Commercial Green Roofs
At present, we are seeing the state that the environment is in. Global warming, rising sea levels and a slowly diminishing ozone layer are just a few of the problems we have to think about and deal with. The degradation of nature is very easy to see today compared with just a few decades ago when nature still appeared healthy. Because of these environmental issues, there are many people who are for going back to the basics and for reclaiming the beauty of nature. As a result of this, many homeowners and commercial building owners have opted to go green.
Well, commercial roofing contractors Washington DC can help these Earth-friendly building owners. What can these contractors offer? Basically, they can help the owners of homes or commercial establishments create a green roof that fits the structure of the building. A green roof, you say. Yes, green roofs are real and they are here to stay. Amid the concrete and cement in urban communities, green roofs can provide breaths of fresh air to the residents.
In short, green roofs can do a lot of good for the earth when it comes to keeping air temperatures low and providing much-needed oxygen to the often polluted city air. The sight of green against a backdrop of gray walls and shiny glass windows is definitely welcome in busy communities. What exactly is a green roof? Simply put, a green roof is a roof that is covered with plants. The plants may cover the whole roof or just a portion of it. Either way, the roof is considered “green”. How is a green roof made? First, the roofing contractors cover the roof deck with a waterproofing membrane. This membrane is then covered with a substrate for the plants to grow in. But of course, not just any plant may be planted in a green roof. The right ones have to be carefully picked.
This means that owners of commercial buildings may opt to go green and consider having a green roof installed on top. So, what are the different types of commercial green roofs? There are two: intensive and extensive. Here are details about each type of green roof.
The intensive green roof
The intensive green roof is the one that usually sits atop a commercial building. This green roof is made specifically to hold more kinds of plants including trees, grass, and shrubs. There are even intensive green roofs that include a park where office workers can take lunch breaks and sit on benches and chairs incorporated into the whole layout of the roof. Some green roofs even include small fountains and mini pools.
But what is the real reason for the name “intensive”? The answer lies in the depth of the substrate or the soil where the plants grow. An intensive green roof has a substrate that is between eight inches up to four feet deep. This depth lets the roofing contractors put in more plant varieties. Of course, the ability to put more types of plants on this type of green roof goes with a price. The building owner has to provide more maintenance for his green roof. Furthermore, because the substrate is quite thick, the building itself has to be strong enough to hold the whole green roof, otherwise there will be leaks in the roofs or worse, the roof may collapse in the long run.
As such, the building owner has to ensure that his building has a foundation that is strong enough to sustain the weight of 150 pounds for each square foot of green roof. This won’t be a problem if the building was really designed to hold a green roof right from the start. Furthermore, the building owner also has to make sure that the proper draining and irrigation system is put in place to avoid having standing water on the roof at any given point.
The extensive green roof
Although the extensive green roof is well-suited for small apartments and homes, it does not mean that commercial buildings may not install one. It all depends on the owner, actually. What if the commercial building owner just wants to see some green on his building? Well, anyway, the extensive green roof requires lesser maintenance than an intensive green roof. Why? The substrate for this type of green roof is not as thick. It is just between one to six inches deep. This means that too much standing water on the roof won’t pose too much of a problem.
Additionally, because the substrate is quite thin, only a few varieties of plants may be used. As such, moss, grass and a few succulent plants are the only greens suitable for this type of green roof. Why are these plants the only ones suitable? It is because these plants can withstand dry conditions. For instance, grass that dries up in hot weather can turn green again when it rains once again. The implication is the extensive green roof does not require a lot of maintenance.
But then, because the substrate is not very thick, benches and chairs cannot be accommodated in this type of roof. Plus, many people walking all over this roof will ruin the greenery. As such, commercial buildings may still install an extensive green roof but the office workers won’t have the benefit of enjoying the beauty of the plants heavy foot traffic is a no-no.
Owners of homes and commercial buildings can help save the earth by putting in green roofs. These environment-friendly roofs actually provide more benefits than we can imagine. For one, green roofs can bring fresh air to an otherwise polluted environment. The green plants can do a lot to improve the quality of air in the community. Additionally, the green plants can definitely lower the temperature, most especially in cities. It is generally known that it is hotter in cities than in rural areas where concrete structures are few.
Aside from the two benefits mentioned above, green roofs add more insulation to the building itself. It is common knowledge that green roofs are great for keeping the occupants of a building warm when the temperature outside is low and cool when the heat outside is unbearable. Thus, green roofs can improve the insulation that exists in a building. Not only that, green roofs provide more insulation to keep out annoying sounds from the outdoors. It is reported that a green roof lowers the loudness of sound.
To add more to this growing list of advantages, green roofs add aesthetic appeal to any building. This is particularly useful in attracting customers. Plus, if the building owner ever has plans of selling the property, he stands more chances of getting a great price of the structure. Lastly, the plants on the roof protect the actual roof structure. This equates to fewer needs for repair and replacement of roofing materials.
Earth-loving building owners should consider calling commercial roofing contractors Washington DC to install a green roof for the many benefits it provides, both for the business and for the Earth. Now isn’t that a good thing?