A living roof to add life to the abode’s exterior

The Earth is getting more and more crowded. The urban sprawl is heading further out from the cities. The environment has been hit hard by the traffic and technology. We are now aware of how important it is for us to save our surroundings.  The search is on for finding ways to create a greener and ecologically friendly environment to live in. Sometimes it is worth looking in the past to renew in order to go forward.

Repurposing has become a hot trend in designing the abode’s decor.

A very exciting trend is now using vegetation repurposed as material for roofing.

green roofs make great alternatives for a long lasting roof that will help save the environment

Green roofing is becoming more popular. This is a great alternative to the traditional modern roof to consider. We are not talking about a pretty green shingle.

  • A green roof refers to making your roof an environmentally responsible component to the abode. Dating thousands of years back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, with its irrigation systems worked into the terraced gardens, living roofs have proven to be good for insulating structures as well as providing beauty. Sod roofs were often chosen for European farm houses for their insulating qualities.

The basic definition of a green roof is a roof that is covered with living vegetation planted over a membrane that is waterproof.

There are two kinds of green roofs: intensive and extensive.

  • Intensive green roofs use about 12 inches of soil and can act as a park with many types of plants and shrubs. Many intensive roofs have walkways and benches as well. They include added layers to the basic vegetation to allow for an intense irrigation, drainage and root protection system. This type of roof top works well on flat roofs, such as a typical city skyscraper.
  • Extensive green roofs are much lighter with only about 3 inches of soil and a simple layer of planting requiring low maintenance. These roofs are used mainly for their environmental benefits and can be used as a material even on a sloped rooftop.

As green roofs are now becoming popular again in Europe, we are starting to use them here too in the United States.  Everything old does become new again. There are times we need to take a step back in order to go forward.

a green roof brings new life to the city

Tar and asphalt roofs attract the heat, increasing the temperatures in our abodes, which in turn, increases the demand for air conditioning. Traditional rooftops temps can rise as much as up to 90º F (32º C) above the air temperature. This is a vicious cycle that increases energy costs and pollution.

Green roofs keep the surface temperature stable and can even help cool off our abodes. A living roof will protect the abode from the weather and sun with its natural insulation. They will extend the life of a roof to at least twice as long as the conventional shingled roof and, in turn, actually lower upkeep costs.

  • The soil and garden growth saves and absorbs water, filtering rain and snow like a sponge; providing help against drought. This is water that will no longer be pouring through the gutters to wash contaminants through the streets and into our drainage and sewer systems. The vegetation naturally removes air particulates and produces valuable oxygen. A green roof will actually help cool the air when the water evaporates from the plants back into the atmosphere.

    how a green roof is built

There are so many advantages to having a living roof both for your own abode as well as for the surrounding community:

  • A green roof makes use of a previously unused asset; creating garden areas to grow vegetables, or providing vegetation in a concrete community with beautiful gardens and a quiet area for a retreat.
  • Green roofs provide a positive impact saving energy; they keep the abode warmer in the cold weather and cooler when it is hot out.
  • Yes, a green roof will cost more to install but will actually save money; lasting much longer than traditional roof systems and saving on energy costs.

As Living Roofs become more popular the prices will be sure to drop making these beautiful rooftops a very viable alternative. Imagine towns and cities being transformed into beauty with the vegetation. City buildings in the urban areas can provide roof top parks for their tenants with safe play areas and even coop garden areas. Envision our towns looking like those picture postcards from the European villages with their sod roof tops.

peaceful

Visualize towns and cities filled with all of the greenery. How beautiful everything will be. Everyone will be more aware of the splendor around them, making people more apt to continue to protect the environment and keep it clean. Now go outside and find a green patch to lie down, relax, close your eyes, and imagine sitting on your green rooftop on a clear evening staring up at the night sky.

Never be afraid to dance!

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Read and subscribe to my Interior Design and Interior Decorating articles written for Examiner.com

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