Jacksonville Roofing: Article About Green Roofs and Hurricanes
Green, or living, roofs are catching on fast in the United States. In 2010, the square footage of green roofs in the United States grew by almost 30 percent. Chicago alone has more than half a million square feet of living roofs, and Washington, D.C, is not far behind.
Green roofs offer homeowners a variety of benefits. Governments love them because they help manage storm water, clean the air, add green space and help maintain cooler urban rooftops. Property owners love them because they look good, absorb rainwater, add value and save money on energy bills.
Cities like Chicago, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Philadelphia and Portland actively encourage homeowners and businesses to invest in green roofing by offering incentives and friendly regulations. Green roofs have been popular in Europe atop homes, parking garages and office buildings for more than 30 years.
Jacksonville roofing contractors are naturally concerned whether green roofs are a practical option for homes in hurricane zones. Although green roofs can be cost effective in the long term, the initial outlay can be steep. The last thing a homeowner wants is to invest in a living roof only to have it scoured away by a bad storm.
Since Hurricane Irene hit New York in 2011, Consolidated Edison, with a green roof of its own at its Learning Center on Long Island, asserts that a well planned green roof is no more prone to damage by high winds and heavy rains than any other type or roof.
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The Con Ed team on Long Island had planted sedum, a drought tolerant, low growing plant that thrives on well drained soil. Sedum grows in slow periods in dry weather, followed by bursts of fresh growth after a good rain. The weather following Hurricane Irene had been very rainy, so the sedum on the roof at the Learning Center was already flourishing when the storm hit.
According to a scientist at Columbia Engineering School, Con Ed's research partner on the project, both the plants and structure of the roof got through the hurricane relatively unscathed. The heavy rains had drained quickly off the roof without leaving puddles that could have injured the plants' root systems.
Along with careful planting and forward thinking construction, two other factors contributed to the roof's robust performance. Green roof companies sell mesh coverings that help minimize soil loss. Some companies offer wind uplift analysis that ascertains a roof's resistance to wind pressure.
Based on all the evidence, living in a hurricane zone need not be an obstacle to having a green roof. Do, however, discuss drainage and wind resistance with a professional roofing contractor.