Vegetated roofs (also known as green roofs, living roofs or ecoroofs) are alternative roof surfaces that typically consist of waterproofing and drainage materials and an engineered growing media that is designed to support plant growth. Vegetated roofs capture and temporarily store stormwater runoff in the growing media before it is conveyed into the storm drain system. A portion of the captured stormwater evaporates or is taken up by plants, which helps reduce runoff volumes, peak runoff rates, and pollutant loads on development sites.
There are two different types of vegetated roof systems: intensive vegetated roofs and extensive vegetated roofs. Intensive systems have a deeper growing media layer that ranges from 6 inches to 4 feet thick, which is planted with a wider variety of plants, including trees. By contrast, extensive systems typically have much shallower growing media (2 to 6 inches), which is planted with carefully selected drought tolerant vegetation. Extensive vegetated roofs are much lighter and less expensive than intensive vegetated roofs and are recommended for use on most development and redevelopment sites.