Green Roofs 
Green Roof
Green Roofs 101
Green Roof Benefits
Green Roofs - EPA
Layers of a Green Roof:
Green Roof diagram
Green Roof
Rooftop Garden
Roof Top Garden
A green roof, or rooftop garden, is a vegetative layer grown on a rooftop. Green roof structures can become net producers of energy, clean water and air, as well as part of healthy human and biological communities. Green roofs provide shade and remove heat from the air, reducing temperatures of the roof surface and the surrounding air. Green roofs can be installed on a wide range of buildings, from industrial facilities to private residences. They can be as simple as a 2-inch covering of hardy groundcover or as complex as a fully accessible park complete with trees.

Although green roofs may have a higher initial cost than traditional roofing, over its lifetime, the green roof would save about $200,000. Nearly two-thirds of these savings would come from reduced energy needs for the building with the green roof. Depending on rain intensity and green roof soil depths, runoff can be absorbed between 15 to 90 %, thereby considerably reducing runoff and potential pollutants from traditional impermeable roofing surfaces.  Plants intercept and delay rainfall runoff as nature intended, alleviating combined sewer overflows, and eventually return water to the surrounding atmosphere by evaporation and transpiration.   

Green roofs can never replace natural areas, but they can offer some of the benefits of natural areas. In addition to maintaining stormwater runoff, they can create habitats for birds, bees and butterflies, turning your once boring roof into an aesthetically appealing part of your home or business.
“Green Roofs”:  Alternatives to Traditional Asphalt Singles
Did you know?
• Nearly 75 percent of all roofs in the U.S. are covered with asphalt shingles.  Asphalt shingles contain petroleum products and are difficult to reuse or recycle because of that very fact.  Some older varieties contain asbestos and other harmful materials.  The average life span for asphalt shingles is about 20-25 years.
• Each year, the U.S. manufactures and disposes of an estimated 11 million tons of asphalt shingles.  Of this waste, 10 million tons is from tear offs from re-roofing and 1 million tons from manufacturer waste.  The U.S. EPA estimates that asphalt shingles make up nearly 10 percent of the total building-related waste stream in landfills, decomposing very slowly and emitting methane gas.
“Greener” Roof Alternatives
“Living” Roofs- Living roofs contain a layer of soil with plants growing on top, preferably native plants.  Some systems are installed in flat containers that can be moved or easily replaced.

Sheet Metal Roofs- Roofs made out of sheets of metal are easy to install and last for decades, making them very sustainable.   They come in a variety of colors and are made with varied amounts of recycled content.

Solar Shingles- Solar roof shingles look just like normal roofing shingles but contain a thin layer of photovoltaic film which generates electricity.  Although one shingle by itself will not produce much energy, an entire roof covered with these shingles can produce enough power for your entire home.

Recycled Shingles- There are several roofing shingles on the market that contain various amounts of recycled material.  These products can be manufactured to look like any type of roofing shingle and help keep waste out of our landfills.

Aluminum Shingles- Often referred to as the “miracle metal,” aluminum shingles are lightweight, durable, highly reflective and made out of recycled material.  And, of course, they can be recycled again when replaced. 
From roof to road …
Some highway departments now use old asphalt shingles from tear-offs as part of their new road mix.  Up to 5 percent of new road asphalt mix in Illinois contains ground up asphalt shingles from local homes. The Illinois Tollway Authority leads the way as part of their attempt to green up the tollways.

The next time you tear off and replace your asphalt roof, make sure your contractor takes them to an approved recycling facility that turns them into new roads.
Benefits of Green Roofs
Living, Vegetative Green Roofs:
• Control stormwater runoff, erosion and water pollution
• Mitigate urban heat-island effects, cooling and cleaning the air
• Conserve energy and reduces greenhouse gases
• Double service life of roof, reducing both costs and landfill space
Metal and Recycled Green Roofs:
• Use recycled material that can again be recycled
• Double service life of roof, reducing both costs and landfill space
• Use less raw materials, thus, protecting our natural resources
• Reflect the sun and keeps homes better insulated
Green Roof
A Citizen's Guide to Preserving the Fox River
in Illinois