As cities continue to grow and expand, it’s becoming more and more important to find new ways to make buildings and infrastructure less harmful to the environment. Living roofs, which are partly or covered with plants, are one solution that has become more popular in recent years. Living roofs have a lot of benefits, such as better stormwater management, less energy use, and more plants and animals.
In this article, we’ll talk about the benefits of living roofs. Whether you are a homeowner, an architect, or a city planner, knowing the benefits of a living roof can help you design and build structures in a more environmentally friendly way.
Living roofs are becoming increasingly popular due to their numerous benefits. These roofs, also known as green roofs, have been covered with vegetation, creating a mini ecosystem.
Table of Contents
What is a Living roof?
A living roof, or a green or vegetated roof, is partially or covered with vegetation. Other names for this type of roof are “vegetated roof” and “living roof.” Many configurations can be used for living roof, ranging from straightforward sedum mats to intricate gardens with both living and hardscaping elements. A waterproof membrane, a drainage layer, a growing medium, and vegetation are the essential elements that make up the fundamental components of a living roof.
A Living roof provides a variety of benefits to the environment, as well as to the economy and society as a whole. These benefits include better management of stormwater runoff, decreased energy use, and greater biodiversity. They are a sustainable alternative for metropolitan regions with little space for green infrastructure. Additionally, they can be installed on various structures, ranging from residential to commercial.
What is the benefit of a Living roof?
Why a living roof? It offers a range of benefits, both for the building itself and the wider environment. Here are some of the key benefits of living roof:
Living roofs can absorb and filter rainwater, reducing the amount of stormwater runoff and helping to prevent flooding and erosion. One of the best things about it is that it can handle rainwater runoff. Stormwater runoff may be a big problem in cities since there are generally a lot of surfaces that don’t let water through, including
pavement and buildings. When it rains, water pours off these surfaces and carries pollutants like oil and chemicals into n
The living roof absorbs and filters rainwater, preventing flooding and erosion. It’s great for rainfall drainage. Cities have many impermeable surfaces, making stormwater runoff a major issue.
Pavement, buildings. These surfaces leak oil and chemicals into nearby waterways when it rains. This pollutes water, floods, and dries land.
The roofs filter rainfall to solve these issues. Evapotranspiration progressively releases rainwater from a living roof’s plants and media. Reduced stormwater runoff prevents flooding and erosion.
Living roofs improve rain and snow runoff quality. Plants and soil can filter out contaminants and heavy metals before water returns to the ecosystem. This cleans water and protects ecosystems.
The Living roof manages stormwater sustainably. It reduces stormwater runoff and improves runoff quality, making communities healthier and more resilient.
Reduced energy consumption
Living roofs insulate buildings and reduce energy use. Also, reduce building energy use. It can reduce artificial heating and cooling by protecting the top.
Evapotranspiration helps living roofs cool buildings in summer. This reduces air conditioning use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Living roof insulates buildings in winter. This reduces roof heat loss, saving energy and money.
Living roofs can make buildings more energy-efficient, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, fight climate change, and minimize energy use and expenditures by offering natural insulation.
Improved air quality
Living roofs clean indoor and outdoor air and improve urban air quality. Living roof filters air pollutants, making habitats healthier for humans and wildlife.
Living roof plants remove nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter through phytoremediation. Plants absorb pollutants through their leaves and roots, convert them into harmless molecules, or store them in their tissues.
The roofs reduce the urban heat island effect, which worsens air quality. A living top’s vegetation absorbs and releases heat through evapotranspiration, cooling the building’s air. This could reduce air conditioning demand, saving energy and carbon gases.
Living roofs can increase urban biodiversity by providing a habitat for plants and animals. Green roofs may also boost urban biodiversity. Roofs promote local ecosystems and biodiversity by housing plants and animals.
Living roofs provide urban ecosystems with insects and birds. And it can connect urban green places for species.
Living roofs can help endangered animals survive in cities. It can help conserve these species by creating safe and secure habitats.
