Sustainable housing and real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo Region


What is a green roof, and how can it enhance my property?
February 17, 2009, 11:09 pm
Filed under: Rebecca Sargent, Sustainability | Tags: , ,

While green roofs have really taken off in parts of Europe– they have yet to really impact the North American market. In our quest for sustainability and “green” products, green roofs make a lot of sense.

Green roofs are kind of just how they sound- roofs that are green spaces– spaces full of plant life. They can be places to grow fruit, vegetables, flowers or any other type of plants. They can be parks, or gardens, an oasis in the hussle and bussle of the city. They can help with heating and cooling in buildings, saving almost 25% of cooling costs in the summer months and even more in heating costs in the winter. They are great insulators, reducing sound by as much as 40 decibels.
They can increase the life span of the roof, lasting almost twice as long as conventional roofing. They reduce stormwater run-off and filter pollutants from air and water, improving air quality in the home and city. They help to increase wildlife habitat in urban spaces, increasing biodiversity. Good tree coverage can add 6-15% value to a home, and green roofs can have similar impacts on home value. It can also be a safe and protected location for gardens, not easily accessible to those living outside the building, limiting vandalism or assault.

But very few buildings take advantage. Large apartment complexes could have urban coops. Share the work amongst the entire building, and everyone reaps the benefits. Or they could sell this space off to urban farmers. We could revitalize mostly currently unused spaces and make them into urban parks or farms.

In the days of emergency prepardness– does it not make sense that those in the city should be able to help feed themselves in some ways? Green roofs can help do this. It also helps to reduce shipping costs– the amount of fuel and energy needed to get our produce and our foods to us. Our produce could be cheaper, because it comes from right beside us.

If all our city buildings had green roofs, our cities could help to feed themselves. We would have more natural spaces in the cities and we would save money and energy.

If you want more information about green roofs, check out http://www.greenroofs.org

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