Karla News

Grass Roofs: Eco-Friendly and Green Green Green

For many people looking for ideas to help conserve the earth and to help out our environment, focusing on energy has become a main concern. One thing people have been doing is to put solar panels on their roofs in order to generate their own energy. That is a pretty expensive endeavor. What if you could put something else on your roof that not only helps out the environment but provides some great benefits for you, the homeowner, also. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s only a matter of time before you see what has come to be known as “green roofs” or a roof with grass on it.

Grass? On the roof? How?
Having grass on your roof seems like a ridiculous and tacky idea, not mention the questions about maintenance, and animal life, etc. Although the grass can be put on your roof to be pretty deep, the more common practice is to have grass that is only about 2 to about 4 inches deep. From the top, there is a layer of plants, with sedums being the kind typically used. These plants have shallow roots; they also grow pretty low, and can even be drought resistant. You can get variations in the flowers and colors. They plant the grass in a layer of vermiculite, a multitude of engineered lightweight soils, in order to provide a good environment for the grass to grow.

What are the benefits?
If you have begun to consider the idea of having grass on your roof, you’d definitely want to make sure that the benefits outweigh the costs and demands of having such a roof. One of the first benefits is that the grass cools down the roof. This helps to reduce the amount of heat outside of the house. If many people in a localized area adopted grass roofs, the reduction in heat may be noticeable. Also, it helps to keep some of the heat from coming into the house, which means you have to run the air conditioning less, and helping the environment. It also protects your roof if you choose to only cover a part of your roof with grass. And for those willing to live on the wild side, you can even allow goats and sheep to graze on the roof.

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I want one! Can I get one?
Yes and no. Yes if you are willing to pay the extra money involved. To retrofit an existing roof and house structure with a green roof would be a difficult task. The cost involved is large also, because most existing roofs would need to be reinforced in order to support the extra weight on the roof. Also, finding contractor who would be willing to do it, and who has experience with such roofs, would also be hard. But, if you really want one, you could find someone to get it done, if you have the money to do so.

Although this isn’t practical for many people, and the costs make it even harder to have done, it is definitely an exciting look at what the future holds with regards to inventions and ideas to help to protect and to save our environment. Prices will be going down, and just as houses are being built with solar panels to create energy, houses may start to be built with grass on the roofs. We’ll just have to wait and see.

By the way, to answer the question that most people have… no, it doesn’t need to be mowed, since the grass is naturally limiting in height.