Green roof systems are a recent roofing technology that is picking up bit by bit. Some countries like in Europe have already embraced it by showing solid support for it.

Not only are there environmental advantages, but also social, economic and ecological gains. Following are the prevalent benefits and disadvantages of green roofs, particularly in cities.

Benefits of Green Roofs

The following benefits have been grouped into various categories for easy understanding.

Public Benefits

1. Beautification

The green appearance of roofs with pleasurable greenery, herbs, and flowers is a great boost in the appearance of the environment.

2. Water Management

Since there is a drainage layer put in place by the green roof construction layout, the water can easily be collected in gutters and tanks. Once stored it can be used for other purposes.

Also, during winter, the living roof can withhold runoffs reducing the stress on the sewer. Acting as a filter not only saves water from the rain and storm but also prevents damages caused during extreme weather conditions.

3. Control of Urban Heat Island Effects

In the month of summer, the extreme heat temperatures can be controlled through planting on vertical and horizontal spaces, hence reducing the urban heat island effect. The green roofs will control the dust blown during the day as well as cool of the rooftops of various buildings which would otherwise emit heat energy.

The green roofs can also aid in reducing greenhouse emissions affecting the climate in urban areas.

4. Improved Air Quality

The same mechanism as having greenery inside your home applies to this scenario. Having green roofs will control air pollution,  filter noxious gases, and capture atmospheric deposition – through the plants. All the carbon monoxide gases and dangerous gas emissions will be cleaned and filtered for better air.

5. Improved Space Activity

Instead of letting the roofs chow down due to rust, decomposition due to rainwater, or letting moss grow ok the walls – you can use the space to create a green roof that acts as a natural garden where people go to seek serenity and peace. It could also be an excellent playground for kids once you install a lawn or a pleasant garden for the elderly to plant.

6. Job Creation

Green roofs are a new technology that needs to be explored, experimented, and installed for people. This then means that there will be more jobs, for designers, manufacturing industries, environmentalists, and others.

Leave alone for dense urban areas, there need to be people to maintain the green roofs, nurture the plants, and much more.

Private Benefits

7. Home Insulation

Green roofs are made with six layers. Combined, they offer one of the best insulation materials available. They can regulate the interior temperatures of a building since the roof holds a critical surface for heat loss and gain through the seasons and winter and summer.

8. Protection from Radiation, Fires, and Temperature Fluctuations

The living roof protects the structure from ultraviolet and electromagnetic radiation, and large temperature fluctuations better than the conventional roof. With a lower burning heating load, it’s much easier for this roof to sustain and distinguish a fire than any other roof type.

9. Noise Reduction

Your home will not be completely soundproof but they have excellent noise attenuation for low-frequency sounds. Even with an extensive green roof, it can withhold sound for over 40 decibels with intensive stretching to over 60 decibels.

10. Marketing Strategy Advantages

Recently, there are new strategies to encourage people to buy or lease a building thanks to the green roof system. Since they are easily identified, they can be used to market an estate as well as offer other benefits.

Design Specific Benefits

11. Increased Biodiversity

Green roofs can be a habitat for wild animals, rare bird species, and a variety of plants and flowers. This then links various realms of life such as the eco-system, economic, and social. With this interlinking, there will be high productivity, a stabilized economy, positive effects on the environment and social well being of people.

12. Improved Health

Not just the improved air quality or psychological well being, but also social cohesion between people as we come together to care for the garden – taking care of the community as a whole.

13. Urban Agriculture

You don’t need a back yard or a large farm to indulge yourself in a little farming. With this living roof, you can invest in a little farming, planting local foodstuffs as well as herbs. This is a great project for embracing natural foods and self-reliance among community members.

Environmental Benefits         

There are two main environmental benefits;

  • Energy conservation
  • Waste management

14. Thermal Reduction and Energy Conservation           

Green roofs can reduce heating by adding thermal resistance to the environment through evapotranspiration. This is where the excess heat from the environment is changed into energy through transpiration and used efficiently to control the heat temperatures from the surrounding – just like the heat island effect.

They also reduce the amount of energy consumed during winter. The maintained heat from the green roof layering system will keep the heat stable and act as a terrarium for the passive heat. The idea behind this is the green roof will soak up radiation from the sun and use it re-emit heat energy to the environment.

15. Waste Management

The green roof systems are a renewable form of energy by a long shot. Here’s how it can prolong the life of a waterproofing membrane hence reducing the waste it would otherwise have. Secondly, it used recycled matter to act as a growth medium for the plants. This is rather advantageous since the plants can greatly benefit from it and grow.

Finally, the green roofs can prolong the life of any heating service you have, ventilation systems and such because it can be doing all the temperature control instead.

Ecological Benefits      

16. Appreciative Wildlife

We have already established that green roofs can attract beneficial insect species worldwide. From birds, bees, butterflies, and other animals and insects, the green roof offers a great habitat. This is not only beautiful but complementary because these migrating birds allow for widespread of animals across the globe.

There will be more intermingling between the animal species as we embrace new and rare species from all over.

17. Carbon Sequestration   

The next advantage is the ability to sequester carbon. This is the main by-product if plant matters and can be absorbed back into plant matter. It also explains the cleaning of the air. Even though different plants will have different compositions and volumes of carbon absorption and filtering,  the ability to sequester carbon dioxide is the most crucial element because it can be used for green housing as well as improve on its insulation abilities.

Costs and Financial Benefits

18. Extended Lifespan

Even though the initial costs of installing a green roof is rather hefty, it’s said that the living roof can extend the lifespan of a building to over 200% thanks to the other advantages highlighted above. Not to mention that a house with green roofing increases the real estate value of the building.


1. Initial Costs of Installation

This point can’t be emphasized enough. The cost is not cheap depending on the type, location, materials, used as well and other factors. Because of the layering demands of these green roofs, the initial costs carries the heaviest burden. What’s vital to note is that the price might actually double that of the normal roof which then begs the question if at all it is a worthy investment.

2. Pest Management

It’s exciting to have biodiversity taking over. Being able to see the various species of insects running around here and there pollinating the flowers and plants, but it’s could also cause a pest infestation.

After the pest infests your green food, they could now move to the home which is more delicate and rather unhealthy to have pests crawling around. 

3. The strain on Structural Support

It’s important to note the layering needed for this living roof could pose a large strain on the structural integrity of the building causing it to collapse. Especially for the intensive green roods the amount of support needed is much greater than the other types, hence it needs reinforced buildings able to support such heavyweights.

So if the static load capacity can’t cater to the weight load of the green roof, it’s not possible to have this kind of roofing for your home.

4. More Maintenance

It’s not likely that some of you have never seen or looked at your roofs since they were constructed. Well, for green roofs, they will need much more maintenance than the standard roof. This could include;

  • Removing debris
  • Controlling weeds
  • Trimming deadheads
  • Checking moisture levels
  • Adding fertilizer

There are many elements to look into for the living roof, which aren’t there for the standard roof.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Details here