Green roofs are sprouting up more and more. Building owners and city planners are turning to sustainable construction for more than just a carbon footprint reduction. Often there is a financial benefit, too, particularly with green roof systems.
Besides available federal and local tax incentives or grants, green roofs offer substantial energy savings that can reduce costs elsewhere.
With an approximate value of $7 billion in 2018, the green roof market is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 17.1% by 2025, according to a recent report by Grand View Research, Inc.
With that in mind, here are seven reasons why building owners and developers should turn to installing green roof systems for their next construction project:
1. Improves Stormwater Management
In dense, urban environments, asphalt and concrete prevent the absorption of rainwater into the ground. The result? Sewer overflows, flooding, and even compromised water quality. Green roofs successfully address these concerns, retaining up to the first three-quarters of an inch of rainfall and preventing it from becoming runoff (or in other cases, increasing the time that it takes for the water to runoff from the roof by up to three hours). Overall green roofs reduce runoff by nearly two-thirds.
2. Reduces Energy Consumption
Because green roofs absorb sunlight, provide shading, promote evapotranspiration, and deliver insulation benefits, they help maintain indoor temperatures. This helps lower the dependence on air conditioners and heating systems. In a 2018 case study conducted by the EPA in Kansas City, Missouri, the annual energy consumption savings for total green roof systems averaged 601,502 kilowatt-hours at an electricity cost savings of approximately $41,000. That’s equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 555 acres of forests in one year.
3. Reduces the Urban Heat Island Effect
Air temperatures are often higher in urban areas than in rural locations; the result of surfaces that absorb solar radiation and lead to increased energy consumption (the effect is known as urban heat islands, or UHI). Green roofs and their plant coverings can reduce UHI and moderate those temperature spikes, cooling building interiors by as much as 40 degrees and reducing citywide ambient temperature by 5 degrees. This produces a bottom-line energy savings of roughly $0.23 per square foot.
4. Improves Air Quality
Green roofs and their thick vegetation help filter the air by removing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, thereby significant improving overall air quality. They also absorb air pollutants and particulates, serving as a purifier for both indoor and outdoor air.
5. Reduces Ambient Noise
Green roofs absorb sound, resulting in quieter spaces—both inside and outside. They are more efficient at reducing noise than traditional roofs, and even when used without ceiling insulation they can enhance noise reduction on the building’s upper levels. The effect is especially pronounced in densely populated areas where outside noise is greater.
6. Enhances Well-Being
By offering an aesthetically pleasing landscape, green roofs can reduce stress and increase worker productivity for both building residents and the occupants of nearby buildings. In some configurations green roofs offer accessibility to building tenants, which provides a deeper, more intimate environment. And by producing a healthier atmosphere, worker absenteeism declines. In fact, a recent study concluded that green buildings produce a net present value of $12 per gross square foot in terms of productivity and lower absenteeism.
7. Extends Roof’s Lifespan
As green roofs help protect roofing materials from eternal elements, they can extend the lifespan of the roof, in some cases doubling the number of years before replacement is necessary. In fact, the average lifespan of a green roof is 40 years, compared to 17 years for a black roof.
GreenScapes® Green Roof Solutions combine the proven performance of CETCO waterproofing systems with modern green roof technology and design. CETCO will work with you to develop a customized green roof solution that is specific to your project’s needs while taking into account aesthetic, functional and structural requirements. With our turnkey solutions, CETCO can provide everything from the plants and waterproofing to technical design and assistance, helping you create a unique green roof space. To start your green roof journey, contact [email protected].
Michael T. Kozak is the vice president of building materials and environmental products for minerals technologies, Inc. CETCO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Minerals Technologies Inc.