DIY green roof installation video
A living green roof can last far longer than many other roofing systems when installed properly.
Living greeen roof on the Edelwiess house © Ecohome
The most common building material used for roofing is asphalt shingles, and because of their poor durability they may spend only 15 or 20 years on your roof before heading to a landfill.
For the Edelweiss House we chose a green roof over other durable roofing materials like metal for example, mostly for curb appeal. The design and orientation of the house means that you drive up to see little more than the roof, so we liked the idea of seeing wildflowers more than a large surface of metal or other artificial material.
Having built the Edelweiss House in a wooded environment there is no shortage of natural habitat for birds and insects and our storm water runoff is absorbed on site, so the real benefits of a green roof are much more noticeable in an urban environment.
The cores of cities are chronically short of natural habitats, not just for tiny creatures but for humans as well. Green roofs can mean office workers go up an elevator instead of down to find a little natural peace at lunch time, and they will meet a host of birds and pollinators there looking for that same thing.
Storm water management:
A green roof will absorb and retain a large portion of storm water, which otherwise would end up in sewers needing to be treated. Storm water in some regions is sent directly to waterways, taking with it pesticides as well as pollutants and debris from roads.
Even in cities that treat their storm water, systems will occasionally be overloaded by heavy rains to a point where they just can't handle the volume and it ends up being dumped in rivers untreated, despite the efforts and finances invested to keep waterways clean.
Durability and cost:
A green roof will end up being more expensive to install than most other roofing products, but their durability makes them more affordable in the long run. By the time you have done a second round of asphalt shingles, the cost starts to even out. Expect at least a 50 year lifespan (and likely more) from a properly installed green roof, and if you are installing asphalt shingles, expect to replace them an easy 4 or 5 times over the lifespan of a building.