A Beginners Guide to Green Roofs

What is a Green Roof?

A green roof, a living roof, a garden roof or an eco-roof are all terms for the same thing – a roof or deck where vegetation or habitat for wildlife is deliberately established. Whether at ground level with an underground car park beneath or many storeys higher, these roofs can be designed as recreational spaces to be enjoyed by people, as visual, sustainable or ecological features to support wildlife or a combination of both.

Why are they so popular?

As more and more green space has disappeared to housing and commercial buildings and the need for us all to do our bit to reverse the human impact on climate change has become more apparent, the popularity of the green roof has gained incredible momentum, particularly in London and other densely populated, greenery -starved cities around the world. In fact, in 2017, the Green Roof Market report stated that the Green Roof market was growing by 17% each year.

Types of Green Roof

Green roofs are generally categorised as intensive and extensive

Intensive systems are those which are used as recreational spaces and often include similar features to traditional parks and gardens such as shrubs, trees, paving, lawns and even water features. They are often referred to as roof gardens. Where urban food growing is desired, intensive green roofs are usually necessary to provide sufficient soil volume.

Extensive systems are normally intended to be viewed from another location as visual or ecological features and, other than for maintenance purposes, do not usually have people walking on them. The majority of green roofs fall within this category and contain hardier, more drought-tolerant species of plants such as sedums, mosses, and wildflowers.

Extensive green roofs designed specifically to create habitats for plants and animals can be termed Biodiverse (or Brown) roofs. These types of roofs are becoming increasingly specified in urban areas in order to recreate habitat lost by the development.

Green Roof Benefits

Green roofs have a positive impact on sustainability and biodiversity, create visual enhancement of the landscape and fully exploit the spatial opportunities for visual and recreational enjoyment. These are the original, intended benefits of the green roof but the list below shows that there are a significant number of other benefits.

Some benefits are:

  • Absorbs and slows surface water
  • Absorbs sunlight reducing the need for air conditioning
  • Natural insulation prevents heat loss in winter
  • Improves air quality
  • Extended roof life
  • Fire resistance


As with any construction process, the cost of a green roof depends on specification and there are many variants that need to be considered when specifying a green roof. However, higher costs are associated with pitched roofs on account of the additional safety measures that may be required for construction and maintenance.

Rubber roofing is very versatile and we hope this blog shows you another way in which you can use your rubber roof. With the effect we all are having on climate change, green roofing is one positive way in which we can impact sustainability and biodiversity. If you’d like to find out more about a rubber roof, or how to turn your rubber roof into a green roof, get in touch with one of our team on 024 7666 7234

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