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How to Convince a Client Their Building Needs a Green Roof

23 Nov 2019

Green Roof Building Benefits Advice

As an architect, you have studied the different ways you can make a building more efficient. But when it comes time to explain your design to a client, it can be difficult to convince them of the benefits of eco-friendly design.

Smart thermostats and lighting, recycling, and efficient use of water are all usually easy sales because they are fairly straightforward, data-driven, or have been commonplace for a while. However, the benefits of plant power are more difficult to prove and explain.

Many new buildings are taking advantage of plants to make buildings more efficient, whether they’re placed on the roof or the facade of the building. If you’re considering adding a green roof to your building, here are a few of the benefits that you can use when you’re pitching the idea.

8 Benefits of Green Roofing

1. Improve Insulation & Save on Energy Costs

Heating and cooling systems are the number one energy consumers in most buildings. If you can keep more of that hot and cold air in the building, that saves you money on gas and electricity.

Green roofs help make sure that expensive hot and cold air stays inside. Heat naturally rises, so it’s beneficial to have that extra layer of insulation on top of the building. And cold air will have a harder time making its way in with a layer of soil and plant life to get through.

2. Protect Your Roof From Water Damage

Water will damage your roof and create exit and entry points for air. Adding plants to your roof protects it by absorbing some of that water. Much of the excess can also sit in the soil rather than on your roof.

It also reduces groundwater, cutting down on flooding and relieving sewer systems. This is one of the reasons you can get tax incentives for choosing a green roof.

3. Add Noise Proofing

It’s noisy in the city, and if your office is at the very top of the building, there aren’t any extra layers protecting you from outside noise from above. A green roof acts as soundproofing for an executive suite.

If you want the space to be a quiet haven where your clients can focus, a green roof will help drown out all the noise. If they want a great view of the city, there’s not much you can do about noise from around the building, but this at least covers the space above.

4. Clean the Air

Plants consume CO2 and release oxygen, the opposite of animals and fossil fuels. As you remove plants from a city, CO2 levels increase.

Green roofs have become popular in cities partly because cities need more plant life to offset high energy consumption. This is also the main reason the government gives tax incentives to building owners who choose to install green roofs.

5. Cool Off the City

Another benefit for the city is that green roofs can lower the temperature if they are installed on enough buildings. A lot of buildings need to participate for there to be a noticeable effect, but it is another reason to get everyone on board.

Concrete, asphalt, and metal surfaces get very hot and increase the temperature of their surroundings. Cutting down on these materials and replacing them with plant life can help create balance.

6. Create Jobs

Someone is going to have to take care of the new space on your roof. That’s a new job that didn’t exist before. Most roofs are never visited and can be left alone until there is a problem, but a green roof can’t.

Without proper maintenance, a green roof can either become a jungle or die. Plants need proper watering and trimming, and they will need nutritional supplements because soil on a roof is nowhere near as deep and interconnected as soil on the ground.

The garden will also attract local insects and birds, and they will need to be managed. This brings us to the next benefit.

7. Help Local Wildlife

Critters aren’t all bad. Honey bee populations are diminishing, and giving them a flower garden that’s far away from many predators gives them a safe place to feed and nest. They can also make their way around the city and pollinate other plant life.

Other insects will show up as well, and that will attract birds. This will be a safe place for them to live as well. If you’d like to try to keep them to a certain area, you can add bird feeders and baths to keep them occupied.

That way, you can watch them from a distance, and they will be less likely to bother anyone spending time enjoying the space.

8. Grow Food, Relax, and Entertain

Speaking of enjoying the space, having a community garden on the roof can increase team bonds and provide a place to relax and unwind during a break. They’re also a great spot for an office party, weather permitting.

Pair a rooftop deck with your garden to make it more comfortable. Just make sure it doesn’t take up too much space. There needs to be as many plants as possible to optimize efficiency.

Add a deck with just enough space for some tables and chairs. Then you can add stone paths through the garden that lead to the deck. Place potted plants on the deck and use renewable materials to make up for using the space for this purpose.

Increase a Building’s Value with a Green Roof

All of these benefits together add up to increased value. When your client chooses to sell their building, you will be able to get more money for it because you’ve added this feature.

The main piece that will add value is the savings in energy costs. The more you can save, the more value you will add. An entertaining space can also raise the value. However, make sure you don’t cut too much into the energy savings.

What green projects are you working on right now? Let us know in the comments below!

Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beach-goer operating out of Southern New Jersey. She works with Superior Deck and Fence, a deck builder in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Jennifer Bell New Jersey USA author of How to Convince a Client Their Building Needs Green Roof

Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey

Comments on this guide to How to Convince a Client Their Building Needs a Green Roof advice article are welcome.

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