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What are Green Roofs?


Rooftop garden
Yuji Kotani/Taxi Japan/Getty Images
Question: What are Green Roofs?
Answer: Basically, green roofs (also called “eco-roofs” or “planted roofs”) are rooftop gardens, parks or meadows that carry a host of environmental and economic benefits.

By using soil and plants on rooftops in place of hard, impenetrable roofing materials, city governments, developers or individual homeowners can:

  • Double or triple the life of the roof
  • Add insulation to the building
  • Reduce stormwater runoff
  • Cool the surrounding air and lessen the heat-island effect in urban areas
  • Reduce air pollution
  • Capture carbon dioxide to help reduce global warming
  • Mitigate noise and glare
  • Create new habitat for birds and other wildlife
Some green roofs are accessible to the public and function as small parks, providing workers and city residents with urban oases that may feature beautiful wildflowers and spectacular views.

An increasing number of cities are offering incentives to encourage homeowners, developers and local businesses to install green roofs on new and existing buildings.

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