Innovations in Green Roofing technology
Green roofing has experienced significant technological innovations over the years, from the development of older forms of sod roofs in the 1970s, through to better granular systems, and extensive and intensive green roofs. Moreover, it’s worth considering how combinations of green roof technology and solar panels have enabled the development of comprehensive, eco friendly systems for properties. Reviewing these areas, and the benefits of a green roof, it is possible to appreciate how far the technology has provided an excellent alternative to standard roofing solutions.
cc licenced flickr photo by pnwra
What is a Green Roof?
A green roof effectively means a roof that is covered, or partially covered, by vegetation. The roof is protected by a waterproof membrane, as well as optional irrigation systems. As a roofing solution, green roofs provide excellent insulation, as well as an eco system and habitat for plants and small insects and animals in built up urban environments. A green roof can filter carbon dioxide, and releases more oxygen into the atmosphere in polluted areas. For buyers, a green roof can result in tax incentives in some countries, and can also be used to grow produce.
How Green Roof Technology Has Developed
Early forms of green roof technology represented simple sod roofs on early dwellings, which provided a basic form of insulation. The modern green roof developed in the 1970s in Germany as a way of building sustainable rooftop gardens that could be irrigated and provide mini eco systems. Lighter, flatter roofs and natural covering membranes were introduced in the 1980s, and offered better retention and drainage. Modern granular systems are also used through different layers of vegetation and boards that provide light weight drainage and pore trapping, while making use of biodegradable materials for layering roofs.
Extensive Green Roofs
The most common form of green roof technology is an extensive green roof. This type doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, and is often fitted without a complex irrigation systems. These green roofs provide thin layers, and use materials that help to protect roofs from weather damage. Less costly than intensive green roofs, extensive roofs are also more likely to make use of brown biodiverse and recycled materials to make up thin, low maintenance roof layers.
Intensive Green Roofs
An intensive green roof is more expensive, but more comprehensive as an environmental solution than an extensive roof. This kind of green roof tends to have a wider variety of vegetation, and is deeper and more irrigated than other roof systems. As a result, intensive green roofs are often integrated into new building projects like the Canary Wharf Estate in London, rather than being added to existing structures.
Another example of innovations in green roofing technology is the combination of green roofs with solar panels. The solar panels provide alternative energy for a property, and benefit from the cooling temperatures of the vegetation on a roof. Water is also collected beneath slanted panels to increase moisture retention. Roof landscapes can therefore be used to collect excess rainwater, while providing sustainable energy.
Currently writing for roofing solutions company Bauder, Matt Mynors is a freelance copywriter writing on environmental issues and topics such as green roofing and product recycling.