My neighbor, Beth Haggart, has a passion for living roofs. She has also become a living roof consultant and started her own business: Living Roof Vermont, LLC. What's a living roof? Some call it a green roof. They've been built all over the world and for many centuries. Some of the most famous were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon built about 500 B.C.
Not just any roof can be turned into a green roof. It needs to be structurally strong enough to bear the extra weight and waterproof. If it's strong enough or reinforced, it can then be covered with a waterproof membrane, covered with a growing medium and plants.
But why would you want to do that? There are all kinds of environmental benefits. Reducing stormwater runoff is one major benefit especially if you're in a city or need a body of water that could be contaminated.
A Brief Summary of Living Roof Benefits
- improved air quality
- energy conservation due to improved thermal performance
- increased green space
- general health benefits
- reduced urban heat island effect
- noise/sound insulation
- good use for recycled materials
Beth can give you more details and tell you how to go about turning one of your roofs into a living roof.
Let me know if you do! I'd love to make a video of it.
In the video below, you'll see some colorful bicycle tires that have been planted in on a roof that belongs to a Burlington, Vermont B&B overlooking Lake Champlain. This was part of a creative living roof experiment Beth was doing.