Rockefeller Centre Rooftop Gardens - Credit: David Shankbone

Roof gardens are trendy: They increase the living and leisure value, offer protection from wind and weather and also help to save energy. Read this article to find out what economic and environmental advantages a green roof also offers and what matters when planting.

Planted roofs are not just of architectural value, but they also save a great deal of money. The plants protect the roof structure and sealing from wind and weather. The maintenance costs are thus low. The sprouting vegetation on the fifth facade also serves as natural insulation and thus improves the thermal insulation. This added value was scientifically proven: In December, the heat losses of a planted test roof were a quarter lower than that of a conventional roof. In warm temperatures, the planted roof again served as natural air conditioning, since it prevents the underlying rooms from heating up.

In addition to these economic aspects, there are also environmental highlights, which make roof planting into a popular architectural solution. Planted roofs serve to recover vegetation areas in urban areas and offer habitats for insects and birds. A well thought-out green roof saves rainwater and returns it to the atmosphere via evaporation. Due to the higher air humidity and cooling, this thus provides a healthy microclimate. Plantings on residential and industrial buildings are also powerful CO2 binders.

Government subsidies: Green money

Municipalities have also recognized all of these advantages and are promoting the construction of planted roofs, such as the city of Hamburg. Already today, plants are growing on over 7,000 roofs in the Hanseatic city. To increase this statistic, the government is investing a total of three million euros of funding by 2019. Since 2014, it has been possible for property owners to apply for subsidies to build their green oases at airy heights. Owners of planted roofs are also relieved of the surface water drainage fees. Planted roofs absorb rainwater and thus relieve the load on sewage systems and clarification plants. In cities like Berlin, a euro per square meter per year can be saved in this way.

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