Green Roof Advantages and Disadvantages
With all of the choices of roofing materials that have become available over the past 20-30 years as technology has progressed in the roofing industry, green roofs are among the most energy efficient choices. Green roofs have become more and more popular in the commercial sector because of their natural ability to save energy, but what about for homeowners? This article will go over green roof advantages and disadvantages with you, so if you’ve been thinking of investing in one, you can make an educated decision on what’s best for your project.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about green roofs and get recommendations on other energy efficient roofing materials!
Green Roof Types – Intensive vs. Extensive Green Roofs
There are two main types of green roofs that you could choose from as a homeowner. Intensive green roofs, and extensive green roof types.The main difference between intensive vs. extensive green roofs is the amount of maintenance involved, and the depth of the soil. Intensive green roofs are limited to what types of greenery you can grow in them. They generally have shallow soils and/or other growing mediums that are more suitable for growing low-growing plants and grasses.
Extensive roofs are also less costly than intensive roofs, with extensive running you about $10 per square foot, and intensive running more like $25.00. There is also one other common type of green roof called a semi-intensive green roof, which is a mix of extensive and intensive green roofs put together to accommodate a wider variety of plant species.
Green Roofs Advantages and Disadvantages
Green roofs have a ton of advantages, and a few disadvantages as well, just like anything else in life. Green roofs are made from natural eco-friendly materials such as; pebbles or a geo-composite drain material, a layer of earthy growing medium, and of course low lying plants, flowers, and/grasses. Intensive roofs are much heavier, with soil thick enough to grow trees and shrubs in.
Green roofs tend to be heavier than most roofing materials that are available, but they can outlast conventional roofs by double the normal life expectancy. Once all of the green roof advantages and disadvantages are factored in, green roofs are easily one of the best options for offering benefits to the home or business owner and the planet, but the decision you make will be based on basically whether or not you can take care of a green roof, and if it’s suitable for your building.
Green roof advantages and disadvantages:
Green Roof Advantages
- Cost-efficiency: Over 50 percent of installation costs lower maintenance and reduced energy usage over the lifetime
- Energy savings: 2-3 story building 15-25 percent savings summer compared to their energy costs without one.
- Cooler Air in the Home:
- Stormwater Retention – Green roofs cut down on stormwater management, keeping stormwater out of our drains and gutters, and improving the quality of drinking water
- Long Lifespan:
- Lower long-term maintenance:
- Reduces Heat Flux
- Provides Extra Insulation:
Green Roof Disadvantages
As you can see, green roofs offer an amazing value to the structure and the environment. Their lifespan when installing and maintained properly is, more than double the life expectancy of conventional roofs. There are a few disadvantages associated with owning a green roof that you need to be aware of before investing in one.
- Limited Choice of Plants
- Maintenance Costs – This roof type calls for constant maintenance compared to traditional roofs which require very little.
- Declining Market Value – A degraded or improperly maintained green roof could likely reduce the market value of your property to potential buyers later on down the road. This may result in buyers demanding major discounts for repairing, reconstructing, replacing the green roof.
- Possibility of Accidents – Due to the weight of a green roof, structural malfunction or even collapsing of the roof gives way for a potential to cause accidents.
- Damage from Leaks – Green roofs leak like any other roof. The membrane can get pierced or damaged,
- Structural Limitations – If you choose an intensive roof (rooftop garden is another name for them) you may need structural reinforcements.
- Limited Choice of Plants – Extensive roofs tend to offer fewer choices in plants than intensive roofs
Green Roof Advantages and Disadvantages – Final Thoughts
We hope that this short article has helped put the green roof advantages and disadvantages in perspective for you. If you still have questions, you can give us a call during normal business hours at or click any of the gree buttons on our site to have a member of our team call you back, and we would be glad to give you our expert opinion!