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dont forget about sprucing up virginia and marylands green roofs in spring richmond vaAs the weeks pass by, it can be easy to forget about that green roof you had installed at the start of last year. However, it wouldn’t be wise to do so. Like all forms of landscaping, green roofs need attention in the springtime too. For example, the beds may be full of dead vegetation and compact soil in desperate need of aeration. It may also be time to add new plants and make soil amendments or replace that rain sensor disk.

Many of our in-house experts like to perform a soil test before taking care of those amendments and plantings we mentioned earlier. It helps to ensure that the green roof’s vegetation will have a fighting chance to survive another rough summer or last until fall. Spring is also the ideal time to head up on to the roof and perform an inspection of the plants that remain. It’s a great way to root out any plants that didn’t make it through seasonal dormancy without sustaining damage.

If you’re looking forward to having a green roof that’s bursting with color, spring is an excellent time to add more sedums. They tend to thrive in rooftop environments and produce a variety of colors in time for summer. Some of the sedums, like the blue spruce, Dragon’s blood, kamtschaticum and immergrunchen will stay colorful all year. That’s one of the primary reasons Virginia and Maryland property owners like to add them to their green roofs. Obviously, there are other plants that could be added to a green roof’s beds at this time of year too.

To have a team of professionals tend to your property’s green roof this spring, please contact us at Chapel Valley Landscaping Company. Our customized maintenance plans cover everything from in-house irrigation, soil conditioning and stabilization to plant selection. Commercial and residential clients are welcome.

3d96f785-0241-400e-822d-4a7ba0db3682Did you know that:

  • Green roofs can decrease energy use in the winter months by 10 percent?
  • In the summer, the temperature on a green roof can be as much as 59 degrees cooler than other roofs?

Wow, that hopefully got your attention, it did ours. When we learned that information, we knew we needed to start talking about green roofs.

What is a green roof? A green roof is a roof or part of a roof that is covered with plants. 

Please don't stop reading! We aren't talking about burying a building in the ground. We are talking about putting a waterproof membrane on top of a building and strategically placing plants.

For example, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has a flat roof. On top of that roof is a walkway through some fantastic gardens of flowers and other perennial plants. 

The green roof accomplishes several things:

  • Workers have a place to walk and rejuvenate themselves to continue working. Providing this type of space will enhance the workplace and will increase productivity.
  • Energy use is decreased.
  • The company is contributing to a cleaner environment by having plants instead of just asphalt on top of the building.

So, now that we all agree a green roof is a great addition to any building with a flat roof, there are a few other things we want to reassure you about.

1. If you are worried about plant roots damaging the roof and interior ceilings, don't worry. We will also add a root barrier and use plants that don't need a deep root system.

2. If you are wondering about who will water the plants, we will also talk with you about installing an irrigation system. The system will be your back up for when there isn't enough rain.

If you are as interested in green roofs as we are, please contact us and let's talk about the possibilities for your building.

the-benefits-of-green-roofs-columbia-mdGreen roofs have been gaining popularity in recent years as more people have become aware of the ecological benefits that these roofs can provide. However, many homeowners are still unaware of the many benefits of green roofs. Furthermore, many homeowners are skeptical that they can make a difference in their neighborhood by turning their roof into a green roof. The fact is, however, that there are many benefits that a single green roof can provide. Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should consider converting your roof to a green roof.

Improves Air Quality

Green roofing vegetation helps to filter out dust, smog, and CO2 out of the air. The plants on green roofs help to remove these harmful particles and elements from the air, and help to replace them with cleaner oxygen. While more homes with green roofs in your neighborhood would help to improve air quality in your town, even a single home having a green roof could help to remove harmful materials from the air.

Improves Noise Protection

It is well known that plants act as natural sound insulators, and it is for this reason that many individuals plant large plants and hedges around their home when they live near a highway and/or in a noisy neighborhood. For this reason, it should come as no surprise how beneficial green roofs can be in further improving a home’s noise insulation. Green roofs can be particularly helpful for homes that live under a flight path as the vegetation can help to keep out noise from the planes above.

Greener Construction

Green roofs can be further beneficial to the environment in that they often make use of recycled products and renewable resources in their construction. This helps to save valuable resources, and it helps to lessen the effect production of the products for these roofs have on the environment. This makes these roofs green in their construction as well as in their implementation.

Green roofs can be extremely beneficial for the environment in your local community. In fact, these are just a few of the many benefits that green roofs provide. Contact us to find out about more of the ways in which green roofs can help the environment as well as to find out about having your roof converted into a green roof.

