Does Green Roofing Help the Environment?

In some places like the Faroe Islands, or in Canada, Norway, Switzerland, and other states within the US, like Illinois and New York, an old-fashioned style of roofing is slowly gaining popularity again. This is due to its perceived environmental benefits especially by blunting the effects of global warming caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases and excess heat into the atmosphere.

Green roofing derives its name from an old style of roofing which uses vegetation to insulate the roofs. While some would disagree to its effectiveness, studies show that green roofing significantly reduces temperatures in highly industrialized areas. In countries like Germany and USA, green roofing can also provide insulation from heat, thereby reducing the demand for cooling systems that run on Freon or CFC’s.

An environmental phenomenon known as the “heat island effect” may not be much of a big deal in rural areas because of the vast amount vegetation and sparsely inhabited areas. However, this can be a problem in densely populated areas where much of the high rise buildings, concrete roads, and commercial establishments occupy most of the land area, leaving all but small patches of land scattered within the city.

People who are conscious of these environmental setbacks are now slowly going back to the traditional green roof but with added innovations to fit within the modern way of living. This by far has become one of the best substitutes to commercial roofing because of its two-way effect which benefits both the homeowner and the environment.

Nowadays, the term green roofing also applies to other ways of reducing temperatures using inorganic materials. Examples of green roofing being used today is the so-called “cool roof”. This is a kind of commercial roofing that reflects most of the light and heat from the sun. There are also roofs that absorb the heat and are used to conduct and store electricity. Either way, they both contribute in mitigating the effects of global warming. However, the most significant benefits coming from natural green roofs are those derived from organic materials.

Aside from environmental factors that make green roof preferable to industrial and commercial roofing, they can also cut the cost on other expenses. Although sometimes green roofing can come at a high price, it can actually save more money in the long haul. Not only can savings be had on cooling and other ventilation systems, it actually promotes better health because of its ability to trap environmental pollutions. Recently, a great number of business establishments have showed much interest in green roofing industry. As a result, more and more roofing companies are offering more competitive and better service for their customers.

A typical green roofing system consists of waterproof insulation or roof ballast, a layer of vegetation, green roof drainage system, and growth media retainer. Water proof insulation comes in different sizes and designs, from lightweight materials such as insulation membrane to heavy duty roof ballasts. Layers of vegetation used to cover the membrane or roof ballast can be from green roof blocks that can be pieced together as one unit.

Some green roofing services offer home service where they are built directly on the roof ballast. The drainage system ensures that water is funneled out properly. Soil erosion can be prevented by the growth media retainer and ensures the materials can be resued. Properly designed, it can cost up to 5 to 10 dollars per square foot. Some green roofing available on the market today features some innovations that helps save on maintenance and ensure the green longevity.

About The Author
Nick Messe is president of Lead Frog LLC. For all types of roofing in Northern Virginia and Maryland contact Orndorff & Spaid. in business since 1953 we specialize in all types of residential commercial and industrial roofing in Maryland and Northern Virginia. We offer a full professional management team with over 175 highly experienced field personnel –

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