Roofing That Needn’t Cost the Earth: Green Roofing Solutions

When we buy a house, the chances are that the roof is one of the last things we consider but with a little bit of imagination, it’s possible to turn this often-neglected aspect into a real feature.

Green roofing is a solution which doesn’t need to break the bank but can deliver huge benefits on not just the aesthetics, but also practical benefits.

We take a look at the facts on green roofing and the advantages that it can deliver.

What is green roofing?

Green roofing is a general term which encompasses a wide number of designs and variations but refers to a roof which has living vegetation which has deliberately been grown and cultivated.

Both old and new buildings are suitable for green roofing, and different designs can be created to complement the natural features of the property.

Green roofing is far more than simply laying a turf; it is a roofing solution which has been used for centuries but has experienced resurgence in countries around Europe in the last few decades. Switzerland, Austria and more recently Japan, the US, Canada and Singapore all have seen a growth in the green roofing market.

In the UK, London has been one of the leading proponents of green roofing and has stipulated that all major developments should ‘incorporate living roofs and walls where feasible’. This applies to ‘smaller developments and extensions’ as well as multi-national corporations.

What are the benefits of green roofing?

The most striking benefit is one which is clear for everyone to see: the aesthetic appeal.

Green roofing has real kerb-appeal and is a simple and effective way to make your house stand out, with lush rich vegetation transforming your home or business property to the most attractive one around.

But it’s not just its physical beauty which makes green roofing a very viable solution; it also carries a myriad of practical benefits too.

Reduces energy consumption

Keeping your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer, green roofing provides the most efficient use of energy for property-owners. According to the Wildlife Trust, the UK shells out more keeping their homes cool in the summer than they do in keeping them warm in the winter. Green roofing improves on the thermal performance and thus delivers savings in both areas.

Decreased sound transfer

The gentle sound of the rain on a window can be soothing but when it’s hammering down on a roof it can be noisy and disruptive. This can be a particular problem for deck-roofed properties.

For buildings being used for commercial purposes, industrial sounds from within can be annoying for local communities.

By installing green roofing, you will enjoy not only a more peaceful internal environment but your neighbours will also benefit from the sound-proofing too!

Increasing roof life span

Although you may not get a peek at the top of your roof too often, it takes a real beating up there! Battered by the elements as well as UV rays, it’s also very vulnerable to temperature changes as well.

Green roofing has been shown to double, or in some cases triple, the life span of your roof because of the protection given to the membrane by installing vegetation and organic materials.

Reduces risk of flooding and storm damage

The UK has seen some heavy floods and storms ravage the country in recent years so anything which reduced the risk of flooding is a priority for many people.

Unfortunately existing watercourses and underwater piping systems are already stretched to breaking point so a new solution which doesn’t add more to the burden is needed.

Green roofing can absorb up to 80% of rainfall during the summer months and 35% during the winter months, depending on the exact composition. This helps to protect the property and also reduce the risk of localised flooding.


The benefits aren’t just for you; they also assist in global issues such as the environment too.

By providing a habitat for wildlife, lessening the effects of urban heat islands as well as contributing to decreasing the effects of climate change, this type of roofing is green in more ways than one.


There are a variety of types of green roofing from intensive (a full garden on your roof) to extensive (simple yet effective) and the solution can be tailored to suit your pitch and design of your property. Although there are DIY kits available, getting in the professionals will ensure that you end up with green roofing that delivers all of the above benefits to their maximum capacity.

Image credits: Arlington county

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