If you want to reduce your company's carbon footprint and dream of implementing eco-friendly renovations to your building, consider installing a green roof on your property. While you may have heard that green roofs are expensive to build and maintain, in the long run they make more economic sense than traditional roofs because of their environmental benefits, sound insulation, and energy usage benefits.
So, dismiss negative thoughts or myths you have about green roofs and begin your planning by consulting with a commercial roofing contractor. In the process, you should explore what types of plants would thrive on a green rooftop so you can begin planning the layout of vegetation.
Green Roof Basics
Your new roof will consist of several layers to help plants grow and provide proper drainage. In addition to the roof surface, the layers will include waterproofing and drainage membranes. Above these layers, the roofing contractor will include a soil screen and soil.
Once your green roof is installed, your business will be naturally insulated against extreme temperatures, which will help to reduce your heating and cooling costs. In addition, a green roof helps to reduce runoff from storm water.
You will specify what type of soil and plants the roof will hold when working with your roofing expert. Green roofs that have walkways and multiple separate areas for different types of plants are called intensive roofs. However, you can keep it simple if you have a flat tar or gravel roof, which is the type found on many commercial buildings. A reputable roofing contractor should be able to work with any type of roofing material to convert it to a green structure.
The grass that you select for your green roof should be drought-tolerant and able to withstand direct sunlight for several hours. You do not want to plant typical lawn grasses the require frequent watering to stay green and healthy or plants that will damage the roof's membranes. Grasses or grass-like plants that you can grow successfully on a green roof include bahiagrass, carex nigra and armeria maritima.
Bahiagrass is a warm-season grass that can withstand adverse soil conditions and high temperatures. Carex nigra is a low-growing sedge and a perennial. It is ideal for roofs because it does not require as much soil to grow as other grasses. The grass of carex nigra is a blue-green or blue-gray color.
Armeria maritima, also called sea thrift, is a low-growing, drought-tolerant perennial that produces vibrant green blades and small pink flowers. It is great for green roofs because it can survive full sun.
Succulents are an obvious choice for green roofs because of their ability to go without water for long periods of time and their ability to adapt to desert-like climates. Succulents store water in their leaves. Typically, they have thick, fleshy foliage and may have spines and thorns.
If you want succulents on your roof, choose low-growing varieties that do not produce many thorny parts such as echeveria, lithops, and delosperma. Echeverias are attractive succulents that grow into rosettes of light green and pale pink leaves with a short thorn on the end. Depending on the variety, the thorn can be dull and harmless.
Lithops, also known as living stones. have a very distinct appearance. The grow into small, stone-like formations and produce yellow or white flowers.
Delosperma, also known as ice plants, are succulents that serve as ground cover. The plants produce short, thick leaves that seem to shimmer in the light, hence the common name of the plant. Ice plants also produce vibrant flowers in shades of pink and yellow. As they spread across the landscape, the flowers create a colorful ground cover. Planting ice plants will give your roof a colorful, all-natural covering.
No matter what type of vegetation you choose, your green roof will help you save money on energy costs in the long run and make your employees proud that they work for an eco-friendly employer.