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June 20, 2018  |  Login

Install a Green Roof

Create a living ecosystem on your roof to lower temperatures and trap pollutants

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A green roof, also known as an ecoroof, is a vegetated roof system that applies the use of plants and natural growth to replace the conventional roof. Ecoroofs use shallow, lightweight soil held in place by a waterproof membrane to support vegetation to turn your roof into a beautiful living ecosystem. There are many advantages of an ecoroof: they can absorb rainwater, trap pollutants that fall onto the roof, produce oxygen, provide a wildlife habitat, lower heat temperatures in the building, and reduce the urban heat island effect, not to mention providing aesthetic benefits for human users.

There are two types of ecoroofs: extensive and intensive. The extensive ecoroof is planted with very drought-tolerant plants, such as Sedums and other succulents. Extensive roofs require little maintenance and almost never need watering. The intensive ecoroof however, is more like a roof garden, with a wide variety of plants that often times need to be watered and groomed. Intensive ecoroofs are ideal for areas that can be visited, like roof terraces on top of apartment buildings or upper story decks.

Ecoroofs can be as elaborate and grand or as simple and small as you want them to be. From tiny sheds covered in grass to the world's largest, which covers 10 acres over a Ford Motor Company plant in Michigan, ecoroofs are sprouting up all over the country. One thing to keep in mind though is that ecoroofs should not be installed without professional help. First you need to make sure your roof can handle the weight of vegetation; a structural engineer can help you with this. Dangers of an ecoroof sliding off or even squashing your house should inspire you to do your research and planning first.


Take Action / Next Steps

Visit Green Roofs for Healthy Cities or to decide whether an ecoroof is right for you and to find qualified professionals in your area.


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Did You Know?

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1. About Green Roofs. "Green Roofs for Healthy Cities." Available from [10 April 2009]

2. Dell, Owen. Sustainable Landscaping. "Green You Home for Dummies." Wiley Publishing, Inc. 2009: Hoboken, NJ

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