A green roof in Winter Springs is known by several names such as ecoroof or living roof. They have been built on buildings for centuries. Many countries in the world have green roof subsidies or programs that encourage ecoroofs. Scandinavia has long had farm house buildings that have sod covered roofs. Some cities in the US are known for their living roofs such as Chicago’s City Hall building.
Basically a green roof is a roof that has vegetation and a growing medium. It will cost more than a standard asphalt shingle roofing application. Rooftop garden costs also depend on the type of green roof installed. There are several differences among green roofs in Winter Springs and some applications that may or may not be defined as a green roof such as a container garden green roof.
What Is Green Roofing?
Sustainable, or "green," buildings - buildings that are deliberately designed to use natural resources in a way that's environmentally friendly -- are no longer a luxury. They are an imperative.
Consider the facts: According to the National Institute of Building Sciences' Whole Building Design Guide, "On an annual basis, buildings in the United States consume 39 percent of America's energy and 68 percent of its electricity. Furthermore, buildings emit 38 percent of the carbon dioxide (the primary greenhouse gas associated with climate change), 49 percent of the sulfur dioxide, and 25 percent of the nitrogen oxides found in the air. Currently, the vast majority of this energy is produced from non-renewable, fossil fuel resources..."
Of the two ways to reduce heating, cooling and lighting loads "through climate-responsive design and construction practices," the Whole Building Design Guide recommends the use of "high-performance building envelopes: select walls, roofs, and other assemblies based on long-term insulation, and durability requirements."
One of the most sustainable, high performance building materials prevalent throughout the world is zinc.
Zinc is reported to be the 23rd most abundant element in the earth's crust. It is a non-ferrous metal that is not susceptible to rust or corrosion: It's weatherproof, seismic proof, corrosion resistant, and immune to the harmful effects of UV rays, ensuring a very long service life without degradation.
This is possible because architectural zinc develops its own protective layer, which is called zinc hydroxyl carbonate. Once it's formed, that layer blocks moisture and chemicals from penetrating the zinc and, if it's scratched, the hydroxyl carbonate will reform over time. In other words, zinc heals itself. That's why zinc walls and roofs last on average from 80 to 100 years.
Zinc also requires very little energy to manufacture and little to no maintenance, and it is 100 percent recyclable from new construction scrap to the time it reaches its end use. As a result, zinc roofs and wall cladding never end up in landfills.
For generations, European architects have specified zinc as a building envelope material for all types of buildings because it would last and endure harsh weather conditions. In the late 1700s, zinc was also one of the most popular materials used for roofing in America, which is why many well-known historic structures, such as the Washington Monument and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, had metal roofs.
Unfortunately, zinc fell out of favor in the U.S. as less expensive roofing materials evolved, such as asphalt shingles, and as American developers and building owners lapsed into a "throw-away" mind-set in the 1960s and '70s that still assumes no more than a 30- to 50-year life span for American buildings.
Today, American architects are becoming more enamored with the material, not only for its durability but also because of the increasing need for environmentally sustainable design and construction.
American architects are warming to the use of zinc on commercial, institutional, and government buildings. A few far-sighted practitioners are also encouraging their residential clients to use architectural zinc on their homes - from brand-new construction to renovation and historic restoration.
New Construction: Thinking of The Future
"Zinc ultimately costs much less than asphalt shingles when you calculate the life span of the house," says Daniel Nicely, director of market development for VMZINC and an associate member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). "Shingles are usually composed of asphalt, a decidedly non-green material, and an average shingle roof will need to be replaced about every 10 years -- four to five times compared to the lifetime of one zinc roof."
The value of zinc's low maintenance factor was underscored at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro when the decision was made to use zinc for two projects there, including the Hall for Humanities Research and Administration. The university acknowledged that construction budgets tend to be well funded but maintenance budgets are not. The self-healing characteristic of zinc was another factor in the decision, as was aesthetics:
"Zinc worked well because of the appearance," said Andy Sykes of Calloway Johnson Moore & West, PA, in North Carolina, project manager for the Hall for Humanities' project. "The color was more similar to what historical turn-coated lead roofs looked like and blended with the traditional campus roofs." (source: McGraw-Hill Construction, Continuing Education Center)
The aesthetic quality of architectural zinc for historic buildings was a key issue for the Central Presbyterian Church in Huntsville, Alabama, when it renovated the Cooper House, a nearby antebellum house that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, to become its new Family Life Center. The old house needed a new roof and rainwater system that would be consistent with the house's historic style and last well into the future.
Hays Buchanan, the architects on the church project, chose natural VMZINC "for its historically correct gray color, strength and durability," reported Design & Build With Metal.com recently.
While zinc is often used in contemporary applications, the Cooper House project is a perfect example of why it is is a natural choice for historic restoration: the color, in this case of natural VMZINC, is historically correct aesthetically pleasing, durable and intended to last for decades. In addition, production techniques allow it to maintain the unique look of natural metal with consistent colors. Natural VMZINC will not develop a drastically different patina like copper, for example, that changes from its copper color to green. Instead, it weathers over the years to form a textured gray patina.
Design and Build with Metal.com also reported that Central Presbyterian church leaders and the Huntsville/Madison County Historical Society "readily approved the application [of zinc roofing and rainwater system] as consistent with the building's historical architecture."
Will Residential Use of Zinc Sweep America?
After rhapsodizing over the beauty, value, and sustainability of architectural zinc, Dallas architect Bob Borson answered the question he knew his blog readers would ask: Why isn't zinc used more in residential design?
"The reason we don't use it more often is because of the price," Borson wrote. "For the average standing seam profile, material cost and labor will run you in the ballpark of $20 per square foot."
For a young family building their first home, or senior citizens replacing the roof of a home they've already lived in for over 50 years, the cost is understandably prohibitive. But for new, modern homes from North Carolina to California, elegant estates in the North East or Pacific Northwest, a mid-century or old farmhouse renovation in Florida or Kentucky, or a historic home in heart of Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans' French Quarter, et al, the durability and sheer beauty of zinc roofing and wall cladding will continue to gain popularity as the imperative for sustainable, energy-saving homes grows stronger.
Green Roof Systems and Your Roof
If you are someone who enjoys contributing to environmental wellness and sustainability, then making eco-conscious roofing decisions is a great way to continue this positively-charged pastime. Fortunately, there are several options for eco-friendly roofing systems. Your choice will depend on your personal preference, budget, and a few other factors.
By talking to a professional roofing contractor, you can learn all of the eco-friendly roofing options that will best fit the unique needs of your home. You can also review many of the possibilities beforehand, in order to prepare yourself for making the ultimate decision.
Continue reading to learn some of the most common and celebrated eco-friendly roofing materials, as well as a few tips to improve energy-efficiency and more.
The most common environmentally-friendly roofing systems include some of the most popular ones on the commercial and residential markets. Below is a list of these systems, and the qualities that make them safe for the environment and surrounding eco-systems. This list includes asphalt shingles, metal, clay tiles, concrete tiles, slate, wood shakes, fiber cement, and recycled roofing.
Fiber Cement - Fiber cement board is an excellent green roofing option since it is primarily composed of cement and cellulose fiber, both of which are biodegradable.
Recycled Roofing - Using recycled product is a terrific eco-friendly practice, and roof systems are no different. Plastic and rubber roofing are recyclable, and can be manufactured to resemble higher-end materials, like wood shake and tiles.
- Go for materials that are high in recycled content.
- Avoid copper and zinc coatings.
- Avoid materials that require the use of chemicals for maintenance.
- Choose light-colored roofing in hot climates for increase sun reflectivity.