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Interest in green roofs is growing rapidly due to their energy and environmental benefits. An existing roof may be able to be converted to a green roof depending on the building structure.
A green roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and soil, or a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. It may also include additional layers such as a root barrier and drainage and irrigation systems. Green roofs are also referred to as eco-roofs, vegetated roofs, living roofs, and greenroofs.
In a recent study on the impacts of green infrastructure and in particular green roofs in the Greater Manchester area, researchers found that adding green roofs will help keep temperatures down, particularly in urban areas: “adding green roofs to all buildings can have a dramatic effect on maximum surface temperatures.
Green roofs can be categorized as intensive, “semi-intensive” or extensive, depending on the depth of planting medium and the amount of maintenance they need. Traditional roof gardens, which require a reasonable depth of soil to grow large plants or conventional lawns, are considered “intensive” because they are labor-intensive, requiring irrigation, feeding and other maintenance. Intensive roofs are more park-like with easy access and may include anything from kitchen herbs to shrubs and small trees. “Extensive” green roofs, by contrast, are designed to be virtually self-sustaining and should require only a minimum of maintenance, perhaps a once-yearly weeding or an application of slow-release fertilizer to boost growth. Extensive roofs are usually only accessed for maintenance.