Going green- on your roof

Also known as a “living roof”, a green roof is one that is covered, either partially or completely, in vegetation, sod, or some other growing material.



On my recent trip to Alaska I saw quite a few green roofs, like this one at the visitor’s center in downtown Anchorage.

But green roofs, once primarily seen in commercial settings, are popping up all over the place. 

This month’s Dwell magazine featured a home in Poland with a green roof.  Here are a few pictures from it (courtesy of dwell.com):




The basic idea is to help absorb rainwater and reduce storm water runoff, lower urban air temperatures, reduce the heat island effect (cities being hotter than surrounding countryside).  There are two types of green roofs.

Intensive green roofstypically require a foot or more of soil and thus they require substantial structural support to hold all the extra weight.  Intensive roofs can look like an ordinary garden with trees and shrubs growing on it.

Extensive green roofs have a very thin soil layer (2-4 inches deep) and are planted with hardy drought resistant plants.  These roofs require virtually no maintenance.

Examples of green roofs are all over once you start looking.  It’s estimated that nearly 10% of the roofs in Scandinavian countries are green.  One of the largest green roofs in the United States is at the Ford River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.


Think outside the box (or house).  Even if you don’t have a roof on your home that would work for a green roof there are plenty of places to use this idea (courtesy of greenroof.se).

You could try your child’s playhouse, garden shed or even your mailbox!



I’m already thinking of where we could do this at our house, what about you?.  For more info on DIY green roofs projects check  http://greenroof.se.

Want more green ideas? Check out passive heating, green walls and some easy DIY green tips.


5 thoughts on “Going green- on your roof

  1. DesignTies says:

    Another advantage to a green roof is that it the room below it is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer 🙂

    A green roof is a good idea for lots of reasons. Hopefully we’ll start seeing more of them.

    Kelly @ DesignTies

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