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Cubiertas vegetales SingularGreen
At SingularGreen, we have been designing and executing green roofs for years. From our extensive experience, we have developed different systems that adapt to different needs.
On this page, we will explain the main points to consider when defining a green roof and the essential layers (or, more accurately, the functions that must be included) in its composition.
Green roofs: types, benefits, and everything you need to know to make a green roof.
If you prefer, click on the part that interests you the most:
You can also see much of this information in the following video about green roofs.
What are green roofs?
A green roof is a system that allows vegetation to be planted on the roof of a building, whether it is walkable or not. Green roofs are also known as living roofs, eco-roofs, ecological roofs, or green roofs, and they involve conditioning the fifth facade with a system that allows planting on it.
The use of green roofs has multiple economic, environmental, and personal well-being benefits, including energy savings, increased thermal and acoustic insulation, increased biodiversity, and improved air quality.
At SingularGreen, we have developed different green roof systems that offer multiple possibilities for integrating vegetation on a building’s roof, from high-capacity cistern roofs that optimize water use and the building’s energy performance to ultra-lightweight systems that allow for greening any type of roof.
When classifying them, there are two large groups of green roofs:
Thickness up to 10-12 cm, low weight and small plants such as Sedum, turfgrasses, grasses, etc.
Thickness from 12-15 cm, high weight and plants with no size limitations.
This commonly accepted and well-known classification is suitable for cold climates but, at SingularGreen, we believe that it is not as suitable for warmer climates.
Take a look at some of our workCriteria that you should consider when designing green roofs
Criteria that you should consider when designing green roofs
If you are looking to make a green roof, according to our experience, the first thing you should decide on are two things:
If the green roof will be walkable or non-walkable
If you want a decorative green roof that improves the aesthetics of the building or if you are looking for a green roof that provides maximum ecological benefits
With these two questions we can correctly focus the project.
Deciding if it is going to be walkable or not is simple, however with the second point it is not so easy, since they are not completely opposite.
A decorative green roof will also have ecological benefits, just as a ecological roof can be beautiful.
In addition, you must take into account many other factors, but it is important to be clear about which of these two factors we prefer to move towards.
In a hot climate if we want our roof to be beautiful all year round we will have to water it and if we don’t, we must assume that it will not be beautiful.
Active ecological green roofs
Before starting to talk about the aspects to value when designing a green roof, we want to make a contribution in terms of ecological roofs.
When we talk about green roofs that provide ecological benefits, we must also take into account the existence of active green roofs.
Active green roofs are capable of generating these ecological benefits in homes by reducing the cost of electricity but increasing the cost of water.
From the ecological point of view, the carbon footprint produced to obtain electrical energy (which is used to cool our homes, offices) is greater than that produced to obtain water.
By this we mean that:
Spending electrical energy is almost 6 times more expensive and 6 times less sustainable than spending water.
Aspects to assess when designing a green roofs
Como ya hemos dicho a parte de tener claro si queremos una cubierta más ecológica o sobre todo buscamos estética, hay que tener en cuenta:
- The weather
- Its use
The use is another factor that will be decisive, because it is not the same to use a vegetable cover as a garden, where you are going to climb, you are going to plant things and you are going to do maintenance, to have a cover that you are never going to maintain.
Taking this premise into account and knowing if it can be accessed or not, we will decide if we put irrigation.
This decision marks completely different strategies.
The climate and rainfall will also define the plants that we are going to place.
Even so, as we have already mentioned, prior to all this, it is very important to know what we expect from the vegetal cover; whether we expect more of it to have a positive ecological impact or whether we expect it to be pretty.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT IN A GREEN ROOF
As you can see, choosing how to make a green roof requires prior decisions and each project will require specific conditions.
Our recommendation is to study each case individually.
For example, a large-capacity cistern roof can be proposed, which optimizes the use of water and the building’s energy performance, up to ultra-light systems that allow the landscaping of almost any type of roof and in any type of home.
For all this, at SingularGreen we have developed a wide variety of green roof systems, which allow the integration of vegetation in any type of building, as a way of improving the quality of life in cities.
What are the elements that make up a vegetal cover?
More than elements we are going to talk about functions.
Any green roof needs to have a series of layers with properties to work properly.
There are functions that can be grouped, that is, we can have a layer that fulfills three functions or four functions, but if the vegetation cover does not fulfill these functions, optimum activity will not be achieved.
FUNCTIONS THAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED:
- Waterproofing (must be anti-root and durable)
- Substrate Protection
The different layers can fulfill several functions at the same time.
When making a green roof, we will simply need to have the necessary layers for the chosen system, in the established order.
SingularGreen exclusive green roof systems
To satisfy the different options that we have seen throughout this article, we have organized our proposal into mainly 2 systems.
Each of these systems is personalized and adapted to each particular case (both due to climate and customer preferences)
Techo vegetal transitable con diferentes terminaciones
Very light non-passable green roof
What green roof services do we offer at SingularGreen?
We offer comprehensive advice on the most suitable roof for each project, along with the species.
We have a specialized team that works throughout the peninsula and beyond.
TECHNICAL SUPPORT MATERIAL: TECHNICAL SHEETS AND CONSTRUCTION DETAILS
In our technical download portal, you will find all the information related to the planning and realization of green roofs.
