Imagine a roof covered in planted grasses, moss and even small shrubs. That is a green roof. While it might sound a bit wild, this type of roof is growing in popularity across the country, especially in cities like Chicago and Portland.

Green roofs actually offer many advantages and could offer many environmental benefits. But, as you can imagine, having a garden on your roof also brings its downsides. Learn more by reading through the advantages and disadvantages of green roofs:

Advantages

 

  • Beauty Green roofs can make your property more attractive. For large buildings with flat roofs, a roof garden can also increase the usable space a building offers. This can be a plus, especially if there’s little outdoor or green space available on the property. Roof space is often viewed as wasted space. However, with a garden on top, it becomes a beautiful, useful space.
  • Storm Water Storm water can be filtered by green roofs, especially those with thicker soil, known as intensive systems. This can help reduce overload to city sewage treatment systems. In addition, plants help take steps to purify the rainwater.
  • Lower Temperatures Everyone knows a patch of grass is cooler than asphalt. This is called the heat island effect. A city itself could potentially reduce some of the heat associated with such a concentration of concrete through the use of green roofs.
  • Reduce Energy Costs Energy costs can be reduced through the use of green roofs. Both heating and cooling where a green roof is present becomes less expensive because the roof helps with insulation.
  • Ecological Benefits Birds, bees, butterflies and other animals can benefit from green roofs. In fact, owners may even consider hosting a bee colony on their roof, creating another form of income.

 

Disadvantages

 

  • Structural Limitations Green roofs can be heavy, really heavy if you want one extensive enough to plant trees and shrubs. This means that your dream of a green roof can be too heavy for your current structure to withstand. Less extensive green roof options use smaller layers of soil, but also support less plant life.
  • Upkeep As you can imagine, keeping plants on your roof requires some work and attention on your part to make sure the plants are doing well. For some, this could be an advantage, but for many people, this would be a disadvantage.
  • Expensive Although there are energy savings to be had, it might take a while for things to even out. Green roofs require waterproofing and involve a complex installation process, making them quite costly.
  • Complex Repairs If your roof springs a leak, it could be difficult to locate it, fix it and get all of your roof’s garden greenery back in place.

 

As you can see, there are many pros and cons to getting a green roof. Ultimately it comes down to your own personal tastes, needs and how you choose to weigh the value of the advantages and disadvantages.