Commercial Green Roofs vs Flat Roofs - Showalter Roofing
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How Do Green Roofs Compare to Traditional Roofs?

Published by Andrew Schmidt

Most, if not all, people want to make the world a better place. As a society, we are constantly exploring innovative ways to reduce our environmental footprint and combat global warming.

One such innovation is the adoption of green roofs, which offer a fresh take on traditional roofing systems. In this blog, we’ll explore how green roofs compare to traditional roofs on commercial buildings.

Green Roofs

Green roofing is a sustainable roofing solution that involves planting vegetation on the roof’s surface. They come in two primary types: extensive and intensive. Extensive green roofs are lighter and less complex, while intensive green roofs are more elaborate and can support various plants, solar panels, and other environmentally friendly devices.

The main benefit of maintaining green roofs is that they combat the urban heat island effect, which occurs when cities replace greenery with buildings, parking lots, and other surfaces that absorb and retain heat. Other advantages to green roofing include

  • Environmental Benefits: Green roofs reduce air pollution and enhance biodiversity in urban areas.
  • Energy Efficiency: They provide natural insulation, reducing the need for air conditioning and heating, which saves energy and lowers utility bills.
  • Extended Roof Lifespan: The vegetation layer protects the roofing membrane from harsh weather and UV radiation, extending the roof’s lifespan.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing: Green roofs offer a beautiful, natural aesthetic that boosts property value and provides a calming space for the area.

A green roof in Chicago.

Traditional Roofs

Commercial flat roofs use common building materials, like asphalt, gravel, or TPO rubber single-ply membranes. They are more common than green roofs, and have their own advantages to consider:

  • Affordability: Traditional roofs are generally more cost-effective to install and maintain.
  • Accessibility: Their flat surface offers easier access for maintenance and repairs.
  • Versatility: Traditional roofs can adapt to various architectural styles and needs.

Comparing the Two

When comparing commercial green roofs vs flat roofs, several key differences set them apart.

  • Environmental Impact: Green roofs beat traditional flat roofs regarding sustainability. Although commercial flat roofs absorb heat, they often require chemicals and protective agents for insulation, waterproof membranes, and durability. Green roofs absorb solar radiation and carbon dioxide to reduce heat, clean the air, and provide insulation, making them a more eco-friendly choice.
  • Energy Efficiency: Green roofs naturally cool the building in the summer and provide insulation in the winter, saving money on energy costs. Plantlife can also act as a natural drainage system for water runoff. Flat roofs require more structural support for additional insulation, heating and cooling, and improved air quality.
  • Maintenance: Traditional flat roofs are easier to access for maintenance and repairs, but green roofs require regular care, such as weeding and irrigation. However, the environmental benefits of green roofs often outweigh the maintenance efforts.
  • Cost: Green roofs can be complex, so they may have a higher initial cost. However, they offer long-term savings through reduced energy consumption and extended roof life that help balance the upfront costs.

Overall, green roofs undoubtedly are a more sustainable, cost-efficient, and environmentally friendly option over commercial flat roofs. While traditional flat roofs still have their place, the benefits of green roofs are hard to ignore. As new construction continues to utilize eco-friendly practices, the choice between green roofs and traditional roofs becomes clear: green roofs are a green revolution that’s here to stay.

Contact Showalter Roofing for Green Roofing

If you’re considering a green roof for your commercial building or need expert advice on roofing options, Showalter Roofing is here to help. Contact us today for expert guidance on roofing solutions tailored to your needs.

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