by alan burchell & rubyana lyon green roofs
feb 28 2017

A future blog series will deep dive into the details of each green roof benefit, but for now, here is a brief run down grouped into two categories: Private benefits (enjoyed by building owners and occupants) and Public benefits (how green roofs benefit their local economy, environment, and society).

Private benefits of green roofs:

Installing a green roof is a great way for building owners to reinvest in their building asset.  Putting a dollar value behind each of the different ways building owners and occupants will benefit from a green roof quickly adds up to an attractive overall return on investment (particularly if they live in one of the many cities that offer financial incentives for green roofs).

Green Roofs have a great ROI for buildings.

  • Amenity space creation (improved quality of life)
  • Boosted property value (higher lease rates and sale value)
  • Thermal insulation (reduced cooling and heating costs)
  • Increased Roof Life (protection of membrane)
  • Marketing (showing commitment to environment boosts brand image)
  • Rooftop agriculture
  • Reduced noise levels
  • Boosted solar panel electricity production
  • Access to nature
  • LEED and WELL Building Standard credits

Public benefits of green roofs:

One lone green roof won’t exactly bring climate change to a grinding halt. But install several green roofs clustered in one neighborhood, for example, and you will start to see the effects.  Further, if even just 2% of roofs in one city were greened, the impact would be considerable.

Image: The Beirut Wonder Forest, Studio Invisible

Image: The Beirut Wonder Forest, Studio Invisible

For this reason, to encourage green roof construction, several North American cities (ie: New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, Chicago) offer very generous financial incentives, property tax rebates and cash reimbursements.  City governments love green roofs for these public benefits:

  • Stormwater retention (easing of street flooding and sewer overflow)
  • Cooler air (reduction of Urban Heat Island Effect)
  • Natural habitat for animals and plants
  • Cleaner air (reduction of pollutants, dust and smog levels)
  • Local job creation
  • Waste reduction
  • Aesthetic improvement


To be continued…

Next Blog (March 3 2017): Intro to Green Roofs, Part 3 of 3:  Types and Layers