Isoboard explains how green roofs can help cities to meet their sustainability goals and what type of insulation is needed for these roofs.


Proposed residential or commercial developments are frequently met with requirements to comply with environmental impact assessments, as well as the myriad of local and national building regulations. Green building regulations, coupled with an increasing desire from clients and building owners to live in greener buildings, can help people to achieve their sustainability goals.

In many cities and suburbs, there is still a lot of energy wastage, poor water quality, flooding and heat islands, to name a few problems. The clarion call is for energy-efficiency, comfortable living and sustainability in all our interactions with the environment.

How a green roof can help
Green roofs have the ability to be at least part of the solution. One type of green roof is known as a “living roof”, which is basically a planned garden planted atop the roof, which, if correctly designed and implemented, provides a myriad of benefits to the building, its occupants and the local environment.

Some of the advantages of installing a living roof include thermal and acoustic insulation, opportunities for water management through filtration, grey water recycling and storm water control, regeneration of local flora and fauna, additional space for recreation, relaxation, even commerce, as well as an opportunity to restore our connection with nature.

If more architects and design professionals incorporated green, living roofs into their designs, we would be able to reduce the amount of harsh, reflective materials we see when we look at the city and replace these sights with bits and pieces of the Cape floral kingdom or the bushveld, for example.

Green roofs are not cheap solutions, and they require a wide range of expertise to design and construct correctly. Currently, these types of roofs aren’t regulated, so designers need to base their installations on international research and the experience of other firms which have successfully created green roof constructions.

Best practice suggests that an inverted roof system should be considered, where appropriate thermal insulation is installed above the waterproofing membrane. The insulation protects the integrity of the waterproofing almost indefinitely against the effects of the sun, weathering and physical damage. On top of the membrane and insulation come the drainage systems, soil and plants, as well as paving for pathways.

When choosing a type of insulation, opt for a solution that is as water-resistant as possible, durable and controls heat flow over the expected life of the building, easily 50 years plus. IsoBoard XPS is the thermal insulation of best practice choice, beyond contributing to energy-efficiency, as one of the key ingredients of a successful green roofing system of a green roofing system.

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