As responsible homeowners we are aware of the need to be environmentally conscious when it comes to repairing or constructing something around the house. Many common products found all around the home can not only be bad for the environment, but toxic to us as well. Whether you are spraying for pests, repairing a leak or replacing your roof, the product choices you make can go a long way in helping save the environment.
What Is Green Roofing?
Green roofing refers to the use of natural, vegetative resources as the main roof materials. Most often, grass and plants will be planted along the roof to grow. Once the grass or plants grow the entire roof is covered with plant life, providing a natural barrier between the home and the elements.
The trend is fairly new to North America, but the idea is far from new. Homes in small villages in Europe and other continents have been using earth-based materials for roof coverings for years. For example, earliest uses of the idea can be seen in African huts have used stick or straw to create thatched roofs for many generations. More modern green roofing can be seen in rural farming communities where grass covered roofs to top cottages.
What Are The Benefits?
In addition to being environmentally friendly, green roofs provide numerous benefits to the homeowner. Green roofs can provide better insulation against extreme temperatures than traditional roof materials. Better insulation means less reliance on electricity for temperature regulation indoors. Roofs made from vegetative resources are also more resilient to weather conditions and, generally, need very little maintenance. Unlike traditional roof materials that can break, green roofs tend to provide a more reliable barrier that rarely needs to be replaced or repaired.
A more recent advantage is what is being called the “Urban Heat Effect”, meaning the ability of the green roof to combat the effects of increased heat due to location in an urban area. Big cities are packed full of people, buildings and cars; each giving off their own gases and chemicals into the environment. When all of these things share close quarters, it creates more heat and toxicity than would be found in a less populated area. The plant life can help combat the effects of an urban environment by giving off gases and chemicals that are helpful to the environment. By soaking up carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen, a green roof can provide a much needed effect in a local ozone.
Green roofs also provide a much needed outdoor space in densely populated areas. Urban areas have tall office and apartment buildings and very little green space. Parks, trees and grass are hard to come by in big cities. More tall office and apartment buildings are beginning to use green roofs along the flat roof top of the building to provide occupants a space to get in touch with nature. People can enjoy the grass, plants and trees along the rooftop while the building and city itself benefit from the effects.
Whether you live in a big city or rural community, there are plenty of ways to upgrade your roof to a more environmentally friendly product. If vegetation is not your forte, try upgrading your roof using recycled varieties of traditional materials.
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