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What are the advantages of a green roof?

Green roofs have been gaining in popularity in recent years. That’s hardly surprising, considering how many general and ecological advantages they have.

The general advantages of a green roof are:

  • Green roof
    Longer lifespan of the roofing: a green layer protects the roofing against UV radiation, snow and ice. By avoiding exposure to extremely high and low temperatures, the roofing will last two to three times longer than with a traditional roof.
  • Insulation against heat and cold: an additional advantage is that it will remain nice and cool inside during the summer while in the winter it will be pleasantly warm. These lower energy demands will also be translated to your energy bills.
  • Sound insulation: the green roof – and in particular the substratum – absorbs both impact noise, such as from rain and hail, and environmental noise.
  • Aesthetic advantages: green roofs increase the aesthetic character of both buildings and neighbourhoods. They also provide a nicer view for residents who live above them.
  • Extra space: a green roof that can be walked on can represent an extension of your garden or provide additional space for growing vegetables and herbs.

The ecological advantages of a green roof are:

  • Improvement of ambient air quality: the vegetation filters some of the invisible pollution and particles from the air. Leaves absorb heavy metals: up to 95% of cadmium, copper and lead, and 16% of zinc. Air pollution above gardens and parks is up to 80% less than in the rest of the city. Moreover, photosynthesis reduces the amount of CO2 in the air and produces an increase of oxygen in the atmosphere.
  • Reduced water problems: 30 to 50% of rainwater is filtered and absorbed by the vegetation layer, the substratum and the drainage layer, resulting in a lot less water in the sewage system.
  • More favourable microclimate: in densely built-up areas such as large towns and cities, the so-called heat-island effect occurs. The buildings store heat during the day and then radiate this during the night, leading to higher temperatures and lower humidity levels. Green roofs reduce this effect.
  • Increased biodiversity: green roofs contribute to the increase of fauna in the city, such as butterflies, pollinating insects and birds, etc.

More information about green roofs can be found in the Sustainable Buildings Guide of Bruxelles Environnement (the Brussels Institute for Management of the Environment, link in French).


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