If you live in a city, you probably don’t have much of your own outdoor space. With the British summertime upon us, the parks are packed and we are all wishing we had our own little outdoor retreat.
Green roofs were previously for the eco enthusiast but you don’t need a Grand Design to justify an environmentally friendly roof. Green roof systems are the perfect way to create a luxury living space whilst do something good for the environment. Us Brits have been slow to adopt the green roof – the fear of the unknown – but the green roof isn’t a new thing. The Swiss, Swedes and Germans have been installing green roofs for decades!
There are lots of economic and environmental reasons to go green on your roof:
– Great for insulation: less air conditioning in the summer and less central heating in the winter
– Plants and soil soak up rain water – reducing wastage and flooding
– Provides a haven for wildlife
– Purifies the air: converting nasty greenhouse gases into nice clean oxygen
– Reduces noise: soil and plants work together to soak up high and low frequencies
But like everything, green roof systems come with their downsides and I am sure you can guess that it comes down to the financials. The initial set up may cost more than your traditional asphalt roof, but asphalt and its counterparts have a limited life expectancy. Plus asphalt is a big eco no-no. It is made from oil; factor in its limited life-span and its attractiveness as a low-cost solution may also be in danger. In a few years let’s hope that we will be saying good-bye asphalt and hello roof meadow! On the upside once you have installed your green roof the maintenance is little to nothing (unless you prefer the manicured look), the vegetation protects the water proof membrane and extends the life of your roof. As a long term solution the green roof wins hands down, and looks a lot nicer than blistering asphalt!
A green roof system doesn’t have to be an intensive deep rugged terrain supporting an eco system, it can be a manicured lawn with outdoor sofas. Even a rooftop lawn does its bit for the environment, spending its days converting CO2 and absorbing up to an inch of rain water – every little helps our over worked drainage systems.
Who’s to say you have to put an eco pond on your roof, if your structure will take a pond it will certainly take a hot tub!
So whether you want a meadow or a rooftop party pad here’s what you need to know:
Check the structural soundness of your building, most roofs can take the extra weight but it is best to check. Depending on the types of plants used, lay the appropriate membrane to stop any leaks or roots growing down into your house. A simple solution is the sedum roof, these are the basic green roof plant – hardy and drought resistant. The best thing about these little plants it that they aren’t a grass type so you don’t have to worry about mowing them. It’s best to plant a number of different varieties of sedums that flower at different times to keep your roof looking colourful all year round.
A sedum covered roof with gravel
We are all for eco buildings but if you can access your roof, why not have the best of both worlds – party pad and eco heaven!
Kensington Roof Gardens show us how it’s done…
If you’re still sceptical why not start out with a sedum green roof on your shed! For the real thing, we suggest you get an expert Rated Person tradesman in, as you don’t want to risk a leaky roof or a tree put its roots down!