WARNING: Why You’re Losing Money By Not Using a Green Roof

Green roof. Credit: Van der Tol Hoveniers en terreininrichters bv.

A look at how the green roof can have a positive influence on your bank balance. In the world today, it seems like everyone is talking about how we should become more “sustainable”. With the pressing issues of climate change and in an attempt to treat the Earth in a more respectful manner, people have implemented green infrastructure into the fields of design and construction. One of the most compelling ways that we have been making buildings more environmentally friendly is through green roofs. An otherwise unused part of a building can become a functional addition that can save you money in the long run. There are several cost-saving advantages to having a green roof that can increase the efficiency of your roof.

Green roof. Credit: Copijn Tuin- en Landschapsarchitecten, The Netherlands.

Green roof. Credit: Copijn Tuin- en Landschapsarchitecten, The Netherlands.

Benefits of having a Green Roof

1. Reduced Energy Use [contextly_sidebar id=”vCfk5fd7xwUzLiaLGdD05l86NSzttKzp”] Green roofs can greatly reduce your energy bills. The plants on a green roof absorb heat and act as insulators, keeping buildings cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This decreases air conditioning and heating costs, which have a tendency to become expensive fast. Cooling costs can be cut by 20 to 30 percent in the summer months because the temperature of the roof is reduced. (Environmental News Network) During the winter, a green roof can lead to a 10 percent reduction in building energy use by reducing the need for heating. (ASLA) The added benefit of reducing your energy bill can become one of the reasons you should consider a green roof. 2. Green Roofs Deteriorate Slower than Conventional Roofs A green roof should be viewed as an investment in the long-term life of a building. While the upfront costs may seem troubling, the long-term benefits outweigh any short-term discomfort. The longevity of a roof greatly increases if a green roof is used instead of conventional roofing methods. WATCH: Weighing the Benefits of Green Roofs The vegetation and soil of a green roof add a layer of protection that keeps the roofing materials from deteriorating as fast as a normal roof, which would be exposed to the elements. This layer of vegetation also protects the roof from harmful UV radiation, as well as temperature extremes, reducing stress on the roofing and using the plants as a buffer. This can extend the useful life of a roof by 20 years and avoid or delay replacement costs (NRDC). 3. Increased Stormwater Management Efficiency The way, we deal with water in the built environment, is always a concerning issue. In cities, the high amount of impermeable surface inhibits the infiltration of water into the ground. This has led to the implementation of green infrastructure that can improve the efficiency of stormwater management.

Extensive green Roof MEC's green roof. Credit: CC BY 2.0 by sookie - Flickr

MEC’s green roof. Credit: CC BY 2.0 by sookie – Flickr

Green roofs are a great alternative that mitigate the impacts of stormwater. This is accomplished by slowing the flow of the water and reducing the amount that runs off into the urban environment. A lot of money can be put into the installation of drainage systems along roofs, but the need for this is lessened with a green roof because the water is absorbed by the plants and soil. WATCH: Green Roof Grows Environmental Benefits Green roofs absorb a large amount of rainfall, ranging from 40 to 80 percent of the annual rainfall. (NRDC) This saves you money by reducing the need for drainage systems and helps the environment by dealing with water in a more natural manner. 4. Increased Property Value Green roofs are a great way to put otherwise dormant space to use and turn a roof into something that is an asset to your building. Larger buildings can accommodate green roofs with places for people to gather and experience a different perspective of the urban landscape. The need for green space in cities is an issue that can be solved with green roofs. People like to be outdoors in green space; it is beneficial for the health of the user and for the health of the environment, especially in urban areas. This can become a selling point for future buyers, along with the fact that a green roof will reduce their annual energy usage.
Extensive Green Roofs - Chicago City Hall Green Roof. Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 by TonyTheTiger

Chicago City Hall Green Roof. Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 by TonyTheTiger

5. Makes your Company Look Better When a company installs a green roof, they are making a statement. It says, “We walk the walk” and shows potential customers that its values are actually being implemented in the real world. This increases customers’ trust and gives them a better feeling as to what a company is really about. WATCH: Green Roofs for Healthy Cities One company, that is starting to use its roof to its advantage, is Whole Foods. On top of its store in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, Whole Foods has created a rooftop farm to grow produce that is directly sold to customers in the store below. This is a great way, to promote the company’s image and show customers how committed the company, is to providing them with the highest quality produce possible. Bonus Video: Best Green Roofs in NYC Green roofs are a great investment that can add value to any building. With all of their money-saving benefits, green roofs can become a great asset to a company or residence. Over a 40-year period, the cost of an extensive green roof can be 20 to 25 percent less than the cost of a conventional roof (NRDC). This does not include the energy savings a green roof will provide, which will only add to your savings. If you are trying to decide if a green roof is right for you, Portland State University has a Green Roof Energy Calculator that will estimate the amount of money you save. With all of these benefits, how can we make green roofs more prominent in our cities? Recommended Reading:

Article by Nick Shannon Return to Homepage

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