Education

Ask an Expert

What is a greenroof?

How will a greenroof benefit me?

Are greenroofs backed by scientific standards or industry guidelines?

What is my greenroof going to cost?

How do greenroofs aid in stormwater management? Are there other options?

Will my greenroof require maintenance?

Can recycled products be used to build my greenroof?

Can I incorporate other green technologies into the construction or design of my greenroof?

What is the difference between greenroof landscape media and traditional soil?

What plants are best for my greenroof?

How long will it take for my roof to fully develop?

How is my greenroof saving energy?

What effect do weather conditions have on my greenroof?

Is my greenroof susceptible to leakage, fire, or other structural damage?

Can my greenroof be used for recreational purposes?

 

What is a greenroof?

A greenroof is a living, environmentally sustainable roof infrastructure system designed to solve common environmental and stormwater runoff problems by preserving water and energy, sustaining microhabitats, reducing pollutants, and improving health. Through high-level engineering combined with expertise, precision and technical application, conventional rooftops are transformed into true living architecture.

 

How will a greenroof benefit me?

  • Increased Revenue and Cost Savings
    Greenrise Technologies bolsters each local economy by transforming the unremarkable into sightworthy, iconic destinations that draw people to an area. People will pay more to live in, or stay at, a building with a greenroof or other living architecture solution—they’ll even pay more for a view of a greenroof on a nearby building. Attraction is great, but the other consideration is that greenroofs will exponentially extend the life of a roof—and because a greenroof reduces a building’s temperature fluctuations, it requires less energy to heat or cool the building, resulting in substantial energy savings for the owner.
     
  • Energy and Sustainability 
    EPA compliance is the unseen yet ultimate driver behind every greenroof or stormwater management solution. In fact, a greenroof is the largest point contributor to achieving LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification. In addition to water-conservation goals such as reducing drainage flow rates, a Greenrise greenroof system—whether intensive, extensive, sloped, or a small-scale garden—helps mitigate the urban “heat island” effect by cooling and humidifying the air around it, creating a favorable microclimate. The vegetation also absorbs noise and pollutants while allowing for tiny biodiverse habitats that otherwise wouldn’t be viable in an urban setting.
     
  • Financial Incentives
    The EPA of 2005 Federal tax credits of up to $1.80 per sq./ft. are available for green building projects that meet ASHRAE standards. Aside from Maryland and Pennsylvania, financial incentives are somewhat limited in the U.S.; however, major cities including Austin, TX; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis, MN; Nashville, TN; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; Syracuse, NY; and Washington, D.C. provide varied benefits that may contain tax credits, density bonuses, financial assistance per sq./ft., expedited permits, and stormwater or sewage fee reductions.
     
  • Aesthetics 
    Given that no space is alike, the aesthetics of every greenroof are completely tailored. Constructing a greenroof is one of the easiest ways to beautify both personal and public property, by creating a harmony between performance requirements and visual elements into beautiful, reliable, environmentally sustainable solutions. On a greenroof, the air is a little cooler, the traffic a little quieter. And the vibrant colors provide a much-needed visual contrast to the blanket grays of the typical cityscape. The result of a greenroof is happier, healthier people who are able to enjoy a more beautiful world.

 

Are greenroofs backed by scientific standards or industry guidlines?

Greenrise Technologies pioneered performance-based solutions for greenroofs and stormwater management systems. Now, we’re happy to report that the Green Roof Task Force subcommittee is a growing group, recently formed by the American Standard Testing Methods (ASTM) to develop and approve specific standards that address greenroof considerations. 

 

What is my greenroof going to cost?

Costs vary due to a variety of factors and will depend on the size, scope, and design of the project—but each greenroof is constructed at maximum cost efficiency. We have the knowledge to provide turnkey solutions that can be modified to fit a wide range of budgets. Contact us for an estimate request or more information on how we can find an appropriate solution within your budget. 

 

Useful Tips How do greenroofs aid in stormwater management? Are there other options?

