Vegetated roofs offer much more than aesthetics

There are many social, environmental and economical benefits to installing a vegetated roof on your building. While all vegetated roofs have similar functions, each installation is unique and technical performance can vary by region, climate, building and roof type and design. Understanding the key benefits offered by vegetated roofs can improve your knowledge and help you stay ahead of this roofing movement.

Stormwater managementvegetated roofing 5.jpg
Is your city pushing stormwater management efforts? If so, you’re not alone. Cities around the country are beginning to place a strong focus on stormwater management efforts.  This is because most cities have combined sewers, meaning your rainwater and sewage goes into one pipe. During heavy rain events the single pipe system becomes overburdened and causes Combined Sewer Overflow events. By placing regulations and incentivizing stormwater management control, cities are hoping to lessen the chance of these Combined Sewer Overflow events. 

Stormwater management is not a topic that will be going away anytime soon, and it is the driving force for the vegetated roofing movement and one of the top benefits of installing these systems. Vegetated roofs act like a sponge, taking in water as it rains and releasing it to the plants in the system. This prevents a spike in the stormwater runoff system in cities and helps to eliminate the chances of a Combined Sewer Overflow event. 

Convert CO2 to O2
Vegetated roofs convert carbon dioxide (CO2) to oxygen (O2).  Plants help remove particulate matter from the air while adding oxygen to the environment, improving our air quality and combatting greenhouse effects.

Protect your investment
Having to replace a roof can be an expensive and frustrating task for everyone involved. Did you know that by installing a vegetated roof on top of your current roofing and waterproofing membranes can increase the lifespan of the roof? 

By guarding the underlying roofing and waterproofing membranes against harmful ultraviolet radiation, extreme temperature fluctuations, heat aging and physical damage, vegetated roofs protect your initial investment. These underlying membranes will require less maintenance and will save money in replacement costs over the long-term life of the roofing system.

Reduce heat island effect
Another driving factor you may run into for cities to regulate and incentivize vegetated roofing is the urban heat island effect. Because cities around the world are dealing with the urban heat island effect on a daily basis, they are beginning to require green building. 

The urban heat island effect occurs when sunlight and attendant heat energy are absorbed into materials with dark surfaces. Vegetated roofs mitigate this by cooling the air through evapotranspiration. On a 90-degree day, a traditional roof can exceed 160°F. However, under the same conditions, a vegetated roof will typically emit a temperature of only 95°F. Lower rooftop temperatures mean less smog and improved air quality.


vegetated roofing 8.jpg

Energy efficiency
Looking for a way to seal the deal? By building for energy efficiency, you will be saving the building owner money on the cost of running electronic devices such as HVAC systems. By adding insulation to the building, vegetated roofing can provide cost savings for years to come.

The additional insulation offered by vegetated roofs can reduce the amount of energy needed to moderate the temperature of a building, as roofs are the site of the greatest heat loss in the winter and the hottest temperatures in the summer. Vegetated roofs absorb heat and act as insulators for buildings, reducing the energy needed to provide heating and cooling. Also, electronic devices like HVAC and photovoltaic panels work more efficiently when surrounded by vegetation. These electronic devices can work at least 10 percent more efficiently when surrounded by vegetation, which can translate to cost savings for building owners.


What else should you take into consideration? 

There is much more to vegetated roofing than the environmental and economical benefits. Check out the following articles to learn the ins and outs of vegetated roofing. 

Additional articles: