To go green or not to go green

by Darren
To go green

Green roofs with an inverted insulation roof system should be part of the sustainability solution.

Proposed residential or commercial developments are typically met with requirements to comply with environmental impact assessments, as well as the myriad of local and national building regulations. And so it should be!
Also, there is an ever increasing desire from end-users to help solve the problems our rapid human growth continues to create. On a macro level the issues of global warming and ozone depletion come to mind, while in our cities and suburbs we have to deal with energy wastage, poor water quality, flooding, heat islands as well as a perceived disconnect from the beauty and nurture of Mother Nature.

The clarion call is for energy efficiency, comfortable living and sustainability in all our interactions with our environment.

Surely the increasing use of green roof options is at least part of the solution?

The green roof solution
A green roof 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. These include thermal and acoustic insulation, opportunities for water management through filtration, greywater recycling and stormwater control, regeneration of local flora and fauna, additional space for recreation and relaxation, even commerce, as well as an opportunity to restore our connection with nature.

Looking down on a city, one sees harsh surfaces reflecting the materials used and shapes we have chosen to build with. Imagine rather seeing bits of the Cape floral kingdom or bushveld, respectfully restored to solve some of the problems our way of living choices create. Perhaps even some farming . . .

Green roofs are not cheap solutions, and they require a wide range of expertise to design and construct correctly. They are also not regulated, so best practice is your guide, happily based on considerable international research and experience of green roof construction.

Best practice: Inverted roof system
Green roof 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. Above this are the drainage systems, soil and plants, as well as paving for pathways.

The insulation should be as water-resistant as possible, durable and control heat flow over the expected life of the building, easily for 50 years plus. Extruded polystyrene XPS is one of the top thermal insulation choices for best practice, since it contributes to energy efficiency as one of the benefits of a green roofing system.

Isofoam SA (Pty) Ltd
Tel: 021 983 1140
Website: www.isoboard.com

Benefits of green roofs:
–    Thermal and acoustic insulation.
–    Water management through filtration.
–    Greywater recycling.
–    Stormwater control.
–    Regeneration of local flora and fauna.
–    Additional space for recreation and relaxation.
–    Restoring a connection with nature.

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