From the most basic stormwater retention pond to critical watershed protection, sustainable stormwater management solutions are increasingly sought after by everyone from individual property owners to city planners. Greenrise Technologies provides expertise in stormwater management as well as components—from engineered bioretention soils to cisterns—in addition to the technical application capabilities required for complete stormwater management solutions. We seek elaborate knowledge of rainfall records over an extended time period combined with a water retention estimate, weather and climate patterns, and additional stormwater analyses to determine how a greenroof can replace what is typically a runoff problem area into living architecture. This controlled, systematized approach is unique to Greenrise—resulting in a proven process that’s precisely designed for the best possible effect.  

 

Will my greenroof require maintenance?

Yes. Varying levels of maintenance are required to keep greenroofs sustainbale over the long term. In fact, maintenance is just as important as the installation, if not more so. “Green to brown” is a real problem with greenroofs, which causes understandable concern for potential customers about return on investment. That’s why we offer a proven, science-based approach to our sophisticated maintenance program. 

 

Can recycled products be used to build my greenroof?

Yes. In fact, most materials used for green roof construction are manufactured from recycled building materials from the start. Materials like plastics and rubber used to provide roofing membrane protection, root barriers and insulation can be used from recycled or reclaimed products, and as a result, reduce landfill disposal. 

 

Can I incorporate other green technologies into the construction or design of my greenroof?

Green technology is easily integrated into greenroof design and landscaping. Solar panels, especially, are a common feature and are added without invading the greenroof’s componentry—moisture seals, stormwater management systems, and growing media are unaffected. Some greenroof designs, depending on the capacity of the roof’s structure, can incorporate green houses that are utilized for flowers and vegetables. 

 

What is the difference between greenroof landscape media and traditional soil?

Landscape media used for greenroofs consist of lightweight, specially mixed materials, composed mainly of various mineral components and sterilized organic matter. This special mix is used to properly retain and drain water through complex greenroof systems that traditional soil will clog. The organic matter used is easily broken down to contain fewer nutrients, which is good for plants in a greenroof environment because too much could cause damage to the greenery and habitat.  

 

What plants are best for my greenroof?

Greenroofs thrive with various plant sedum species (succulents), which are ideal for most greenroofs. Sometimes, native grasses and other species such as grasses, perennials and aromatic plants work well for specific areas and climates. A few other factors we keep in mind include the following:

  • Flora that won’t generate airborne seeds (to prevent the spread of plants from one landscaped area to the next)
  • Shorter growth height 
  • Climatic tolerance 
  • Plants with fibrous roots 
  • Rapid maturation   

 

How long will it be for my roof to fully develop?

The short answer is two growing seasons at the most, and ultimately conditional to specific regions. Although weather may get in the way, up-to-date maintenance ensures a more rapid process. Greenrise implements a science-based approach to keep greenroofs from going “green to brown,” ensuring that maintenance and greenroof development is similarly approached from a technical standpoint.

 

How is my greenroof saving energy?

Through the reduction of solar absorption, daily thermal absorption, and thermal rise and fall, greenroofs improve a city’s overall thermal environment. The thermal performance of the building itself is improved as a result of the large, vegetated surfaces providing lower temperatures and reducing the use of cooling systems. 

 

What effect do weather conditions have on my greenroof?

Weather has no concerning effect on your greenroof habitat. The materials used and type of construction will be designed for the region’s climatic patterns and will withstand typical weather conditions, including wind, rain, variable temperatures, air pressure, and freezing and thawing cycles. 

 

Is my greenroof susceptible to leakage, fire, or other structural damage?

As long as the waterproofing methods are compatible with and adjusted to your particular roof surface, leakage is not an issue. You should expect your roof membrane to perform for decades—an end result of a team of experts and their expertise, precision and technical application. These membranes, in turn, are resistant to fire because of the water retention from the deep landscape media that sits on top. If a particular greenroof design is considerably thin, adequate design to aid in fire resistance is put into place. 

Because Greenrise initially asks the “why” behind the project—its purpose, from a technical and aesthetic perspective, the approach results in a customized system from an array of modular, highly engineered components that prevent any such operational or elemental concerns.  

 

Can my greenroof be used for recreational purposes?

Recreational use is dependent on the initial objective of the roof space. Standard extensive greenroofs are typically inaccessible or desined for limited human utilitzation, although a lightweight roof deck can be an option. Intensive greenroofs, however, are constructed on sound, supportive roofs, and because of their thickness, can sustain food gardens, natural gardens, and recreational activity.