Green roofs can boost urban biodiversity. It may help local ecosystems by providing habitat for plants and wildlife.
Living roofs absorb traffic and building noise and reduce urban noise. A living roof’s soil, plant, and growing media layers absorb and scatter sound waves, lowering indoor and outdoor noise.
Urban noise pollution can cause stress, insomnia, and hearing loss. They can reduce noise and calm places by functioning as natural sound barriers.
A living roof can also reduce wildlife noise pollution. Urban noise pollution alters wildlife behaviour and communication, reducing reproductive success and increasing predation risk. A living roof can reduce noise pollution and improve wildlife health.
Living roofs can drastically reduce urban noise pollution. A living roof can reduce noise and create a peaceful environment for people and wildlife.
Improved aesthetic appeal
Living roofs create beautiful outdoor places for relaxation and recreation and increase building and city aesthetics. Living roof plants and vegetation can create rich, colourful scenes.
The owner or residents can design a living roof’s size, shape, and colour. They may transform buildings and towns into unique works of art.
Living roofs provide beautiful landscapes that raise the value and attraction of buildings and cities.
Extended roof lifespan
A living roof’s flora and growing medium protect the roofing membrane from UV rays and other degradation, extending its lifespan. Living roofs improve roof lifespan and reduce costly repairs and replacements. A living roof’s plant, soil, and growing medium layers protect the roofing membrane from weathering, UV radiation, and mechanical damage.
A living roof can also regulate surface temperature, reducing thermal expansion, contraction, and degradation of roofing material. Vegetation and growing medium insulate the roof, extending its lifespan and reducing energy use.
Living roofs can extend roof lifespan and reduce costly repairs and replacements. And also protect roofing materials against weathering, mechanical damage, and temperature changes, making them more sustainable and lasting.
Types of living roofs
There are three main types of living roofs:
Each type of living roof has different characteristics, design considerations, and maintenance requirements.
Intensive Living Roofs
Intensive living roofs are the most elaborate type of roof. They are also known as rooftop gardens, designed to mimic the characteristics of traditional gardens on the ground. Intensive roofs can support various plants, including trees, shrubs, and perennials. They are typically deeper and heavier than other roofs, requiring a more substantial support structure. Intensive green roofs require regular maintenance, including watering, fertilizing, and pruning.
Extensive Living Roofs
Extensive living roofs are the most common type of living roof. They are designed to be lightweight and low-maintenance, requiring minimal irrigation and fertilization. Extensive roofs typically support a limited variety of hardy plants, such as sedums, grasses, and mosses. They are typically shallower than intensive living roofs, requiring less structural support.
Semi-Intensive Living Roofs
Semi-intensive living roofs are a hybrid of intensive and extensive roofs. They are designed to support a wider variety of plants than extensive green roofs but with lower maintenance requirements than intensive living roofs. Semi-intensive typically require moderate irrigation and fertilization, and they can support a variety of plants, including perennials, herbs, and grasses.
Overall, the type of living roof best suited for a particular building or location will depend on various factors, including the building’s structural capacity, climate, and maintenance requirements. By choosing the right type of living roof, building owners can create sustainable and resilient building systems that benefit people and the environment.
Comparison of living roof types
|Living roof types
|Intensive Living Roofs
|Extensive Living Roofs
|Semi-Intensive Living Roofs
8 to 30 inches +
4 to 7 inches
6 to 10 inches
|220-800 kg/m² +
45-160 Lb/sf +
|Max. Rain Event
|Solar Garden Roof
|only as pergola
in amenity space
|yes, optional with high ROI
|requires custom tailoring
|Blue Green Roof
Green Roof Technology
Living roofs offer numerous benefits, including stormwater management, reduced energy consumption, improved air quality, biodiversity, noise reduction, and extended roof lifespan. Living roofs also provide economic benefits by reducing energy costs and increasing property value.
Let’s work together to create a more sustainable future with the help of a living roof.