Raise the roof: green roofing options offer lower energy costs and better aesthetics

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Date: July-August 2008
From: Journal of Property Management(Vol. 73, Issue 4)
Publisher: Institute of Real Estate Management
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,144 words
Lexile Measure: 1220L

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ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND DESIGNS ARE BECOMING INDUSTRY STANDARDS. AT THE SAME TIME, MANY CORPORATIONS AND MUNICIPALITIES ARE REQUIRING GREEN AND SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES THROUGHOUT THEIR BUILDINGS. In this environment, you must always seek ways to improve the performance of new been used for and existing buildings.

Green roofs have been used for decades in residential and commercial construction in Europe, but their use is a recent development in the United States. Green roofs can provide many benefits that a typical roof system cannot, such as decreased heating and cooling costs, better property aesthetics and increased roof life.

So how can you determine if greening your roof is a good option for your properties? It's important to first understand the basic idea behind green roofing systems. There are two kinds of green roofs in the United States marketplace: intensive and extensive green roofs. They represent the two ends of the spectrum of green roofing options, but any particular system may fall somewhere between the two extremes.

WHICH ROOF FOR YOU?

Intensive green roofs are typically called roof gardens. They have soil depths greater than 8 inches, contain a multitude of vegetation and can act as an outdoor space for building occupants. These roofs typically also provide aesthetic views for building occupants and abutters, as well as varied vegetation--including the potential for vegetable and flower gardens. On the flip side, they require additional cost for installation, additional landscaping maintenance and need a higher structural roof capacity for additional weight.

Extensive green roofs are more like meadows than gardens. They are typically not meant for occupant use on a regular basis. They vary in soil depth from 3 to 8 inches, and the vegetation is generally limited to...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A181860699