If you're a building owner and your building has a relatively flat roof, you may be wondering if you could install a green roof. These roofs, which have gardens that cover most of the roof's surface save for some pathways, are becoming more common on commercial roofs. But these garden roofs have their own issues, and while they can bring some big benefits to you, they can also take a lot out of you. Here's a look at whether a green roof could work for you.
Once you get the base layers added to the roof for waterproofing, and then you add the soil and greenery, you have one well-insulated roof. That helps keep the inside of the building cooler on hot days and warmer on cold days. With all of the materials added on top of the building, it's simply harder for the temperature inside to seep out. That can lower your utility bills by a noticeable amount, though that assumes you continue to try to keep the building at the same temperatures as you do now. If you crank up the air conditioner in summer because you think you'll be saving a lot of energy through the green roof, your bills will not see as much of a drop, of course.
Green roofs are not just lumps of leaves -- these are landscaped gardens that leave room for people to walk around. The workers in the building can go up to the roof to take a break, and if you set up productive vegetable beds or flower beds, the workers can volunteer to help care for the plants. This can relieve stress and be a good team-building activity. If you think the people in the building would like any of these options or activities, a green roof could work.
Of course, plants can attract pests, as can the mulch and the water. If you don't want added pest issues, a green roof wouldn't be a good choice for you because you will have to deal with these. You can successfully fend them off in general, but you must have a pest-control plan in place, and if you find signs that rats, roaches, mice, birds, or other pests have been attracted by the roof, you have to act fast.
The building you're in was built assuming that the roof would not have layers of waterproofing and plants and soil added to it. Thus, the building may not be able to support the added weight of the green roof. Too much weight on top can cause the roof to buckle and place undue stress on the building's frame if the building was not able to support the weight. You'd have to put the building through an inspection and then retrofitting if the inspection found that it couldn't support the weight of a green roof. If you don't think the building can support the extra weight and don't want to deal with retrofitting, a green roof wouldn't work.
If you'd like to discuss green roofs further, contact professional roof installation companies in your area. They can give you all the ins and outs of having these roofs.