Who says your garden needs to be in the surface? The trend to be green is growing–on rooftops.
A Living Roof
Also known as an eco-roof, living roof, garden roof or vegetated roof green roofs are roof that is lightweight and layered which allows plants with no maintenance to cover a substructure with waterproofing. If you’ve heard more about them recently this is because the technology has become more simple installing them, and making the installations, especially ones for homes, more popular.
Green roofs on this porch that is not heated located in the Chesapeake Bay area absorbs 27 percent of the rain that comes down on it, thus reducing stormwater runoff, which could affect nearby rivers and streams. Homeowner Mark Gaulin is a roofing contractor. put up “chicken ladders” to facilitate annual pruning of the roof which is mostly planted with sedums, which are a group of drought-resistant and hardy perennials.
If you’re thinking green roofs are a type of eco-friendly, tree-hugging 21st century trend, reconsider. The first settlers to the Great Plains lived in sod homes. The same was the case for the 18th century Germans and 12th century Icelanders who constructed the sod-covered houses out of hillsides. They discovered that the invasive plant life that grew naturally on their roofs was a good source of insulation.
Hitting the Slopes
For a long time green roofs were erected exclusively on surfaces that were flat like the black-tarred rooftops of cityscapes. Today, roofs with slopes that are as steep as 6 inches 12 degrees, and 26.5 degrees, can turn green due to a mesh-like screening technology which keeps the greening medium and plants on the roof, and away from the downspout.
Lower Heating Bills
Eco-roofs aid in purifying the air by absorbing harmful pollutants as well as absorbing rainwater thus reducing stormwater runoff which can pollute streams and rivers and keeping a roof between 10 and 20 deg during the summer months and warmer in winter. This means lower energy bills for heating and cooling and less fossil fuels being wasted and a cleaner living space. Green roofs can also be used to allow imaginative kinds to showcase their personality like Emilio Ancaya did with his innovative birdhouse design.
Nowadays green roofs are now a necessity for new construction in some European countries. In the latter half of the 1990s, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley began looking for ways to decrease the urban heat island effect in his city that happens when surfaces that are dark like rooftops and parking areas absorb heat and hold it which increases the temperature of the air and causing a rise in the amount of smog. In 2001, Daley added an area of 21,000 square feet of green roof on at the very top of Chicago City Hall. Mayors from Atlanta as well as Portland, Oregon, have since adopted the same policy.
The Greening of Corporate America
Corporate America has contributed to bringing an eco-friendly trend into the United States. Wal-Mart Target, The Gap as well as even the Ford Motor Company have planted green roofs on several of their properties. The 33,500 square-foot green roof was erected on top of the Kohl’s store located in Chicago, Ill., in 2005.
Although it is true that the U.S. has a long way to go before it can get to the same level as the 12percent of flat-roofed German buildings that are lined by vegetation Experts are certain that the American trend will grow in the future in the near future, especially because it could be a lucrative business for landscape architects and landscape designers as well as nurseries, architects, and landscapers. Professor. Brad Rowe, Associate Professor of Horticulture and Michigan State University’s Michigan State University Green Roof Research Program has constructed this green-roofed house for his two dogs Finn as well as Cooper.
While it’s possible to create the green roof of your dreams, it’s best to employ an architect or a landscape expert who has some experience working with green roof systems. This expert should talk to structural engineers who can guide you on what kind of system you’re installing. “Extensive” systems are the ones that are less maintenance-intensive and lighter in weight that are usually planted with sturdy drought-tolerant perennials like succulents, sedums and others. Since an extensive system needs the least amount of water or care It’s a green choice.
“Intensive” green roofs are more elaborate. They are thicker, more substantial and sprouting all kinds of grass, paths, trees and shrubs such as this beach-like oasis built within Washington State. This type of system is actually an outdoor garden that requires watering, fertilizing as well as mowing.
Let It Snow
A professional in landscaping can help you select plants that can provide attractive landscaping for your locale throughout all seasons. “Some sedums are deciduous and lose their leaves in winter, while others just turn a different shade, such as deep russet or bright red,” says Ed Snodgrass, an expert in green roof plants and the the owner of Maryland’s Emory Knoll Farms. A lot of roofs mix the two types of sedums along with other perennials to provide diversity. For snow, the majority of Sedums enjoy snuggling beneath a blanket of snow.
Recipe for a Green Roof
Green roof technology is more complicated than placing a few seeds and dirt over your rooftop. Although the systems differ, they all include the same components. Prior to planting the soil has to be covered in an elaboratecake-like construction. The base layer is typically composed of steel, plywood or concrete, and is sometimes covered with rigid foam (the layers of pink). Then, a liquid rubberized asphalt is laid on top, and then followed by a polypropylene roots barrier, drainage layeras well as finally a filter mesh that helps hold the light growing medium in the right place. The “soil” consists of compost combined with expanded shale, slate, or pieces made of volcanic rock. A wind blanket is an option to aid in keeping babies in place. Then your drought-tolerant perennials ideally between 2 and 6 inches tall are able to be planted.