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Green roofs are a trend that is becoming more popular in our country, with Durban leading the way. Germany is listed as having the most green roofs in the world.

 

For a quick overview of this article, click the video.

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The question may arise why you should choose a green roof for your home. So, let’s delve a bit deeper into this rising trend, what a green roof is, its benefits and why it is gaining popularity.

Green roof systems are also known as living, vegetated or eco-roofs.

What is a green roof?

A green roof is a specially engineered rooftop supporting vegetation and plant life beneficial to the environment and offering several other benefits.

There are three categories of green roofs, depending on how deep the planting medium is and the required maintenance:

    1. Intensive: They recreate conditions of a traditional garden that is above ground and requires intensive effort to maintain.
    2. Semi-intensive. Evolving, self-sustaining and a cross over between extensive and intensive green roofs.
    3. Extensive: They are self-sustaining, with tough and drought-resistant plants, and have minimal maintenance.

Benefits of green roof systems

    • It is an innovative way to increase energy efficiency and decrease cost.
    • You have the option to cover a rooftop completely or partially with vegetation.
    • More appealing look and ambiance.
    • Contribute to sustainable building.
    • Foliage reduces noise pollution.
    • Green roofs have long-term economic benefits, as it protects your rooftop and can even triple the longevity of your roof.
    • Protection against harsh weather conditions in our country and the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
    • Green roofs contribute to reduced water run-off.
    • It increases thermal performance and reduces indoor heating and cooling requirements.
    • Aesthetically pleasing in cities, as a garden rooftop creates a retreat, provides a retreat, provide an ecosystem for wildlife whilst promoting biodiversity.

Benefits to the environment

    • Green roofs reduce air pollution through plant respiration while mitigating heat gain, as plants absorb and retain the sun’s heat.
    • They absorb rainwater and act as a filter.
    • They reduce the possibility of flooding.
    • They provide a habitat for wildlife.

Issue: High energy costs and urban heat islands.

Solution: Green roofs increase thermal performance and reduce indoor heating and cooling requirements.

Wind can be a challenge, especially in windy cities such as Cape Town, so proper planning to select the ideal plant material is essential for plants to not be uprooted and instead flourish.

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to www.greenroofs.co.za for the information in this editorial.

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