from the bottom and moving upward, a green roof “foundation” begins with a high quality waterproof membrane. On top of the membrane is a root repellant system followed by what sometimes is considered an optional layer of insulation.

Next, a green roof is layered with a drainage layer followed by a filter cloth for fine soils. The next lawyer is a lightweight growing medium or type of soil substrate. Finally, at the top, a green roof is completed with plants of different types.

In most cases, an additional step is taken to assist with drainage, fire control, and access to permit roof maintenance. This usually consists of a shallow layer of gravel, or pebbles, that is placed around the outside perimeter of the rooftop garden.

Essential Benefits of a Green Roof

As noted previously, there is an array of different types of benefits associated with a green roof. One of the key benefits associated with a green roof is a reduction in heat loss and in energy consumption during colder months of the year. In warmer months, a green roof can assist in reducing the cooling load on a commercial building.

A broader benefit of a green roof is that it can lower urban air temperatures. For this to be accomplished, there must be a concentration of green roofs in metropolitan area. This is one of the reasons why some municipalities are making green roofs a requirement for certain types of commercial structures.

A green roof also assists in reducing storm water runoff. It also provides increased sound insulation. The installation of a green roof improves a building’s LEED rating. A roof garden also increases the lifespan of a roof.

Types of Green Roofs

There are two primary types of green roofs in place in this day and age. These are intensive and extensive. The primary underlying differences between these two types of green roofs are accessibility and required maintenance.

Intensive green roofs are designed for human interaction. These types of green roofs have easy access and more elaborate landscapes. These roofs include things like small trees, shrubs, fountains, and walking paths for human enjoyment. As a result, these types of green roofs require more in their construction and maintenance.

Extensive green roofs are designed to be self-sustaining and require minimal maintenance. These types of roofs are not designed to human interaction. Extensive green roofs also feature different types of vegetation. These types of roofs feature vegetation like self-seeding sedums, certain types of grasses, mosses, and meadow flowers which require very little irrigation and maintenance of any type.

Scaffolding and Creating a Green Roof

In order to fully install a green roof, and tend to perimeter matters, scaffolding oftentimes is utilized. Scaffolding can be an invaluable piece of equipment in the creation of a green roof.

The key to making the best use of scaffolding in creating a green roof is to make sure all safety considerations are met. This includes properly assembling and placing the scaffolding in the first instance, making sure people are properly trained on use of a scaffold, and ensuring that materials used on a scaffold are secured appropriately.

Cost of a Green Roof

The cost associated with a green roof depends on a variety of factors, including whether an intensive or extensive derivation will be selected and the location of the building on which a rooftop garden will be created. With that noted, there are now professionals with experience in installing green roofs in many major municipalities. These pros can provide estimates on the cost of installing a green roof on a commercial structure.

Jessica Kane writes forĀ AdvanceĀ Online, a leading provider of web-based OSHA. DOT. and HAZWOPER training.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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