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  • Writer's pictureJacopo Montalenti

Everything you, client, need to know about green roof in the Bay Area.

If you are planning to build your home in the Bay Area, this is probably one of the most critical decisions that will influence the value of your home over time.

As a homeowner, details about plant selection, drainage systems, structural loads, intensive & extensive systems, irrigation technologies, wind force calculation, and so on are probably not why you are reading this blog. You will be paying an expert in this field since you don’t need to be aggravated with all these complicated notions. As a potential future client, you probably want to know why a green roof was the best value for your money in 2018.

I could quote the San Francisco most recent published report about the better roof. The 60 pages’ report is titled “San Francisco Living Roof.” It provides well-articulated technical information on roofs (21 March 2016).

Alternatively, I could outline that San Francisco did mandate solar and living roofs on most of the new construction since Jan 1, 2017 (the first city to do so in the USA). Or even point out the benefits the Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD) highlights on Berkeley’s official website.

But you are here for something more personal that resonates well with you as an individual. Yes, a green roof is good (apparently), but is it right for me with my modest new home and possibly my soon-to-be empty wallet? Let’s take a step back! From the green roof to…well, a roof! Why do I need a roof in the first place? Roofs serve several self-evident purposes.

• Shelter against rain • Maintaining warm air inside in winter • Keeping heat outside in summer • Aesthetic purposes (at least some) • A Refuge where to be alone • Gaze at the stars

Right out of the bat, I can tell you that a green roof is better at every single aspect! What more, green roofs are better in all technical characteristic that does not come to your mind right away, for instance:

• Reduce stormwater (and filter water) • Energy efficiency • Reduce heat island effects • Increase longevity

Yes, and you hear this right, the material of a green roof will last at least double the time of the regular roof because all its parts are protected from wind and UV rays and weathering by a substrate of plants and soil! Although green roofs come at a slightly different cost than the cheaply done inefficient standard roofs, green roofs will require much less reparation due to premature material degradation and will perform beyond code requirements; you will soon start saving money. However, the differences in cost become almost negligible if a more expensive, better performing (probably needed by code anyway) and resistant roof material are used. Good looking, good performing, and resilient materials are much more comparable to a green roof per $/square feet.

In conclusion, consider that irrespective of how expensive and well-done is a conventional roof will never beat the performance of a green roof; the green roof is an investment both socially speaking and economically.


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