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Living Roofs: 5 Interesting and Insightful Facts

A living roof, also known as a green roof, is a type of roof that is partially or fully covered with vegetation. It is planted over a waterproofing membrane that also includes drainage and irrigation. Depending on its design, the living roof can provide a number of advantages. Its benefits include reducing energy costs and increasing biodiversity. It can also reduce the risk of water damage by preventing erosion. In addition, living roofs can add significant value to a property. Living roofs are somewhat different from the traditional roofs we install for homes, but they are worth learning about because they are so interesting!

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Micro-life on a green roof

Plant Communities Established

Plant communities on living roofs vary considerably from area to area, and some may have more diverse species than others. Some species are native and are able to maintain populations on living roofs for years. These plants also provide a valuable food source for birds, insects, and spiders. Some living roofs contain diverse species of edible plants.

Plant communities on living roofs can include species that are resistant to frequent droughts. Species that can tolerate frequent drought will often have adaptations that increase their water-stress tolerance. Likewise, species with traits that allow them to tolerate frequent drought will thrive.


Biodiverse roofs have a range of benefits for urban biodiversity. These roofs provide food and habitat for birds, bats and other invertebrates. However, biodiversity on green roofs is often lower than on other green spaces in cities. Despite this, many municipalities explicitly list biodiversity benefits when building green roofs.

The types of plants that can grow on a green roof vary, depending on the type of environment and climate. In Switzerland, for example, lichens and rare plants typically develop spontaneously on old roofs. In other countries, such as the United Kingdom, conservation organizations have mobilized to promote green roof habitat.

However, the role of biodiversity in living roof ecosystems is understudied. This ecosystem can answer fundamental questions about biodiversity, such as native versus exotic species, taxonomic and functional diversity. Although green roofs are artificial systems, experiments can be performed on the actual system. By varying covariables, researchers can learn more about how the vegetation changes and how these changes impact the overall performance of the green roof.

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Faroe Islands, Denmark

Costs of a Living Roof

While green roofs are relatively inexpensive when compared to the cost of traditional roofing, they are not cheap either. Depending on the size and type of plant life used, the cost of a living roof can range from $10 to $30 per square foot. Maintenance costs for a living roof can range from $0.75 to $1.50 per square foot, depending on the amount of upkeep required. In some areas, permits or licenses may be needed for the project.

Living roofs have several advantages, including their ability to reduce energy consumption. The shade and soil retention created by these plants helps reduce heat loss and absorption.


If you have installed a living roof, it is important to maintain it regularly. This will ensure that the plants stay healthy and the roof will look great. Ideally, green roof maintenance will be carried out at least biannually.

The industry is rapidly expanding due to population growth and rapid industrialization. As residential construction becomes a popular alternative, this product will be adopted by more households and increase the demand. Many manufacturers offer maintenance training sessions to educate consumers on the proper use and maintenance of the living roof.

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Innerdalen, Norway

Living Roof Sound-Proofing

The benefits of using green roofs for sound-proofing buildings are considerable. They can reduce the noise levels in a building by more than ten decibels (dB). In addition, vegetation acts as a natural filtration system, reducing air pollution by up to six percent. In addition, green roofs can increase the life span of a building by up to two or three times.

The volumetric water content of the green roof material reduced sound pressure levels by up to 10 dBA in some experiments. The reduction of sound pressure levels was most pronounced in frequencies between 250 and 1250 Hz. Preliminary measurements near green-roofed buildings confirm these results.