Product innovation: Green Roofs

Erik Bornstein
October 29, 2018

As you know, we’re all about sustainable building here at TOOLBX. We’re always on the hunt for eco-friendly building materials and alternatives that will not only reduce the environmental impact of development, but enhance a project aesthetically as well. Green Roofs are a trend we’ve been learning a lot more about, and we’re really impressed by the amount of advantages they offer, both from an efficiency and an environmental standpoint.

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Green roofs are rooftop landscaping systems designed to create biodiversity, storm water retention, and reduce energy consumption. They work by stopping the overflow of water into our sewers, so that it can be used to cool our cities and buildings, filter rainwater pollutants, and support plant diversity. These systems produce zero runoff, self-sustaining indigenous environments without the need for chemicals or pesticides, and have quantifiable cooling benefits which will decrease the urban heat island effect on those hot summer days.

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We’re huge fans of Vertical Landscape Architecture‘s work in Toronto, who specialize in green roofs as well as incorporating this concept in different decorative forms such as “green walls.” (Another huge trend we’ve been seeing more of in eco-conscious contemporary design.) In one Toronto project Vertical implemented, the green roof system installed will divert an estimated 67,642 litres of stormwater from municipal systems, and reduce GHG emissions by approximately 280kg of C02 in one year alone.

“The large and diverse plantings on the garage green roof provide significant visual interest throughout the year. Adjacent residents also appreciate and provide positive comments about having views to the green roofs.”-J. Rokosh, Lanscape Architect

Types of Green Roofs

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Extensive Green Roofs

These green roofs have a shallow, light growing medium and the landscaping is designed to be relatively self-sustaining, requiring little maintenance and minimal structural support.

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Intensive Green Roofs

These green roofs are comparable to a rooftop garden. They require deeper growing medium and more maintenance to grow ornamental grasses, flowers, shrubs, bushes and/or trees.

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Additional Green Roof Benefits
  • Absorb airborne toxins and improve air quality
  • Provide a habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife
  • Can save between 4-20 kWh of energy per square meter of green roof coverage per year
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