Gaines Group Architects

Why you should want a vegetated roof for your home and business.

263878_10150252705649932_76986384931_7060298_6065340_nGreen roof, vegetative roof, intensive, extensive, sedums – there are many terms and phrases you will  learn in the world of growing vegetation on your roof. This is a niche market, it is new and innovative. Or rather, this is a technology that was developed in Germany in the 1960s. It is not really new at all, just new to our area. A vegetative roof protects runoff, air quality, increases energy savings, and service life, creates habitat, and is beautiful. Used in the appropriate places, a vegetated roof is an excellent investment for your building. Here are some advantages:

Storm-water control – The vegetated roof system, including engineered soil, reduces the run-off, the peak volume-rate for drainage systems, and contaminants – all which reduce the demand on storm-water drainage and treatment systems.

Air Quality – Increasing the amount of plantings in any area allows for natural air treatment, reduces airborne contaminants.

Energy Savings – The planting system provides a buffer between ambient temperature and roof insulation, reducing the fluctuation in high and low daily temperatures, as well as the rate of temperature change. Both of these result in reduced load on the building’s mechanical heating and cooling systems. The added mass (plants and soil) provides some increased thermal value.

Service Life – Assuming a reliable installation, vegetative roof-membrane systems have increased service life over conventional membranes because they are protected from UV Rays.

Aesthetics and health – a visible and accessible vegetative roof increases productivity and general health of those with access.

Habitat – A vegetative area in a built environment provides a place for birds to build nests and insects to thrive.

Green Terms Defined – Low Impact Development

2011-10-21_08-44-09_934Low Impact Development (LID) is an approach to site planning the is holistic looking at a building context and Best Management Practices (BMP) to replicate the natural patterns of the site. LID captures rainwater, recycling it to use on-site or slowly letting it recharge the groundwater system. This process filters pollutants through the use of natural vegetation. Here are some technologies used in the LID design:

  1. DSC02342Vegetated Roof – A ‘green roof’ absorbs heat from the sun, holds rainwater, and filters it.
  2. Rain Garden – A vegetated swale, bioretention pond, or raingarden is a mechanism used to slow stormwater flor and allow it to infiltrate rather than just letting it run off.
  3. Pervious Pavement – Asphalt, concrete, or pavers that allows water to pass through instead of run off the site.
  4. Rainwater Harvesting System – captures rainwater in a tank for use in irrigation, grey water systems, or car washing.

22_logo_raintank4LID also is an approach to how a site is designed including plant selections, slopes, and soils. This approach to design of a site creates a healthy ecosystem as well as protects surrounding watersheds.