The Benefits Of Converting A Commercial Roof To Green Space

Adapting Flat Roofing To Green Roof Offers Economic And Environmental Value.

Commercial RoofingFor many types of commercial properties with flat roofs, access to that roof has been customarily restricted to some type of maintenance activity, such as heating or cooling system repairs, inspections for leaks/storm damage, or snow and ice removal. However, there seems to be a growing trend toward utilizing this flat space more effectively and more creatively – by converting some or all of the available area into green roof.

Green roofing is akin to a rooftop garden, and it encompasses vegetation planted in a growing material that is layered on a waterproof membrane. If the green roofing will be park-like in nature, i.e.: easily accessible to employees, guests, or occupants of the commercial property, it might also be constructed with an extra sub-layer specifically intended to aid with water drainage.

There are several economic and environmental benefits that can be realized by adapting flat roofs into green space, including:

  • Economic Benefits
    • Lower heating and cooling costs – vegetation offers a natural layer of insulation
    • Extending the lifespan of HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) systems
    • Attention to recycling – through materials used for the growing environment
    • Extending the life of the flat roof material/waterproof membrane (less waste)
    • Increased property values – cost efficiencies can be appealing to tenants/buyers
    • Enhanced curb appeal/aesthetics – can attract more traffic/commercial interest
  • Environmental Benefits
    • Storm water management – less run-off; less impact/strain on drainage systems
    • Healthier living or work settings – green roofing keeps temperatures moderate
    • Improved air quality and lower temperatures, notably in major urban centres
    • Better use of existing space, e.g.: recreation, urban agriculture, restaurants
    • Increased biodiversity – roofs sustain a variety of plant life; offer a bird habitat
    • Noise reduction – green roofing can also serve as a sound barrier

A testament to the overall value of green roofing can be seen in an action taken by the City of Toronto a few years ago. In January 2010, the city enacted a by-law mandating the incorporation of green roofs on any new structures with a floor area of 2000 square meters or more. With a few exceptions, the roof space that must be dedicated to green roofing ranges from 20% to 60% based on the overall size of the building, and includes the following types of structures:

  • Commercial properties
  • Institutional facilities
  • Residential (greater than five stories)
  • Industrial buildings

More recently, the city extended its green roofing initiative through an incentive for the creation of green space within flat roofs not affected by/subject to the original by-law.

Through this extension, green roofing projects for commercial buildings and the other types of identified structures may be eligible for funding of $75.00 per square meter, up to a maximum benefit of $100,000.

Whether mandated or by choice, implementation of green roofing is a more elaborate process than might be foreseen, especially for commercial properties that need or want to maintain normal operations during the construction period. For this reason, property owners/managers would be well-served by experts in both flat roofing and installation of green roofs, such as the team from Avenue Road Roofing.

Converting Commercial Roofs To Green Space Needs Experienced Professionals

When the decision is made to convert flat roofs into green roofing, there are many factors that need to be considered in addition to the ultimate look of that new green space. Our roofing contractors can provide valuable insight on the design of the roof and expert workmanship in its construction.

The specific services offered by Avenue Road Roofing can include:

  • Engineering
    • Determining the appropriate percentage of green roofing
    • Assessing/addressing structural (weight) capacity
    • Assessing/addressing state of the existing roof materials
  • Construction
    • Removal of the current roof
    • Installation of waterproof membrane/new roof material
    • Incorporation of an adequate drainage system
    • Safety considerations/precautions (during normal operations)
    • Rooftop lighting and other options
    • Rooftop lighting and other options

If you are interested in converting your flat roofing into green space and potentially taking advantage of Toronto’s associated incentive plan, call the experts at Avenue Road Roofing today at 416-785-5129 to learn more about the benefits and the process of installing these types of roofs.