Steven Peck and Monica Kuhn, B.E.S., B. Arch, O.A.A.
Ontario Association of Architects and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
April 19, 2009
Green roof infrastructure promises to become an increasingly important option for building owners and community planners. As we move into the 21st century, green roofs can address many of the challenges facing urban residents. Life cycle costing indicates that green roofs cost the same or less than conventional roofing and they are an investment which provides a significant number of social, environmental and economic benefits that are both public and private in nature. These benefits include increased energy efficiency (from cooling in the summer and added insulation in the winter), longer roof membrane life span, sound insulation, and the ability to turn wasted roof space into various types of amenity space for building occupants. Green roofs filter particulate matter from the air, retain and cleanse storm water and provide new pportunities for biodiversity preservation and habitat creation. They generate aesthetic benefits and help to reduce the ‘urban heat island effect’ – the overheating of cities in the summer which contributes to air pollution and increased energy consumption.. This article provides an introduction to green roof infrastructure and describes how to implement and market a green roof, looks at costs, and presents three case studies.