For this purpose, we make available to you both technical sheets and texts for technical reports that will help you in the elaboration of the work items.
To speed up the design process, you can also download graphic details in different file formats such as dwg, dxf or pdf.
WHY CHOOSE SINGULARGREEN TO DESIGN AND BUILD YOUR GREEN ROOF
Innovation and technique
Our systems are constantly evolving, researching, and developing.
We seek to provide solutions to the new challenges that society poses.
The key to the success of horizontal gardening systems is to select the appropriate system for the client’s needs.
This will guarantee that the maintenance and aesthetics achieved are what they were looking for.
In our work, we are committed to offering:
Unique design: we give each of our projects the exclusivity of a unique design.
Durability: through our services, we aim to integrate nature and architecture to achieve maximum environmental benefits, and this requires durability over time, so one of our concerns is to ensure this point.
What benefits do green roofs have?
Many people think that a vertical garden and a green roof provide the same benefits and have the same positive effect.
This is partly true, but there is one thing that mainly distinguishes a green roof from a vertical garden, and that is amortization.
THE AMORTIZATION IN A VEGETABLE ROOF
A roof and a vertical garden will have the same climate control effect, both will increase biodiversity, etc…, the difference is that a green roof (because of its location in the building) can be amortized much sooner.
In a vertical garden it is much more complicated to get the amortization because the initial cost is higher and so is the maintenance.
The amortization of the savings in air conditioning in a green roof can be easily achieved in 10 years and a vertical garden will need more time.
Other direct and indirect benefits of green roofs
- Greater energy efficiency. Green roofs have a lower thermal transmittance and greater thermal inertia than conventional roofs, which translates into greater insulation.
- They save money: They reduce the interior temperature of a building by up to 5 degrees in summer as well as maintaining it in winter, saving up to €500/m2 per year. (Akira Hoyano, professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology)
- They save water: Water consumption is balanced and optimized due to the accumulation and use of rainwater.
- Increased durability of the waterproofing membrane. 80% of conventional roofs present the first damages after 5 years, a green roof, with a correct choice of waterproofing and a good execution of the joints, has an almost endless useful life.
- They save space: It is not necessary to find spaces for the gardens, taking advantage of a previously existing space.
- They reduce the heat island effect of large cities (Professor Hiroyuki Yamada). The Urban Heat Island Effect (ICU) is the increase in the average ambient temperature in urban areas, which is produced by the replacement of natural vegetation by pavements, buildings and other structures designed to provide a habitat for the population.
- They enable unused urban spaces.
- Improvement of rainwater management. The use of green roofs reduces the flow of urban runoff, effectively contributing to solving the urban problem of flooding or submersion of populations.
- Use of recycled and recyclable elements: The drainage elements of the landscaped roofs are made of recycled materials, such as rubber and polyethylene, thus contributing to the preservation of raw materials.
- A 60 m2 roof carrying these systems filters 40 tons of harmful gases per year. (Wolverton et al. 1989)
- A 60 m2 roof carrying these systems is capable of trapping and processing 15 kg of heavy metals. (Darlington, 2001)
- Improves performance and reduces discomfort for people who have vegetation in their workplace. (Lohr et al. 1996; Bringslimark, et al. 2007)
- Noise reduction. Green roofs are excellent noise attenuators, especially at low frequencies. An extensive ceiling can reduce up to 40 dB, while an intensive ceiling can reduce up to 50 dB.
Do you want to learn MORE about green roofs?
At SingularGreen we offer online training in green roofs. If you want to access all the information on online training, click on the following image:
Frequently asked questions about green roofs
Which system is the most suitable for my home?
When planning a green roof, in addition to everything explained, we must also take into account the following points:
- Budget. Depending on the estimated cost, one system or another will be chosen.
- The load that the floor supports. If we have a low-strength slab, we will look for light solutions.
- The orientation. It is very important when choosing our vegetable finish
- The tilt. If we exceed certain degrees of inclination, additional drainage and ground support systems must be considered.
- Transportation of materials to the deck.
It is important to consider this point to choose systems that are easy to transport in case of complicated access.
At SingularGreen we will advise you on the best system or design tailor-made solutions for your case.
What care does a low maintenance cover have?
Sedum and succulent species that do not require any type of irrigation are often used in low-maintenance green roofs.
However, they can and usually are colonized by invasive species that do not guarantee the initial aesthetic finish. This is solved by annually removing these invasive species.
What use can I give to a vegetable cover?
A green roof is compatible with any type of activity, walks, sports, hospitality… we just have to combine, depending on the type of species, the green surfaces, with surfaces suitable for the existing activity.
How many years of useful life does a vegetal roof have?
In Germany, according to a report on building damage, it became clear that while 80% of flat roofs after 5 years built, show early damage.
A green roof, with a correct choice of waterproofing and a good execution of the joints, has an almost endless useful life.
With a green roof can water enter the house?
No, if a good execution of the waterproofing is carried out, with the correct materials.
We have to bear in mind that asphalt sheets, the most widely used waterproof products, are susceptible to being perforated by roots and generating moisture problems.
To avoid leaking problems, PVC or EPDM sheets must be installed and the joints made correctly.
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