What are Green Roofs?
While there is a long history of roofs featuring living plants, modern green roofs are becoming a more common feature in new construction in the Puget Sound region and across the country. But what exactly do we mean by the term “green roof”? The simplest definition is any building roof that is covered, completely or partially, with living plants growing in soil or another medium. A distinguishing feature is that the plants and soil are placed on a waterproof membrane covering the roof, and not in planting containers.
The Benefits of Green Roofs
While the initial cost of a green roof is greater than a conventional roof, the benefits can be impressive. They include substantial insulative properties that can reduce the energy needed for heating in winter and cooling in summer. Several green roofs clustered together have even been shown to help reduce the temperature of a neighborhood by counteracting the heat island effect. An excellent benefit is the creation and restoration of habitat for wildlife like birds. Not to be forgotten are the positive effects of more greenery on the humans who occupy the area. Green roofs are beautiful!
The Need for Green Roofs
Permitting for all new development in the City of Seattle now requires a plan for storm water management. This is an area where green roofs can be a major factor. Along with other plant material, pervious surfaces, and bioretention facilities like rain gardens and bioplanters, green roofs can significantly reduce immediate storm water runoff. They are becoming an important tool for designers and architects in meeting the city’s permitting requirements for larger buildings in our growing city.
True Scape Design is a registered landscape architectural firm with experience in designing green roof plantings on different scales. As a design/build firm, we are also very experienced in all phases of new landscape construction, including the installation of green roofs on new developments.
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