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Green Roofs Made Easy: Eco-Friendly Roofing Solution

18 Jul 2023

This comprehensive guide will explore the ins and outs of green roofs, their advantages, and the different types available. Whether you're a homeowner, architect, or environmental enthusiast, this article will provide all the information you need about green roofs.

The beautiful appearance of a green roof, with beautiful greenery and flowers, must no longer remain just a dream. Green roofs offer you a multitude of benefits and, by doing so, provide your building with a beautiful appearance.

This comprehensive guide will explore the ins and outs of green roofs, their advantages, and the different types available. Whether you're a homeowner, architect, or environmental enthusiast, this article will provide all the information you need about green roofs.

Green roofs: Numerous advantages for you and your environment

Green roofs store rainwater.

Green roofs store rainwater.
Green roofs store rainwater.


Green roofs store most of the annual precipitation and gradually release it into the environment through evaporation.

This time-delayed release of rainwater relieves the pressure on the sewage system, maximum discharge peaks during heavy rain events are reduced, and the risk of flooding during heavy rain is generally reduced.

The evaporation of rainwater also has a cooling effect on the ambient air.

Energy saving through thermal insulation and heat protection

A natural and near-natural air conditioning system on your roof? Sounds inconceivable at first, but a green roof's cooling and thermal insulation properties are similar to those of a classic air conditioning system.

A green roof acts as a natural heat shield in the hot season. The evaporative capacity of the plant layer keeps the heat out in the hot season. This keeps the living areas inside the house pleasantly cool. 

In the cold season, on the other hand, the green area acts as an additional layer of insulation. 

These properties increase the well-being of residents, reduce energy costs for heating, and protect the environment.

Improvement of the microclimate

The microclimate, also known as small climate, describes, among other things, a small, clearly defined area of ​​a few meters to a few kilometers. The prevailing microclimate is significant for the quality of life of the people and animals within this area.

The ambient air is cooled and humidified by the evaporation process of the rainwater stored on green roofs. This effect has a positive effect on the microclimate in the area. In particularly densely populated areas, this effect can provide a pleasant refreshment.

Green roofs: A real eye-catcher

Just imagine: you are looking out of your window at a roof area full of vibrant and colorful shades of green. Wouldn't that be nice? The sight of a green roof not only pleases nature lovers but what….. Compared to common roof surfaces made of gravel or conventional roof tiles, a green roof positively affects the overall impression of the immediate environment.

If a green roof has already been considered in the planning, an incredible landscape is created that fits seamlessly into the overall picture. A green roof can positively affect the mood of employees and colleagues in the work environment, especially in the direct field of view.

In combination with areas that can be walked on, green roofs are also suitable as a place of retreat and relaxation for people. Should you ever run out of strength and have had enough of the dreary, grey everyday life, retreat to your green roof and enjoy your green oasis.

Disadvantages of green roofs

Disadvantages of green roofs
Disadvantages of green roofs


Despite the fact that the benefits speak for themselves, there are a few disadvantages that you should take into consideration before making an investment.

A higher cost than traditional roofs

Unfortunately, green roofs typically cost a little bit more than traditional roofs. This is due in large part to the additional support required to support the increased load.

These green roofs, on the other hand, more than make up for the expense over time, despite the greater initial setback. There should be no reason to let cost influence your decision when you consider the numerous incredible benefits that were discussed earlier.

Require additional maintenance

There seems to be a lot of debate about how much upkeep is necessary for a green roof, but one thing is for sure: you will need to work at it to keep it a happy place. Your green roof should be treated like a garden; as such, it will need to be watered and weeded.

You can do this on your own or hire someone to look after the space. In any case, it's great to keep an eye on this beautiful green space.

Intensive or extensive green roofs


Intensive or extensive green roofs
Intensive or extensive green roofs


When it comes to green roofs, a primary distinction is made between intensive and extensive green roofs. The intensive green roof is the much more complex variant. Intensive green roofs are also aptly described as "roof gardens."

This type is usually only implemented on flat or slightly pitched roofs (up to 5° roof pitch). The costs for an intensive green roof depend on the project's scope and can vary greatly depending on the project. 

The costs are significantly higher than those of extensive green roofs. Likewise, the maintenance effort of the intensive green roof is comparable to that of a typical garden and is, therefore, significantly higher than that of the extensive green roof.

On the other hand, extensive roof greening is a type of greening that can be implemented with a simple structure and little maintenance. Extensive greening is particularly suitable for vast areas, especially in metropolitan areas.

When choosing the planting, it is considered that the plants (grasses, wild herbs, and succulents) can survive and develop independently with little or no maintenance. This type of roof greening corresponds to natural vegetation and has numerous visual and ecological advantages.

Extensive green roofs offer the viewer a beautiful sight significantly shaped by nature throughout the year. Clever planning can further minimize the maintenance effort.


Green roof layer structure

Green roof layer structure
Green roof layer structure


The green rooftop layer structure forms the foundation for creating sustainable and efficient roofing systems. This structure consists of multiple layers, each serving a specific purpose to support the growth and maintenance of vegetation on the roof. 

Here are the different components of the green roof layer structure and their functions.

Waterproof membrane: Positioned above the supportive structure, the first layer of the green rooftop structure is the waterproof membrane. This impenetrable barrier keeps water from infiltrating the underlying rooftop structure, shielding the structure from potential leaks and water damage.

Insulation layer: Situated over the waterproof membrane, the insulation layer acts as a protective shield. It prevents plant roots from penetrating the waterproofing layer and possibly causing damage to the rooftop. This barrier guarantees the longevity of the roofing system.

Drainage layer: Directly above the insulation layer, the drainage layer facilitates the efficient removal of excess water from the green roof. It prevents water accumulation, prompting waterlogged soil and potential structural issues. The drainage layer allows for proper drainage and guarantees the health of the vegetation.

Filter fleece: The filter fleece is placed on the drainage layer. It serves as a filter, preventing fine particles from clogging the drainage system and allowing water to flow freely. This layer guarantees that the water coursing through the green roof is clean.

Growing medium: The growing medium is where the vegetation on the green roof grows. It is a specially designed combination of lightweight soil, organic matter, and other components that provide nutrients, water retention, and a supportive environment for plant growth. The composition of the growing medium is carefully selected to meet the specific needs of the plant species chosen for the green roof.

Vegetation: The top layer of the green roof layer structure is the actual vegetation. It incorporates a different choice of plant species, like grasses, herbs, flowering plants, and herbaceous plants, depending on the type of green roof.

These plants are chosen for their ability to endure the environmental conditions of the rooftop, including exposure to sunlight, wind, and limited soil depth.

Green roofs provide an innovative and sustainable roofing solution for modern buildings, offering a myriad of environmental, energy, and aesthetic benefits. We can create healthier and more resilient living areas while reducing our carbon footprint.

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