Many things have changed in the years, nay, centuries since modern tile siding and roofing became popular. There have been advances in so many areas of home and general building design and construction that looks to the past, outside of aesthetic reasons, have been left just there: in the past. But what if the past is a gateway into a greener future that not only is good for the environment but also helps save on cooling and heating bills. As well, there are financial benefits to having a green, or living, roof. The past returns yet again with lessons for the current high tech age.
So what are these benefits I’m talking about? Well, let’s start by listing them, shall we?
The Green Way to Save
With a roof that is literally alive, one would think that it would hinder, not help, in housing bills and yet it does. The roof growth can reduce the cooling loads of the building by up to 90% through what is called evaporative cooling (cooling of air through evaporation of water). This is both an environmental and financial benefit that can readily felt. It can also naturally insulate a building a building for sound. How? The soil itself absorbs low frequency sounds while the plant absorbs the high frequency spectrum.
So that’s cooling and sound, but what about the heating? Because of the make up of the soil and the biology of the plant life, green roofs can reduce heating bills by adding mass and thermal resistance value. In other words, it acts as a natural insulation. Take that, Pink Panther! To add further credence to this, a study conducted in 2005 by a fellow named Brad Bass who hailed from the University of Toronto concluded that when installed properly and correctly, green roofs was responsible for the reduction of heat loss and energy consumption in the winter months.
Second Pair of Lungs
Now let’s talk a bit about the health impact of green roofing. Nature works far better than any man-made contraption ever devised and, at times, more efficiently as well. Take the fact that plant life “breathe out” oxygen and intake our poisonous carbon dioxide. As such, they can filter and absorb pollutants and CO², thereby helping to lower the risk of illnesses such as asthma and allergies. The roof-borne plant life can also filter out pollutants and heavy metals from rainwater that accumulates and runs off of the roof.
Lastly, a couple of points that can help persuade even the staunchest of cynics to the benefits of green roofing. If you are one who cares about the environment and all creatures of the Earth, then knowing that your roof can also serve as an additional natural habitat for some animals might be enough to keep your mind at ease. The very nature of a green roof can have lasting impact on the home/building because the actual lifespan of the roof increases and it adds to property value.
As you can see, green roofing is not just an aesthetic trapping for hippies and staunch environmentalists, but they also have many benefits that help you save money in the long run and keep you healthy, cool and warmed. Allowing you to keep a few extra dollars in your pocket isn’t a bad reason to consider either.