Green and Solar Roofs

More and more people are showing an interest in both green roofs and solar roofs. We are going to examine both to help you determine which one is right for your home and which will have the environmental impact you are interested in.

Green Roofs

The term ‘green roof’ is becoming more and more familiar today due to global warming, ecological disasters and the desire to help our environment any way possible. The definition of green roof according to Wikipedia is:” A green roof or living roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. It may also include additional layers such as a root barrier and drainage and irrigation systems”.

A green (live) roof has many benefits which include providing insulation, attractive and practical, water conservation by way of the plants absorbing the rainwater, sound buffer or noise barrier, lower energy consumption in both the winter and summer, creating a habitat for wildlife and  serving to remove pollutants and carbon dioxide from the air.

There are several types of green roofs:

  1. Extensive green roof– which represents the lighter of the green (live) roofs. They only require a thin layer of soil which is generally a composting material designed specifically for this type of roof.  It is planted with the Sedum species of plants which includes flowering plants, herbs and shrubs. Mosses also lend themselves well to this type of environment.  Primarily, these roofs are designed to be low in maintenance and require the least structural support of the roof itself. They are what we consider ‘self-sustaining’ and should only require yearly maintenance in the form of weeding and the application of fertilizer. Mother Nature literally takes care of the rest.
  2. Intensive green roof- which represents the traditional live roof gardens and requires a certain amount of soil to support the growth of larger plants, trees and conventional lawns. This type of roofing system is much heavier and demands significant structural support. Most people equate this live roof as ‘park-like’ with easy access. It requires a lot of maintenance which includes routine feeding, irrigation, pruning, weeding and even mowing. 
  3. Comprehensive green roof- is the best of both worlds and has developed as a result of technological advances of new systems that support the vegetation of the intensive roof with the depth and weight of the extensive green roof.
Green Roof Wiki

Green Roof Wiki

 Solar Roofs

When talking about solar roofing, most people envision the big bulky solar panels attached to roofs that stick out like a sore thumb and require significant maintenance and upkeep. Welcome solar shingles, which Wikipedia defines as: “Solar shingles, also called photovoltaic shingles, are solar cells designed to look like conventional asphalt shingles.”




These shingles are installed in place of some of the conventional shingles and come in a variety of shapes and colors, allowing seamless incorporation into your existing roof. They convert the UV rays of the sun to renewable energy in the form of electricity. What you don’t use to power your home will be stored on your electricity providers’ grid. In essence, your electricity company could end up paying you money from the solar roof on your home.



Right now, there are two main manufacturers of solar shingles, Dow and Certainteed.



Dow Solar Shingles




The one thing to realize is that the initial cost is significantly more than the traditional roof but it is a roofing system that will pay you back for years to come.






Watch this video about Dow’s Solar Shingles:



Still confused about which to choose?

Give us a call today at 503-303-8325 and we’ll be glad to sit down with you and help you decide the best roofing system for your home.


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