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039e11d0-fd16-4f1d-fe38-dd537f7afe56Most people consider a green roof a topper using sustainable materials. In actuality, green roofs are a span of living plants and grasses atop a house or commercial building. In a sea of bleak black, the green roof is a return to nature, a mitigating force for different species of birds and insects. Where man has built, birds, butterflies and insects have lost their habitat. Green roofs not only provide beauty, but they return to exiled species their rightful milieu.

Awareness of the unfortunate species isn’t only where green roofs stop. Awareness is being raised of their effect on greenhouse gases and pollution, their effect on the carbon footprint left by heat and cooling systems and their effect on the quality of life for inhabitants of a home topped by a green roof. Yes, the initial cost of laying the roof will be expensive, but the savings will be both immediate and substantial. Add to this the health benefits of a green roof, and homeowners with asthmatic family members will ask where to sign. But even this isn’t the rest of the story.

Water Quality

Plants filter pollutants from rainwater. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, says that green roofs return cleaner water to the storm runoff drains. Water crossing parking lots and roads contain oils and other chemicals. Water absorbed into the ground contains lawn fertilizers and other chemicals, pet waste and bacteria. All that flows into the stormwater drains. Some is filtered out, but sometimes the sheer volume of water can not only cause flooding and the destruction of natural habitats, but the pollutants can overpower the filtering process. The sum of these problems is the poisoning of water downstream in addition to natural habitats. Green roofs can help. 

Reduction of Heat Islands

The EPA describes a heat island as an area that is built-up or industrialized that is warmer than the countryside around it. A heat island can be one to five degrees warmer than its rural cousins. This means more air conditioning, more air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and heat-related diseases or illnesses. Green roofs cancel out heat absorbed into black asphalt roofs. There will be no need for more and more air conditioning, thereby reducing the heat island effect.

Is Your House Right for a Green Roof?

That will take an expert to tell you. For example, homes with flat roofs are perfect for green roofs. Obviously, commercial enterprises with flat roofs would work. Those homes, however, with a pitch of over 30 degrees will need an expert’s advice. A very real worry is if the structure will support a green roof. Most county building inspectors are structural engineers, and they can tell homeowners, often free of charge, what needs to be done. The components of a green roof are:

  • Weatherproof membrane. This seals the roof off from potential water damage.
  • Root protection barrier. This will be inorganic, due to its inability to rot and its inability to absorb plant roots.
  • Drainage layer. This prevents roof leaks and keeps the plants from drowning. It is also a major concern to the structure, because most drainage layers are made from pulverized brick, sand, clay or gravel.
  • Growing medium. On flatter roofs, this could encompass trees and bushes. On pitched roofs, this could include ground cover, grasses and flowers.

There is much to understand about a structure, from load to wood species. Before construction, the homeowner should also know how the square footage of the plants affects the roof. A do-it-yourselfer, if properly trained in carpentry, could pull off a green roof without it falling on top of him. Anyone else should seek the advice of a professional. Green roofs do so many good things for so many people.


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Green roofs are literally, the cool new thing in roofing technology.  Not only do you reduce your carbon footprint by installing one of these roof systems, but you actually keep your roof cool!  Many commercial buildings are using green roof systems to protect their roofs from sunlight, reducing toxins that may be contained in the run off from storm waters, decreasing emissions from heated roofing materials and of course, keeping their roofs cooler.

First, let's explore the definition of a cool roof system.  A cool roof system is usually made up of materials that will reflect the suns energy.  You could use a light colored paint, light colored roof tiles, single ply rubber membrane or light colored shingles.  You will find lots of white roofing in Bermuda for example where the sun can be brutal!

Green roofs consist of several layers, just like your typical garden bed. First there is a waterproof membrane.  To that you will need to add a drainage system, growing medium and of course, the plants!

There are two types of green roofs.  Extensive and intensive.  Extensive roofs use plants that will stand up to a drought or other extreme conditions.  These plants don't need a lot of attention or supplements.  Intensive green roofs are set up more like a garden or a park, where things are planted purposefully, and any type of plant may be used.  Can you guess which type is more expensive and needs more care?

According to the EPA, the three major benefits to a cool roof are:

1. Lower energy use.  There is less heat transferred from the roof to the home, therefore, you spend less energy and dollars cooling your quarters. (In a green roof, the plants absorb most of the sun's energy)

2. A cool roof reduces pollution and emissions by lowering energy use, (a green roof will also reduce your footprint by eliminating the potentially toxic off-gassing from heated roof materials.)

3. Health and comfort. This really can't be measured in dollars can it?  Looking back at the previous two points, reducing the air temperature, reducing the amount of time that you have to run an air conditioner, decreases the likelihood of heat related illness, and let's face it, reduce your stress when it comes to how much money you are spending to stay cool!

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