12 September 2023

Sustainable Roofing: The Benefits of Green Roofing Systems

green landscape on a high-rise roof

Over recent years, Irish construction professionals have become increasingly aware of the benefits of green roofing and how they can lead the future in sustainable roofing projects. In the latest blog from Tecron, we examine three key types of green roofing system and the positive impact they can have on our environment and local communities. 

Unlike any innovation in modern construction, green roofing systems have transformed how building professionals in Ireland and beyond approach building design and environmental sustainability. Indeed, the Global Green Roofing Market is projected to reach USD 2.25 billion by 2028, as summarised in a recent report by BusinessWire. Here at Tecron, we’ve witnessed a growing interest in these systems through the many companies and roofing professionals we work with.

Green Roofing: Simple Concept, Complex Advantages

Growing interest in sustainable roofing has seen a market explosion, with dozens of green roofing products available to environmentally-minded construction professionals and their customers. However, whilst the options are numerous, many of these systems narrow down to one simple concept: a roof that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium. 

Many of these systems can also be categorised into three groups:

-Green roofs

-Brown / biodiverse roofs

-Modular green roofs

Let’s take a look at each of these systems in detail and how they offer a  multitude of benefits that extend beyond traditional roofing methods – keep reading to learn more.

Green Roofs

green landscape roofing bridging two buildings

Also known as living roofs, green roofs are characterised by their lush vegetation and plant life covering the rooftop surface. The build-up of a green roof typically includes layers such as the Fatra membrane, sacrificial/protection membrane or geotextile fleece, drainage layer, geotextile filter fleece, growing substrate, and a sedum vegetation blanket.

The Advantages of Green Roofs

Green Roofs: Environmental Benefits

-Improved Air Quality: Green roofs act as natural air filters, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen through photosynthesis. This contributes to cleaner air in built-up urban areas.

-Stormwater Management: By absorbing rainwater and reducing runoff, green roofs alleviate stress on stormwater systems, preventing flooding and erosion.

-Urban Heat Island Effect: Green roofs combat the urban heat island effect by reducing the absorption and reflection of solar radiation, helping regulate city temperatures and reduce energy demand. 

Green Roofs: Energy Efficiency Benefits

-Thermal Insulation: The vegetative layers of green roofs provide additional thermal insulation, reducing heat loss during cold seasons and heat gain during hot summers; leading to energy savings and reduced HVAC usage.

-Extended Roof Lifespan: The green roof acts as a protective barrier for the underlying roofing materials, shielding them from harsh UV rays and extreme temperature fluctuations, thereby extending the lifespan of the roof.

Green Roofs: Biodiversity Benefits

-Green Roofs as Habitats: Green roofs offer unique opportunities for urban biodiversity by providing habitats for insects, birds, and other small animals.

-Biodiversity Conservation: By supporting local flora and fauna, green roofs contribute to the preservation of native plant species and the conservation of urban biodiversity. Indeed, by installing green roofing systems, companies and organisations can make serious pledges to their environmental commitments.

Brown / Biodiverse Roofs

green astroturf patches on roof

Brown or biodiverse roofs share several similarities with green roofs but have a distinct focus on creating ecosystems that mimic natural habitats. Instead of specific vegetation, they are often left to allow the germination of wind-blown seeds or seeded with local flora. Tecron believes that this is an innovative way of partially mitigating the loss of ecosystems from existing brownfield sites that have been redeveloped.

The Advantages of Brown / Biodiverse Roofs

Brown / Biodiverse Roofs: Biodiversity Conservation Benefits

-Ecosystem Restoration: Brown roofs play a vital role in ecosystem restoration by providing a platform for diverse plant and animal species to thrive in urban environments.

-Wildlife Support: By attracting pollinators, birds, and other wildlife, brown roofs actively support urban biodiversity and contribute to broader ecological resilience.

Brown/ Biodiverse Roofs: Sustainable Redevelopment Benefits

-Rejuvenating Brownfield Sites: Brown roofs play a significant role in sustainable urban development by reimagining brownfield sites and utilising previously disturbed or underutilised land for ecological restoration.

Modular Green Roofs

modular green roofing

Modular green roofs are designed with pre-grown trays featuring different vegetation types, such as Sedum and wildflowers, providing a flexible and convenient green roofing option.

The Advantages of Modular Green Roofs

Modular Green Roofs: Installation & Maintenance Benefits

-Streamlined Installation: With pre-grown trays, modular green roofs offer a more straightforward installation process compared to traditional green roofs, making them a practical option for various building types.

-Reduced Maintenance: The integrated drainage and water reservoir systems within the trays minimise the need for regular upkeep, making these roofs ideal for commercial and residential applications alike.

Modular Green Roofs: Customisation Benefits

-Versatility: Modular green roofs present a wide range of customization options, allowing property owners to choose between Sedum, wildflowers, or a blend of both to suit their preferences and site requirements.

-Enhanced Aesthetics: By integrating visually appealing plant varieties, modular green roofs elevate the overall aesthetics of buildings, contributing to a greener urban landscape.

Green roofing systems serve as a powerful testament to the possibilities of harmonising architecture with nature. As we embrace these eco-friendly alternatives, we can collectively work towards creating greener, healthier, and more livable urban environments for generations to come.

Tecron: Your Trusted Partner for Green Roofing Projects

Here at Tecron, we’re passionate about driving sustainability in roofing by providing a range of green roofing systems. To get started, contact us or book a CPD in seconds.