If you are looking to make your building more eco-friendly, you might be considering a green roof.

A green roof is an additional roof system on top of an existing roof, made up of a layer of planted vegetation.

There are two main forms of green roofs, intensive and extensive. Intensive roofs take more time to manage as they can hold up to 150 pounds of vegetation per square foot. Extensive roofs are easier to maintain and can usually be left to grow free as they can only hold up to 25 pounds of vegetation per square foot. Extensive roofs typically have a thin layer of soil, usually less than six inches, while intensive roofs require more soil, sometimes several feet, for more support. Intensive roofs need to be maintained and managed like a garden, while extensive roofs can take care of themselves like they would in the wild. Both types of green roofs require a layering system made up of soil, support, irrigation, drainage, root protection, and other materials needed to retain nutrients for the plants.

Now that you have a better idea of what a green roof is, it is time to consider the advantages and disadvantages of installing one on your building.


Energy Efficiency

The vegetation, soil and moisture on green roofs provide additional insulation to roofs, which help to keep buildings cool. This will ultimately lead to lower utility bills. The plants on the roof also provide a cooling effect as they absorb the energy from the sun.

Improved Air Quality 

Plants absorb CO2 and release oxygen which purifies the air around them. Cleansing the air of pollutants and dusts that might be created from the building or passing cars.

Noise Reduction

Green roofs can create a sound barrier as they absorb noise, both inside and outside. This provides a quieter area in your building as well as outside your building.

Roof Longevity

Compared to other roofs, green roofs can protect the material of the roof better than other systems from extreme weather like windstorms, hailstorms, temperature fluctuation and snow and ice. This can increase the life of your roof significantly.

Curb Appeal

Adding a green roof to your building will increase the value as well as the aesthetic. You can plant many different beautiful plants and flowers on your green roof to enhance the look of your building. The plants will also likely attract wildlife in the area such as bees, butterflies and birds. Providing a safe place for them to feed and breed.



The initial cost of green roofs is typically more expensive than traditional roof systems. This is usually due to the increased support and design required for green roofs.


Your green roofs need to be treated like a garden and therefore will require more upkeep than a traditional roof with watering and feeding. Some may even consider hiring a landscaping crew to ensure the upkeep of their green roof.


Unfortunately, green roofs just like all other roofing systems can leak. If plant roots are not properly maintained, they may penetrate the roof and cause damage and leaks. If leaks do occur, they may be difficult to find and repair as green roofs can be complex.


While green roofs do have their disadvantages, their advantages outweigh them if you can afford the money for the initial investment. If you are looking to add curb appeal as well as benefit yourself and your community, then a green roof may be right for you.