Green roofs, which are roofs with plants or grasses planted on them, are increasing in popularity both for commercial and residential properties. The main reason why these roofs are so popular is that they are great for the environment. But how? Here's a look at four ways green roofs benefit the earth.
They're excellent insulators.
When heat escapes from your roof, you need to use more energy to keep your home warm. The better your roof is at trapping heat in, the less energy you use – and the lower your carbon footprint becomes. Green roofs are quite thick. They consist of a roofing membrane along with several inches of soil and a dense layer of plant life. This material does a great job of trapping heat inside your home (or outside your home during the summer) reducing your energy usage and consumption of fossil fuels.
They consume carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide accounts for about 80% of all greenhouse gas emissions and is a major contributor to climate change. Plants, including those planted on green roofs, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and replace it with healthy oxygen. So, by choosing a green roof, you are doing your part to keep the atmosphere healthy and fight climate change.
Green roofs fight the urban heat island effect.
The urban heat island effect is phenomenon by which populated urban places end up being a few degrees warmer than the more rural surrounding areas. This is caused by the prevalence of dark-colored surfaces in urban areas. The dark surfaces absorb more heat, warming up the space. Green roofs are naturally lighter in color than your typical black asphalt roof, so they absorb less heat. This helps dispel the urban heat island effect. Keeping urban areas cooler is good for the environment because it reduces air conditioning usage during the summer months.
Green roofs are made from natural materials.
Asphalt roofs are made from manufactured materials, and the process of making them releases pollution. The same can be said of most other roofing materials. Green roofs, however, are made from soil and plants, so they are non-polluting. In fact, the plants tend to filter pollutants out of the air, making for better air quality in your neighborhood.
If you want to do something smart for your own home, your neighborhood, and the world in general, choose a green roof for your home. You'll be reducing your own energy use, taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, reducing pollution, and helping to dispel the urban heat island effect.