Green roofs reduce stormwater runoff by absorbing and retaining the water in the soil medium for plant growth, rather than piping all water directly into a storm sewer system. Results of an evaluation of green roofs in the Seattle area found that green roofs reduced rainwater runoff from 65 to 94 percent. A green roof might reduce overall development costs for large multifamily buildings; although the green roof would cost more than a conventional roof, stormwater connection fees and related infrastructure costs might be greatly reduced or eliminated. Green roofs reduce the urban heat island effect by reducing roof top temperatures. Green roofs can also reduce air and noise pollution.
Green plants like vegatation protects the roof from extreme temperatures, ultraviolet radiation, and harsh weather conditions, resulting in a longer lasting roof system, reducing daily temperature swings also decreases the amount of expansion and contraction of the roof waterproofing membrane, prolonging its life. Green roofs can lower the energy requirements of buildings by reducing the temperature of the roof’s surface and slowing the transfer of heat into the building. They also provide added insulation to the roof structure, mainly by trapping a layer of still air against the roof surface, thus provides needed habitat for local and migratory butterflies and other wildlife populations. Green roofs in California’s Bay Area have been coordinated to be part of a larger wildlife corridor stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Green roofs are also aesthetically pleasing, especially in urban environments.
While extensive green roof systems weigh no more than slate roofs, intensive systems are much heavier than traditional roofs, so structural design is an important consideration. Like standard gardens, the planting also require maintenance, the level of which depends on the species chosen and their hardness in the climate.
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