FIGURING OUT HOW MUCH A GREEN ROOF WILL COST IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS, AND REQUIRES UNDERSTANDING THE MANY FACTORS THAT GO INTO THE CALCULATION.
Asking “How much will my green roof cost?” is like asking “What should I wear to my sister’s wedding?” when the person at whom the question is directed has no idea what you look like, where the happy event is taking place or what your personal opinion on bowties happens to be.
Us, we like bowties … but what if you don’t? We couldn’t possibly predict that without talking to you and finding out more.
All of which is to say, it’s impossible to know how much your green roof will cost until we examine several factors. Unfortunately, therefore, there’s no way to get an instant green roof quote online.
(And if you do get one, we strongly recommend you run as fast and as far as you can. All that means is the company uses such a canned approach that the resulting roof is unlikely to last long, or to benefit you or the surrounding ecology. Booooooo.)
That said, what exactly does a smart greenroofing company consider before providing a quote? Moreover, what are the average installation and stewardship costs of the various green roof types?
Let’s take a look.
Factors That Determine Your Green Roof Cost
Just like with green roof weight, your specific roof, climate and other variables all combine to influence the total cost.
The same goes for green roof design, which is ideally based on a natural model that varies depending on where you live, what type of structure your roof will adorn, what types of plants you use and how you intend to steward them over time.
As The Renewable Energy Hub points out:
- An intensive green roof usually costs more than its extensive counterpart, because the soil depth is doubled or more.
- A highly accessible roof will cost less than one that’s very high up.
- Roofs that need no structural enhancement will cost less than those that need strengthening before a green roof can be installed.
- If you already have a design, that will cost less than if your ecological designer needs to create the specs themselves.
- The types of plants and growing media influences cost.
Until your green roofer knows what you want and has had a chance to check out your roof, they’ll have a hard time telling you exactly what you might pay.
That said, however, green roof installation and maintenance do fall into a basic cost range.
Average Green Roof Costs for Installation and Stewardship
According to the EPA, there’s actually a pretty simple answer to the question of how much green roofs cost: “Estimated costs of installing a green roof start at $10 per square foot for simpler extensive roofing, and $25 per square foot for intensive roofs. Annual maintenance costs for either type of roof may range from $0.75–$1.50 per square foot.”
You’ll notice, of course, that those ranges are fairly significant.
Other studies, such as one conducted by the University of Michigan, found that a 21,000-square-foot green roof “would cost $464,000 to install versus $335,000 for a conventional roof in 2006 dollars. Over its lifetime, though, the green roof would save about $200,000” in energy needs.
So really, a green roof is substantially cheaper than a conventional one … but only over decades. Also, it’s worth pointing out again that your specific desires regarding form and function can put you anywhere along the EPA-cited spectrum, but at least now you have a basic idea of costs.
Want to learn more about how much your specific projects and goals will run you? Ecogardens is happy to consult or start on a project today. Please feel free to call or email us any time!