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Auburn Roofing: Article About Commercial Applications For Living Roofs

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Living roofs, while prevalent in many areas of the world, have just recently become more widely used as a roofing option on urban commercial buildings in the United States. Living roof systems provide property owners many benefits and can be combined with other types of roofing materials to help owners save money and keep their environments greener. A certified Auburn roofing contractor can help property owners determine the cost effectiveness and environmental benefits available in their area.

There are three types of commercial living roofing applications: extensive, semi intensive and intensive. The type selected depends on a number of factors, including the amount of weight the decking can tolerate, the cost, the availability of irrigation and the amount of maintenance desired.

Extensive green roofs are the simplest, most maintenance free and least costly of the green roofing options. A living roof is classified as extensive if it weighs approximately 15 to 25 pounds per square foot, has a depth of less than 6 inches and is composed primarily of succulents, mosses, herbs and grasses. An extensive roofing system does not require an irrigation system, and is low maintenance. About 65 percent of the run off after a storm is used by the plant life, lightening the burden on the ground storm water management system.

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Additionally, the plant life acts as a UV protectant, which lengthens the life of the roofing system because it mitigates damages caused by the sun. A living roof can last up to 80 years, much longer than any other roofing material.

Semi intensive green roofs are a bit more expensive to install and to maintain, but they have added benefits. A semi intensive roof has a depth of 5 to 7 inches and weighs about 24 to 40 pounds per square foot. Plant life can include the same varieties as an extensive roof with the addition of small shrubs. The semi intensive roof offers the same benefits with the added bonus of providing a habitat for urban wildlife.

Fully intensive green roofs are quite a bit more costly to install and to maintain, but they provide the most benefit to the property owner. These roofing systems will require a continual irrigation source as well as ongoing maintenance, but have tremendous benefits to the owner and to the environment. These projects are typically large scale and can provide a park like setting for both people and wildlife to enjoy. There is a great deal more plant diversity, and some owners even install features like putting greens. An intensive roofing system requires a depth of anywhere from 7 to 24 or more inches and can weigh up to 80 pounds per square foot.

Any type of green roofing also helps mitigate the heat island effect. Larger roof installations have the greatest mitigating effect, but any greenery on the roof will help keep urban temperatures lower, thus lower cooling costs.

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