Green roof technology encompasses an increasingly sought-after range of products, but what exactly are those products and how do they apply to you?
Imagine you’re in downtown Chicago, Detroit or St. Louis. You’re standing 20 or 40 or 60 stories up, gazing out at the sea of rooftops flowing before you. What do you see?
If you’re like most denizens of the Midwest, you see a lot of bare rooftops. Some A/C units, maybe a few solar panels. And … wait, is that … yes! It is! A patch of green, defying rain and snow and wind and frost and burning sun to survive at elevation, in an unnatural environment, against all odds.
It is a green roof, and it is kicking ass.
But how? How is it we’re able to engineer such hardy environments in such demanding environments?
Green roof technology, friend. Today, we’re here to talk about exactly what that is, so you can stop wondering what it is – and start making the most of green roofs in your own life, business, city and environment.
Just What Exactly Is Green Roof Technology?
“Green roof technology” is a bit of a misleading term in that it doesn’t apply only to one product or system. Instead, it refers to a complex of compatible technologies that together make up the living vegetative systems that cover an increasing number of America’s rooftops – and those of the world.
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities explains that “Green roof development involves the creation of ‘contained’ green space on top of a human-made structure.”
They further define a green roof system as “an extension of the existing roof which involves, at a minimum, high quality water-proofing, root repellent system, drainage system, filter cloth, a lightweight growing medium, and plants.”
Green roof technology, in other words, encompasses any product, soil, electronic device or even high-performing plant that allows a green roof to do what it does best: retain and detain stormwater, clean the air, fight the urban heat island effect, provide animal habitat and reduce pollution.
Again, though, “green roof technology” really means multiple technologies. What are they?
What Components Does Green Roof Technology Include?
Although green roof technology may differ slightly from rooftop to rooftop, the basic components of every roof follow a basic pattern from outermost (exposed to the environment) to innermost (laid against the rooftop itself).
- Plants: The top vegetative layer captures water, releases it back into the environment, provides animal habitat and adds aesthetic appeal.
- Growing Medium: The soil or soil-like media is the layer in which plants grow, itself responsible for a large percentage of water retention and release.
- Filter Cloth: A filter cloth or layer keeps the growing media above it from trickling down into the drainage layer, so water can move freely.
- Drainage Layer: Green roofs can’t always handle stormwater loads through plants and media, so a drainage layer ensures that surplus water is carried away from the roof. This avoids stressing or drowning plants, as well as adding too great a burden to the roof’s structural capacity.
- Root Barrier: This layer ensures that errant plant roots don’t pierce the waterproofing membrane and cause leaks that penetrate to the building.
- Waterproofing Membrane: The base layer keeps water away from the building envelope.
Together, these form the incredible stormwater-fighting and water-retaining power of green roofs across the nation and globe.
How Can You Get Started?
Would you like to learn more about green roof technology and its amazing ability to keep plants thriving in the harshest of urban environments?
Whether your green roof is failing and needs first aid, or you want to install a new one, we invite you to get in touch today.
We can explain the mechanics of green roofs and help you address the needs of your rooftop most effectively.
All you have to do is get in touch.