When you first hear mention of a green roof you’d be forgiven for expecting to see plants and greenery adorning the area. Whilst this may be a vision that matches the terminology the truth is somewhat different.

Stay cool

For a roof to be truly eco-friendly, a green roof if you will, it needs to be cool. Before you start making hand gestures to show that you’re down with the kids, this definition of cool is a roof with insulating properties, a green roof that doesn’t reflect light back into the atmosphere or require the inhabitants of the structure to constantly up the heating when it’s gets cold, another burgeoning environmental issue.

So, what options are there if you’re looking to live or work underneath a truly green roof?

A selection of green roof materials

  • Tile – Tiles can claim to be green as result of their ability to be recycled. They also can have a curved shape that helps with ventilation and with the range of colours available it shouldn’t be too hard to find one that reflects less heat back into the atmosphere.
  • Single ply thermoset – Due to not being constructed on site, single ply thermoset roofs have a more consistent quality and are good at withstanding the damaging effects of sunlight. A single ply thermoset roof consists of a membrane derived from cured oil and natural gas, which is then bonded to the roofing materials. Membranes are most commonly black in colour but can also be manufactured in white, making them even more green roof friendly.
  • Roof Pavers – Roof pavers have excellent insulating benefits but are extremely heavy. The cool varieties of pavers reflect a minimum of 78% of ultraviolet light and have all the great attributes of roofing tiles too. You just need to be sure that your structure can bear the weight of pavers; indeed some people will use pavers on small sections of roof, such as a balcony.
  • Metal – Unbelievably a modern coated metal roof can be very cool. The metal can be painted a light colour and even treated with a light reflecting pigment to enhance the effect. Metal is definitely durable and recyclable as well as having a pretty unique look to it.

The above list represents but a small cross section of the choices available for your green roof. If this is a serious consideration it’s worth talking to the experts to assess exactly what will suit you best. Costs will also vary according to the type of material you decide to use, but if it’s to replace an already uneconomical structure there may be savings to be made through less heating and electricity ultimately being used.