Green Roofs, what are they and are the worthwhile?

  • September 2023
  • Kieron Peaty

Green roofs are not just visually appealing, they also offer environmental, economic, and lifestyle benefits too, so it's not surprising that many homeowners are looking to incorporate them into the designs for their home. In this blog post, we'll look at the advantages of having a green roof on your home extension as well as the different types of green roof available.

Fraher Findlay wildflower roof
A wildflower roof @ Courtyard House by Fraher Findlay

Environmental Benefits

Air pollution has been a hot topic in recent times with policy changes such as the ULEZ expansion but did you know that green roofs act as natural air filters, removing harmful pollutants and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This helps improve air quality, especially in urban areas where pollution is a concern.

Green roofs also provide habitats for birds, insects, and other wildlife to thrive, thereby contributing to local biodiversity, which can help to create healthier and more balanced ecosystems.

Urban areas can become "heat islands" with higher temperatures due to concrete and asphalt. Green roofs help combat this effect by absorbing and releasing heat, resulting in a cooler and more comfortable living environment.

Energy Efficiency

Green roofs act as excellent insulation, reducing heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. This can lead to significant energy savings on heating and cooling bills.

Temperature Regulation: By moderating the temperature on the roof surface, green roofs reduce the need for air conditioning during hot summers, contributing to a lower carbon footprint.

Stormwater Management

Reduced Runoff: Green roofs absorb rainwater, reducing the volume of stormwater runoff and the risk of flooding in urban areas. This eases the burden on local drainage systems and minimizes the risk of sewer overflows.

Water Quality Improvement: Rainwater absorbed by green roofs is naturally filtered, leading to improved water quality in local rivers and streams. This benefits the overall ecosystem and helps protect aquatic life.

Extended Roof Lifespan: The vegetation layer on green roofs acts as a protective barrier

The protective layer of vegetation on green roofs shields the waterproofing membrane from UV rays and extreme temperatures, prolonging the life of the roof.

Stormwater Management

Reduced Flooding: Green roofs absorb rainwater, preventing excess runoff and reducing the risk of flooding during heavy rainfall, a growing concern in the UK due to climate change.

Water Quality Improvement: The vegetation on green roofs filters rainwater, improving its quality before it enters the drainage system, reducing the burden on wastewater treatment plants.

Aesthetic and Health Benefits

Natural Beauty: Green roofs enhance the visual appeal of homes, contributing to a sense of well-being and tranquility. They can also increase property values.

Noise Reduction: The vegetation and substrate on green roofs provide sound insulation, reducing noise pollution from external sources, such as traffic.

Stress Reduction: Studies have shown that exposure to green spaces can reduce stress and improve mental health, making green roofs a valuable addition to urban homes.

Planning and Regulatory Advantages

Planning Permission: In some cases, installing a green roof can make it easier to obtain planning permission, especially in conservation areas or for larger home extensions.

Compliance with Environmental Standards: Green roofs align with sustainability and environmental standards, which are becoming increasingly important in building regulations.


The benefits of having a green roof on a home extension in the UK are numerous and far-reaching. From environmental advantages such as improved air quality and carbon sequestration to energy efficiency and stormwater management benefits, green roofs offer a sustainable solution for homeowners. Additionally, the aesthetic, health, and regulatory advantages make them a compelling choice for those looking to upgrade their homes while contributing to a greener future.

As the UK continues to grapple with climate change and urbanization, green roofs represent a small but significant step towards creating more sustainable, resilient, and pleasant living spaces for all. Consider the many advantages of green roofs when planning your home extension, and you'll be making a positive impact on both your property and the environment.

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