This year, it is impossible to avoid the topic of severe weather. We’ve seen Storm Ophelia batter Ireland, and we’ve seen the Caribbean and southern United States take an unmerciful beating. Videos of roofs being torn off and blown about like rags are all over Facebook and YouTube.
At the most basic level, houses are shelter. Before we get to all the details about comfort and style, they protect us from the elements. So it is essential that architects and builders keep that awareness at the centre of their vision.
This year’s severe weather throws up many questions about buildings – how can we make them storm-proof and how can we make them as environmentally friendly as possible? For many, both of those questions have one answer: green roofs.
Green roofs are not just another trend. The tendency towards green roofs has increased remarkably over the last 20 years. With the Renolit Alkorplan LA membrane, Renolit has proved to be competitive having completed various green roof projects over many years.
How Does a Green Roof Help in Severe Weather?
A properly installed green roof system is an ideal roof to survive high winds and severe rainfall. It has no slates to fly off the roof. It is heavy enough to withstand wind pressure. Plants on it will bend; they will not be large enough to cause damage by breaking.
What homeowners will notice first is that a green roof provides excellent insulation in cold weather. Their heating costs will be lower. If they lose power in a storm, their home will retain heat for a significant amount of time. If they have a wood stove, they can stay reasonably warm until their electrical service is restored.
It is in the aftermath of a severe storm that the benefits of green roof systems are most obvious. The roof itself will survive in good nick. And beyond that, it will help to minimize the damage storms do. Because it absorbs some water, it reduces the amount of runoff. This in turn reduces the risk of flooding or lessens the severity of any flooding. The root systems of the plants in the roof serve two purposes. They consume water, and they hold the soil in place.
Green roof systems are poised to meet the needs of home builders concerned about storm-proofing their property. As we see hurricanes and other severe weather cause enormous damage and suffering in Ireland and around the world, it makes sense to look at how we can best meet the challenge and provide homes that withstand and minimize the damage inflicted. Green roofing is an answer that is likely to become more popular in the coming years.