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Green Roofs: Saving the World One Utility Bill at a Time

green roofs
The wisdom of cultivating gardens atop our structures becomes apparent as more businesses and private dwellings in urban areas adopt them. In addition to their beauty, these green roofs offer a host of benefits to home or business owners and our society at large. In the article below, we will explore the science behind these innovative ecosystems, why they are a vital part of maintaining biodiversity in human habitats, and the many ways in which they can benefit you.

Green Roofs and How They Save Energy

Traditional roofing materials, such as dark tarpaper or tiles soak up heat from the sun. In modern society, we have come up with some expensive and short-lived adaptations to cope with the heat transfer this creates. In places like the Sunshine State, these stopgap measures only address part of the problem. The design of green roofs mitigates the issue and also provides benefits in return, such as improving air quality and offering a haven for essential pollinator species, birds, and other wildlife.

A green roof design incorporates an organic R-value of its own quite superior to insulation added beneath the roofing structure. The primary difference between manufactured insulation systems and these garden spaces is that they actively use the solar radiation rather than just offering resistance. This process preserves the fabric of the roofing structure by protecting it from ultraviolet radiation and routes passive solar energy through productive channels, rather than down into your home. In turn, you can put less energy into keeping your home cool when the weather is hot.

Aesthetics, Fabric Integrity, and Green Roof Design

Landscape designers with interest in custom landscaping can tell you that green roof concepts provide essential elements to an increasingly urban culture. Not only does green roof architecture preserve roofing structures directly, but it also provides mitigation of hard surfaces. The need for ample green space within our culture has been borne out by numerous studies that link mental and physical health with the presence of trees and gardens.

Green roofs also mitigate what is known as a heat island. Too many paved or hard surfaces result in thermal inversions. Sunlight is absorbed or reflected, but not usefully redistributed, creating a hotspot that traps pollution, redirects air currents, and can even impact weather patterns over the city. For buildings that place machinery on the rooftop, such as HVAC systems, the direct and local cooling effects of green roof architecture will improve the performance of those machines—lessening their energy consumption and rendering them more efficient.

Storm Water, Air Quality, and Rooftop Landscapes

In cities, there is a great deal of impermeable surface material. When rain falls, it cannot be soaked into the ground and is routed into storm drains. The resultant runoff must be treated before it is useable. However, rooftop gardens offer a beautiful solution. Studies have shown that they absorb 60 to 100 percent of what would end up in the gutters, making use of the water and releasing excess in a controlled way. They are also natural filtration systems—cleaning the water and reducing airborne pollutants in some ways via natural processes.

The Practical Pleasures of Garden Spaces

Simply being able to look at growing things has been shown to reduce dangerous stress levels in human populations. But did you know that there are beneficial bacteria in garden soil that actively improve our mood? These microbes are just one of the intricate and mutually beneficial relationships that developed over time. But rooftop garden spaces also provide additional benefits to us.

Urban landscapes offer few areas for species to find food, shelter, and mating opportunities. As a result, we see far less biodiversity in urban areas, which makes them vulnerable to invasive species. Rather than developing increasingly toxic methods for coping with this, one of the many green roof benefits is providing places for birds and beneficial insects to rest and refuel—eating those invasive pests. You can sit back and watch the beautiful birds as they alight among the flowers and grasses of your botanical aerie.

Call Executive to Design Your Eco-Friendly Roof

Whether you own a business or maintain a private residence in the Sunshine State, green roof benefits are plentiful, from direct energy savings to the broader benefits of storm water management, air quality, and surface integrity. It cleans the air, reduces heat islands, invites beneficial species to return to the city, and purges the harmful impacts of psychological stress.

Executive Landscaping has served the Pensacola community for more than two decades. Our expert teams of landscape design artists possess the skill to bring beautiful roof gardens to life, whether you are a private citizen, a property manager, business or a government agency. If you would like to explore the benefits of these beautiful and beneficial garden designs, call us today for a consultation.