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Green Roofs Offer Many Benefits

Updated: May 23, 2023

Green Roofs Offer Valuable Benefits

While green roofs are not for everyone, research is showing that they provide a number of valuable benefits to building owners and the environment. The National Park Service defines a green roof as “a layer of vegetation planted over a waterproofing system that is installed on top of a flat or slightly–sloped roof.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), green roofs offer a number of benefits:

  • Lower energy use. Green roofs remove heat from the air around a building and provide insulation to the roof, which reduces heating and cooling costs.

  • Improvements to health and comfort. By reducing the heat transfer through a building’s roof, a green roof can help improve indoor comfort.

  • Improve stormwater management and water quality. Green roofs filter pollutants from rainwater and reduce and slow the stormwater runoff in urban areas. According to the EPA, most green roofs retain almost all storm-related precipitation in the summer months.

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. The insulation and heat-reducing qualities of green roofs also lower the demand for air conditioning, which decreases air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. In addition, the plants on the roof can also remove some pollutants through dry deposition and carbon sequestration and storage.

Green Roofs
Rooftop garden at Frontier Academy, Greeley, CO.

Cost to Install and Maintain

The cost to install a green roof generally run higher than installation costs for more conventional roofs.

Yet a lifecycle cost analysis conducted by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that green roofs provide significant cost benefits over a 50-year lifecycle.

When compared to conventional roofs, green roofs provided benefits that totaled about $14 a square foot in energy costs, reduced stormwater fees and avoided emissions. Green roofs may also offer potentially longer lifespans than conventional roofs.

Your Roofing Experts

United Materials has expertise installing all types of commercial roofs, including green roofs. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about this interesting roof option. We’ll be happy to speak with you and discuss your needs and come up with a roofing solution that meets your unique application.

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