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What is a Living Roof?

What is a Living Roof?

Are you looking for a way to improve your home while also making it more energy efficient?

Build a living roof!

Living roofs are gardens that sit atop your home. Not only are they beautiful, but they can also limit the transfer of heat by up to 72%. That means your home will stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, saving you money.

That’s not the only benefit to building a green roof. Keep reading to learn more!

What are Green Roofs?

There are three types of living roofs: intensive, semi-intensive, and extensive.

An intensive living roof is a rooftop garden often found on commercial and municipal buildings. It requires 7-25 inches of soil and often holds 80-150 pounds of vegetation. Because of the scale, intensive green roofs need the most upkeep.

An extensive living roof is a self-sustaining garden that is commonly found on residential buildings. It only requires 1.6-5 inches of soil and holds 10-25 pounds of vegetation. If your roof is hard to access, an extensive green roof is perfect for you.

A semi-intensive living roof falls between an intensive and extensive garden in terms of weight and required upkeep.

Popular in Denver

Denver has a green roof law, which requires 20% of all newly constructed rooftops to either be green or hold solar panels. This includes new and reconstructed roofs on structures over 25,000 square feet.

Residential buildings less than 4 stories are exempt from this law, however, there are still incentives for going green.

Energy Efficient

The soil layer acts as natural insulation for your home. It prevents UV rays from warming your house in the summer and heat from escaping in the winter.

By regulating your home temperature, you will use less energy, which in turn produces less greenhouse gas.

Improves Quality of Living

Because cities are filled with asphalt and lack greenery, they are warmer than the surrounding suburbs. Denver was rated the 3rd worst urban heat island in the United States. 

Your living roof will not only improve the air quality, but it will also reduce the urban heat island effect.

Additionally, green roofs benefit stormwater management systems, as they absorb rainwater. This prevents runoff, which erodes soil and pollutes the water.

Lasts Longer

A green roof will last 2-3 times longer than a traditional roof because it protects your home from inclement weather and UV rays.

Building a Living Roof

The first layer of a living roof should be a water- and rot-proof roofing membrane. This will protect your home from potential leaks.

Then, you will need a drainage board. This will allow the soil directly above to drain properly. Topsoil is too heavy for roofs, so you will need a mixture of peat moss, shale, and perlite.

Choose plants that don’t have aggressive root systems, as they could penetrate the protective layers and damage your roof.

The upfront cost of building a living roof ranges from $10-20 per square foot, which is pricey compared to normal shingles. However, that cost can be mitigated over time through your energy savings. 

Go Green

Are you ready to build a living roof? Contact us today to get started!


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