Given that you’re reading an environmental blog, you’ve probably heard the term “green roof” before. But just in case you haven’t, here’s a quick overview.
Green roofs are pretty much exactly what you might expect: roofs covered in vegetation. Usually, though, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Green roofs also involve some growing medium, waterproofing membrane, root barrier, insulation, structural support, etc. Here’s a structural diagram of a basic green roof.
Here is a rather wild-looking architectural example, which offers stark contrast to the stern lines of the building on which it sits:
Modern green roofs (and most green infrastructure in general) are flat for the most part, and mostly involve native plants that are unlikely to need any upkeep besides what their native environment can naturally give them. However, they can of course be meticulously landscaped as well, especially in commercial settings where the green roof is large and flat and can actually be almost park-like, like the green roof on City Hall in the city of Chicago:
Historically, the green roof originated in Scandinavia. In fact, most houses in Scandinavia during the middle ages were roofed in sod, as they provided good insulation and temperature regulation while the weight of the sod helped to stabilize the structure of the house.
Green roofs come with a veritable smorgasbord of benefits like increased roof life, reduced noise levels & sound reflection, as well as good thermal insulation in the winter and heat shield in the summer. Benefits of green roofs on public buildings even include storm water retention and reduction of dust and smog levels.
Green roofing manages to make usable space out of what might have otherwise been wasted and left empty, virtually useless in the scale of things. They can even be used in conjunction with solar paneling systems.
Look at all this potential! Maybe it’s time to put a little green into our infrastructure.
Tagged as: architecture. environmental. environmental design. green infrastructure. green roof. writings.