Exploring the Benefits of Green Roofs

From stunning Instagram homes to magazine pages and episodes of Grand Designs, roofs which embrace flora, fauna, foliage and flamboyance are a modern phenomenon. Though they’re often seen adorning schools and modern office buildings, there’s no reason why they can’t sit on top of your very own home. And they come with a bunch of positives: so why are green roofs so beneficial? Here are just a few of the many reasons!

  1. They exhibit stunning natural beauty

The aesthetic argument for green roofs is nothing short of utterly convincing. Not only are they beautiful and worthy of many hours spent basking in their beauty, but they can contribute to the environment in your area. If you’re in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a green roof could help the house to blend into the environment and meet legal requirements. Equally, within a city, green roofs are striking and can add a splash of green to otherwise grey areas. If the question is ‘why are green roofs so beneficial’, the first answer would be: because they make EVERYONE happy!

Did you know: Green roofs are seen as a much-needed tool for regeneration by politicians and theorists alike.

  1. Recreational space

If you’re blessed with a large flat roof (such as on a commercial property), a roof garden can create new space in which to relax or even play sport. Not only can you benefit from the sunlight on the top of your building, but you are less restricted by grey walls and thus more likely to find yourself relaxing and forgetting the cares of the world. They can also be used for food production, and that means you’re basically halfway there to living The Good Life.

Did you know: Green roofs can increase your quality of life by providing private, outdoor spaces for those who can’t afford large back gardens in cities.

  1. They can offer an undisturbed habitat for wildlife

If you’re looking to create a wilder rooftop than a mere lawn, you will be doing wildlife a favour. Insects such as butterflies, bees and all manner of crawlers will find their way into the greenery and create homes for themselves. Why are green roofs so beneficial, though, in comparison to a normal park or garden? The fact is that the wildlife can thrive when left alone; getting the bees out of the local park where they are constantly threatened by nosy dogs and poorly-kicked footballs, and onto our roofs is an idea nothing short of genius.

Did you know: Plants such as sedums, hawkbits, trefoils and viper’s bugloss are experts at attracting bees and butterflies.

  1. Noise reduction

If you’re tired of being situated under a flight path or bothered by other neighbourhood noises (why is there always someone drilling at night?), a green roof acts as a natural noise insulator, trapping the sound in its air pockets and helping to soften it before it can emanate through the walls. The effects are actually pretty solid, with 12cm of greenery cutting sound by 40 decibels, which could mean that traffic noise is completely eliminated.

Did you know: The different parts of the green roof absorb different levels of sound: high pitches are absorbed by the plants, and lower pitches by the medium in which the greenery grows.

  1. Reduces Urban Heat Island effect

It’s widely accepted among scientists and A-Level Geography students that the air in cities is warmer than that of the country. This is all down to the modification of surfaces within cities. For example, dark surfaces such as tarmac roads will absorb more heat energy, making the city slowly heat up throughout a sunny day. In the countryside, however, the heat is less easily absorbed by plant matter. There is also more evapotranspiration which enables the air to cool down.

Did you know: Making your roof into a tiny, elevated countryside can actually contribute actively to the reduction of heat in cities.

  1. Reduced stormwater runoff

In storms, urban drainage systems can become overwhelmed, leading to flooding which has devastated parts of the UK in the past. Why are green roofs so beneficial in storms? Because they are dually helpful. By retaining water, they reduce roof runoff and ease the strain on drains. This is equally helpful at boosting the life of the greenery, as the water is absorbed into it, thereby helping to sustain animal and insect habitats as a happy by-product.

Did you know: Green roofs will intercept and store up to 80% of rainfall in summer – an unfortunately necessary precaution for good old Blighty!

  1. Increased energy performance

As greenery acts as a type of insulation, it can help to conserve heat within a building, increasing its efficiency, at times making a difference of almost fifteen degrees Celsius on the membrane beneath. It can also reduce the degree of temperature fluctuation between summer and winter, and moderate the effect of UV, frost and sunlight.

Did you know: Studies in Germany have shown a reduction of between 3% and 10% expenditure on energy in the winter for homes which have a green roof. Despite the variation, it’s most definitely a money saving enterprise.

I’m green with envy now…

All this talk of green roofs has made us want to get hold of one for ourselves! Green roofs aren’t just aesthetically pleasing: so now, when you’re questioned by those who want to know ‘why are green roofs so beneficial?’ you’ll be able to whip out these ideas and put on your ecological hat. Trust us, by the end, they’ll be wanting one too.

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