Green roofs have seen a surge in popularity recently as sustainable building designs become more mainstream. Soil and plantings on a building’s rooftop can help manage water runoff, improve air quality, and reduce energy use by moderating indoor temperatures. They can also prolong the life of a building’s roof by protecting it from the wear and tear of wind, water, and UV rays. But a truly efficient green roof requires a dedicated design to ensure proper drainage and healthy vegetation without compromising the underlying roof structure, as well as a growing medium that is more stable and lightweight than normal soil.
Green roofs can be modular systems (typically arrays of trays containing all the vegetation and necessary drainage structures), or they may be permanent designs grown directly on the rooftop. Designs can be either “extensive” (thin and lightweight layers of plantings focusing on function over aesthetics) or “intensive” (more substantial landscapings or roof gardens, usually involving thicker layers of growing medium up to 12” deep).
Here is a look at some features and advantages of three popular types of systems currently on the market.
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