How To Reduce Roof Costs by Going Green.
The cost of a roof is mainly dictated by its ability to insulate from sun during hot days while keeping a natural, rustic roof. To achieve such features, roof manufacturers go to great lengths such as using acrylic paints containing small sand granules on steel sheets. This enables the steel sheets to appear rough and rustic and also insulate during sunny weather.
Unfortunately, to achieve this, the costs are quite high, approximately KES 1900 per m2 of surface area.
Use of Green roofs whereby live plant material is planted on the roof surface will achieve insulation and give good rustic aesthetics at a lower cost.
Plants that require no maintenance such as Sedum can be planted to creep on the roof surface. To increase aesthetics, different varieties with different shades and textures can be planted.
This can ensure your roof gives you the insulation and beauty while saving money and helping reduce the Carbon footprint in the atmosphere.
Notable Green roofs.
Chelsea Football Club Training grounds roof, designed by AFL Architects, has a 1000m2 surface of Sedum plant.
Another notable Green roof project is Architect Susanne Zuniga’s residence in Portland, USA.
The roof has a very low slope, whereby Sedum has been planted and a waterproof membrane used to prevent water from seeping into the house.
It would be interesting to see Kenyans try out these new Green roofs to break the monotony from the usual Mabati/Steel ,concrete and clay tiles used commonly.
Use of soil to aid the Sedum growth increases the total roof weight. Luckily, Sedum requires a very minimal depth of soil to grow, around 100mm deep hence reducing the total overall weight of the roof considerably.
Edible roof Gardens.
In some instances, edible plants have been planted on roof surfaces. The provide the obvious advantage of food production .
Researchers such as Sandy Thai of the University of California have come up with detailed reserch on edible roof gardens such as the one below.
Green roofs offer advantages in terms at superior aesthetics, better insulation and reduced cost of construction.
Careful selection of the plants to ensure they are hardy and require minimum watering is important. The more people embrace such Green roofs, the more we reduce the Carbon footprint in the atmosphere.
Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.