Green Roof – Takes Root
Great architecture deserves a green roof. Homeowners are all about letting us sprout up some sky-high gardens in our custom home designs. If you have always wanted a living roof to grow on your new home, Vita Design Group has got you covered.
The amazing colors and textures of the plants for green roofs bring a natural beauty to your house. The types of suitable plants for green roofs are: Mat-forming species of Sedum, Sempervivum and moss are all good choices, but you could add in a few types of grass as well. These plants are hardy and dense growing.
At Vita Design Group, we have worked with family owned Evergreen Environments, out of Sandy Hook, CT to design and install green roofs on a few of our custom designed homes. Tom Gilbertie, a green roof professional from Evergreen has been such a wonderful resource and taught us a lot about these self-sustaining living architectural features.
A green roof has multiple layers: Starting from the bottom up, a green roof consists of a high-quality waterproof membrane, a root repellant system, an optional layer of insulation, a drainage layer, a filter cloth for fine soils, a lightweight growing medium or soil substrate and plants. Tom educated our group on the three categories of green roofs; depending on how deep the planting medium is and how much maintenance they require: intensive, semi-intensive, and extensive.
Intensive green roofs recreate the conditions of a traditional garden above ground and require substantial effort to maintain. At the opposite end of the spectrum are extensive green roofs, which are self-sustaining with tough and drought-resistant plants, making them relatively maintenance-free (we love the sound of that!). Lastly, the semi-intensive roof is sort of a hybrid of the other two and you can select a broader range of vegetation. Because irrigation is only needed from time to time with a semi-intensive roof, it requires a medium amount of maintenance.
So how much does this natural view cost the client? The average cost for the bare-bones green roof-including the design, permitting (if needed) and installation-will typically run between $18-$22 per square foot. A deeper or more specialized roof, can cost between $30-$50 per square foot. We believe this upfront additional cost to have the green roof installed is worth it! A living roof reduces noise and air pollution. They increase the longevity of the roofing membrane, improve stormwater management by reducing runoff and improving water quality and conserve energy.
Psychologists have also come to think that even brief exposure to natural settings is mentally and physically restorative. Individuals tend to have decreased irritability and an increased desire to walk, exercise and be one with nature. Researchers have also found that natural views lead to greater productivity and lower blood pressure. There is also a health benefit to the actual colors and scents of the plants as well. A plant palette of pastels can create a calming sense, with blue, purple and green.
Vita Design Group wants to continue to design more sustainable living spaces for our clients. We see these natural elements surely growing on some additional future Vita Design Group custom homes.