Green Roofs Pros & Cons, An Unbias Look Nashville Value Roofing Blog

Green Roofs Pros & Cons, An Unbias Look Nashville Value Roofing Blog

In todays eco-conscious movement, Value Roofing is seeing more and more people are becoming knowledgeable about the benefits of adopting a sustainable lifestyle. But there are degrees of commitment, and the environmental impact of a canvas grocery shopping bag, while important, cannot be compared with, lets say, an over-arching project such as an architectural installation.

The trend that is beginning to change buildings and the environmental quality in cities across the U.S. is the green roof, a plant-lined covering that works by not only markedly reducing energy costs by protecting a house from extreme hot and cold weather, but also offsets the carbon that SUVs and industry emit. On a community scale, green roofs help reduce flooding and combined sewer overflow events by retaining storm water runoff. Researchers have published the numbers, and people are responding.

The popularity of the green roof in the U.S. has grown in recent years. In fact, a green roof has placed Nashville and the downtown Music City Center building on the environmental map as the largest green roof in the Southeast. The four acres of undulating grass waves that cover the rooftop were designed to emulate Tennessee’s rolling hills, however, the aesthetic value, while appealing, is the least of its assets. It provides a huge boost to reduced energy use and longevity of your roof (money savings), while also reducing carbon emissions and even creating an urban, holistic eco-system for birds and insects.

Pretty impressive, right?

While you may think green roofs are for big commercial buildings or fancy architecture, the movement is actually mostly residential. For homeowners, the financial advantages of a green roof are just simply hard to ignore. While these advantages do follow an initial investment period, they are huge and are primarily composed of reduced air conditioning and heating costs, as well as a longer roof life as the cooler you can keep your roof, the less repair it needs.

People are even using it as an effective and novel rooftop garden space if the design allows access.

Nashville Tax Incentives

In Europe where the close living quarters and limited natural resources often mean that the government promotes environmental quality incentives, green roofs are relatively common. In Germany, 30 percent of households have a green roof, while in the U.S. where less than 1 percent of homeowners have employed a green roof, the trend is still gaining ground. It is particularly prevalent in Michigan where Michigan State University specializes in green roof research and New York City, where city dwellers enjoy rooftop gardens on skyscrapers and apartment buildings.

In Nashville, residents now have good reason to join their northern urban neighbors in covering their homes with green. The city government is giving each household a Green Roof Rebate in the form of a $10 sewer fee decrease for every square foot of green roof on the property.

Energy Savings

Installing a green roof is a cost effective way to reduce heating and cooling costs. In a standard roof, the sturdy materials in its composition allow it to protect against environment stress, but they do not deflect extreme temperatures, and the resulting heat and cold radiation into the home can markedly increase the energy bill. The plant covering protects the roof from UV light and other environmental factors that cause deterioration that could lead to premature roof replacement. A green roof lasts two to three times as long as a standard roof, which means most households could wait 30 to 50 years to replace it in theory.

The temperature regulating effect was actually recorded by a Michigan State University study in 2009. The temperature level of a green roof would remain steady at about 85 F on an 80-degree-F day, while a standard black roof temperature would increase to about 180 F and a lighter-colored roof would reach 120 degrees. With that intense increase in temperature, what do you think that meant for your roof maintenance and energy bill?

Now you are probably wondering exactly how much money the green roof would save? Figures are sketchy but it seems that the generally accepted principle is that a green roof lowers a natural gas bill by about 10 percent and reduces electricity by nearly 2 percent. Combine that with the cost savings of roof repair and management, youre probably starting to see the real value here.

While the initial investment cost for a green roof is more expensive   normally $10 per square foot compared with $5 to $7 for a standard roof and the maintenance cost is approximately $0.75–$1.50 per square foot (annually), the long-term cost is lower due to the energy savings.

You can calculate the approximate cost for a green roof for your home with the online Get More Green tool.

Watering and Cleaning

Since the above benefits gained from installing a green roof are so compelling immense potential cost savings and also natural resources conservation you may be wondering how you could go wrong, but some people, particularly those with a turnkey lifestyle, are dissuaded by the additional maintenance, which consists of watering the plants during low precipitation months and keeping an eye on rain gutters that can occasionally accumulate displaced plants.

While these are a concern, a landscape design that mainly includes hardy and thinly layered plants can reduce the amount of time you would spend caring for a green roof. The designer could also help by ensuring the roof access is user-friendly, allowing you to reach it without very much difficulty.

Green Roofs Pros & Cons, An Unbias Look Nashville Value Roofing Blog

Would the Green Roof Collect Water and Leak?

Most roof-related efforts, such as gutters and the shingles and tilt angle, are directed toward diverting water away from its surface, so you may be wondering how the watering maintenance could affect your homes structural integrity. Would it strain under the additional water weight, and could a leak develop? An experienced green roof installer would use leak-detection technology, such as Electro Field Vector Mapping (EFVM), that uses an electric signal to verify that no potential leak areas exist that a standard detector would be less equipped at finding prior to installation. The green roof also comes with a drainage system specifically designed to remove excess water.

The Weight of Green Roof Materials

While most houses could easily support the heavier weight of a green roof 15 to 25 lbs per square foot compared with 10 lbs per square foot for a standard roof a structural engineer would need to assess the integrity of an older house to ensure its compatibility. Additionally, any reliable roofing company  should remain in contact with clients following a roof installation, particularly with a green roof that requires a little extra maintenance, for the first couple of years to guarantee the results are meeting your expectations.

Eco-Friendly Nashville

The green roof that covers the Music City Center that was unveiled earlier this year may inspire Nashville-area residents to throw their proverbial hat in the eco-conscious ring and install a green roof. After all, more eco-friendly businesses, services and trends are expanding in the area according to a recent article in the Nashville Ledger, and while the city has not yet arrived on the top environmental cities list, it is amazing to see the progress as these efforts gain momentum.

While green roofs make a lot of sense and are starting to catch steam in the states, homeowners still may shy away from them, especially as they are in their infancy stage of product adoption.

What do you guys think? Are there any green roofs in your area? Have you heard of any problems with them, maintenance or otherwise? Would you consider putting a green roof on your house? Why or why not?

Please comment below! We love to interact with you guys whenever possible and we reply to every, single, comment. Leave us something to start the conversation and lets promote Nashvilles reputation as the Southeasts green roof leader!

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