Green Roof Explosion: The Green Roof Revolution

Association of Construction and Development
May 21, 2012 — 1,208 views  

In the past decade, green roof construction experienced an explosion in popularity that has resulted in better sustainability and reduced energy costs. As cities look to reduce their residents' carbon footprints and increase the visual appeal of urban skylines, municipal authorities are frequently looking to this industry for help. National numbers reflect this trend.

Over the course of 2009, green roof search inquiries on major internet search engines increased by 155 percent, reported Greenroofs.com. This shows a vested public interest in green roof technology, one that has not diminished in subsequent years.

"We are definitely beginning to see results from policy support that has increased over the past few years," said Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) chair Jeffrey L. Bruce, according to The Wall Street Journal. "The industry is also benefiting from the more than 500 accredited Green Roof Professionals (GRPs) in the market, who are committed to driving future industry growth."

A long and arduous process awaits those who wish to become accredited GRPs. Designers, engineers and builders must complete several courses successfully to receive the coveted designation, and must demonstrate competency in both the "black" and "green" sides of the roofing industry.

For example, the GRHC website breaks down the difference between the two aspects. Black skills include knowledge on the non-organic parts of a green roof, including waterproofing capabilities, architectural design and project management ideas. The green side has to do with plants, as GRPs must also know how to successfully organize and integrate vegetation into a non-living structure. Water supply, growth feasibility and plant maintenance are all covered in the GRHC accreditation process.

Obtaining a GRP designation is a momentous achievement, as only slightly more than 500 professionals have earned this title since its implementation in 2003. People seeking this title should first familiarize themselves with the two main types of green roofs.

An extensive green roof contains mostly low-maintenance bushes and vegetation that does not require a large amount of upkeep. In addition, these roofs are not designed for public interaction and are instead intended to absorb rainwater and carbon dioxide.

Conversely, an intensive roof is essentially a park situated on top of a building. These include large trees, gardens and walkways where visitors can enjoy the experience of a natural setting. These are more common atop high-rise buildings that have more space and residents.

Association of Construction and Development