5 Advantages of green roofs

When I sat down to write this blog I promised myself I’d stick to the science and only look at the tangible advantages of green roofs.  However, you can find them out from anywhere – along with the scientific data to support the claims.

For me, personally, the advantages of green roofs are a mix of the scientifically proven and my love of wildlife and nature.

So here are my five top advantages of green roofs.

1: Visual Interest

Green roof on old garden building

Aren’t ordinary shed roofs boring? They’re fantastic at keeping things dry but they’re not everso interesting to look at day in day out. Same goes for any roof you can actually see. Doesn’t matter if you’re looking down on it from a high window; or if you’re looking up from below.  A green roof on the other hand has something different about it almost every week.  Maybe a new flower, a switch in the colour of the foliage, birds, butterflies or bees visiting….lovely!

2: Improves wellbeing and productivity 

Apparently Doctors have shown that there is a connection between looking out onto greenery and quicker recovery times.  It’s also been said that we humans feel much better if we have access to greenspace; calmer apparently and more productive at work.  I don’t know about that. 

All I know is that now that I work from home and look out of my window into my garden, I suffer less depression and anxiety than when I worked in an office overlooking a car park.  I also get a lot more done in a day.  Especially on days when I take a long walk in the woods before I start work. 

Put me in an urban environment and it’s not long before I start to feel trapped, suffocated and panicky.  I NEED to see greenery every single day otherwise I crumble. If I had to be working in a city office block I’d be grateful for a green roof to look out onto.  Just saying.

3: Insulation advantages of green roofs help combat rising fuel bills

Now this IS scientifically proven.  Temperatures beneath a green roof are significantly cooler in summer (saving on air conditioning) and a bit warmer in the winter (keeps heating bills down)

4: Corridors for wildlife

small tortoiseshell butterfly on green roof plant

For me, this is where green roofs come into their own.  It’s all about genetics.  For any species to remain genetically strong, in-breeding is a big no-no.  Every critter needs to find a mate who isn’t their mother/father/brother/sister/offspring.  That means that they need to be able travel away from the family group. Small creatures like butterflies can’t travel very far without needing a pit-stop.  They need to refuel and rest.  Without gardens and green roofs to sustain them during their journey, there’s a strong possibility that they won’t get access to a fresh gene-pool.  And that doesn’t bode well for anybody.

5: Makes your waterproofing last longer

Another tried and tested money saving benefit of green roofs.  The green roof buildup actually doubles – and has been known to treble the lifespan of the waterproofing beneath it.

Not only does that reduce maintenance costs over the lifetime of a building, it also reduces the amount of roofing felt or waterproofing material that ends up in landfill.  Win-win!!

Other well documented advantages of green roofs include:

  • Insulation against noise
  • Improved performance from UV panels
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Fire retardant
  • Rainwater management
  • Possibilities for food production
  • Help meet planning conditions
  • Great PR
  • Recreation
  • Cleans air and reduces pollution
  • Helps to combat the urban heat island effect

I could go on……

More reading

Green roof growing guide

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