Frequently Asked Questions

Got stuck with some questions about green roofing? We hope to be able to give you a clear answer through our FAQ section. If you still can’t find your answer on this page, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be happy to help!

What is a green roof?

Green roofs are multi-layered performance-driven systems that utilize plants, herbs, and vegetation to perform a range of functional and aesthetic purposes.

What are the different types of green roofs?

The three main types of green roofs are extensive, intensive, and hybrid (also known as semi-intensive green roofs). Extensive green roofs are 1-6 inch performance-driven systems. Intensive green roofs are over 6 inch systems that are designed for both performance and aesthetic purposes. Hybrid systems combine elements of both.

Benefits of having a green roof system

Green roofs have been proven to contribute to an overall cleaner environment while minimizing costs and energy usage. Numerous studies reveal the impact of green roofs. NASA research highlighted that green roofs significantly improve stormwater management. The study revealed that on average, green roofs absorbed 80% of rainfall. According to the research, a 4”-6” deep green roof can hold approximately a gallon of water per square foot of roof space, enabling a typical 4″-6’’ green roof to retain/manage a high percentage of all rainfall.


According to research conducted in 2011 by the General Services Administration (GSA), on a national level, a dollar invested in a green roof suggests a return of $1.29.  If carbon and particulate matter absorption and community benefits were added in, that same dollar invested would result in a $3.19 return. Refer to other economic and environmental benefits below.


Economic Benefits

  • Increase in property value up 30%
  • Extended roof life 2-3x
  • Lower energy costs
  • Tax and regulatory incentives
  • Increase rental demand
  • Improve the efficiency of roof mechanical equipment such as HVAC units
  • Increases solar panel efficiency


Environmental Benefits

  • Improved air quality
  • Reduce building energy usage
  • Improved stormwater management
  • Habitat reestablishment
  • Improved health
  • Reduced urban heat
  • Insulates the building
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Increase Biodiversity


For further information, we have attached several studies that outline the benefits of green roofs in greater detail.



How long will a green roof last?

Green roofs are expected to last two to three times as long as conventional roofs — this extends the life of a roof to over 50 years. The average roof needs to be replaced every 15 years. Green roofs prevent UV degradation on roofs which extends the life of the membrane.

How much does a green roof weigh?

Green roofs vary in weight, depending on the type of green roof and vegetation used. Typically, an extensive green roof will weigh between 15 and 30 pounds per square foot while an intensive roof can weigh between 50-500 pounds per square foot. A hybrid or semi-intensive green roof usually ranges from 30-50 pounds. This is why understanding the load capacity of your roof is important when deciding what green roof to install.

What products and services does Adaptive Green offer?

Adaptive Green offers a full range of services including consultation, design, installation, and maintenance. We specialize in green roofs, green walls, solar, and sustainable water management systems such as stormwater and greywater.

What sets Adaptive Green apart from competitors?

Adaptive Green is a leader in the green roof industry, having designed and installed over half a million square feet of sustainable roofs. Our proprietary technology is designed to intelligently manage water storage, runoff, filtration, and climate change adaptation. We utilize cutting-edge building technology to maximize livability, building performance, and environmental outcomes.

As a Benefit Corporation, we are committed to having a positive impact on society by bringing dependability, efficiency, creativity, passion, and attention to detail to every project we execute.

Are there any incentives and grants for green roofs?

Yes, many incentive opportunities exist within local, state, and federal governments, as well as organizations and city programs. Grants such as the New York City Department of Environmental Protection Green Infrastructure grant that will fully reimburse a green roof installation, the New York State Property Tax Abatement, and Washington DC District Department of Energy and Environment (DDOE) subsidy. Adaptive Green can handle many of the grant submission components, having won multiple grants for our clients.

What are the benefits of having both an integrated solar photovoltaic system and a green roof?

A study at the University of Illinois concluded that the combination of solar panels and a green roof resulted in the maximization of the environmental benefits while minimizing the costs. The study indicated that the payback period of installing both solar panels and a green roof was around 6 times faster than the payback period of just a green roof. Environmental benefits included an increase in the plant diversity of a green roof, a decrease of maintenance needed for the solar panels, and the green roofs providing a more suitable climate and temperature for solar panels to function.

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How do I maintain my green roof?

Caring for your green roof after installation is essential to maintaining longevity. While it is possible to maintain your green roof yourself, Adaptive Green makes it easy for you. We offer long-term maintenance and warranty solutions for all products including green roofs, green walls, solar panels, and sustainable stormwater management systems.

How much do these products approximately cost?

Green roofs: $15-45 per square foot (SF)
Solar panels: $35-55 per SF
Green walls: $75-200 per SF
Greywater and stormwater management systems: $2-6 per SF
Maintenance: $0.15 to $1.50 per SF, annually

Note: These prices are approximated, prices can vary depending on a range of factors.

Can green roofs be installed on an existing roof?

Yes, green roofs can be installed on existing roofs if the roofs match certain structural requirements such as roof load capacity and waterproof membrane condition.

What information about my roof do I need to know before inquiring into a green roof?

Before inquiring about a green roof, it is good to know the materials, slope, and load-bearing capacity of the roof. Other additional information regarding the drainage systems, electrical systems, waterproofing, and water systems will also be required later in the process. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have regarding the features of your roof.

Can I choose my plants and the design of my green roof?

You can choose from a range of different plants and designs depending on the type of green roof you wish to install. Depending on factors such as climate, roof bearing capacity, slope, height, budget, and irrigation system, there will be a range of available plants and styles for clients to choose from. We offer consultation to advise which plants will fit best the individual needs of each customer.

Can I walk on my green roof?

Although it can depend on the selection of plant life, usually the answer is yes. While regular walking is not advisable, occasional walking is perfectly fine assuming that vegetation is not frozen or damaged.

Can green roofs be placed on any roof material?

Assuming that the roof satisfies certain requirements such as the age of the roof, green roofs can be installed above most roof materials. Some roofing membranes such as modified bitumen may require additional protection layers.

What happens if there is a roof leak?

If the leak is detected prior to the installation of a green roof, it is important that it be taken care of before installation. If a leak occurs after the green roof is installed, Adaptive Green works with your membrane manufacturer to patch and replace any sections of the roof that need to be repaired. Systems such as Electronic Vector Field Mapping (EVFM) can actively monitor your membrane and help pinpoint the location of a leak. Green roofs inherently help prevent leaks by reducing the amount of time resting water sits on your roof.

Can green roofs handle every season?

Yes, as long as a green roof is properly maintained, it is designed to withstand every season. Green roofs are capable of surviving both the extreme northern winters and intense southern summers.

Are there warranties and satisfaction guarantees on my roof?

At Adaptive Green, we do everything we can to ensure successful installation for our clients. Adaptive Green provides a full system manufactured warranty on all components as well as a workmanship and plant warranty. Plant warranties are contingent on an Adaptive Green or approved-alternative maintenance program. We pride ourselves on our transparency, so please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

If I am interested in having green building components, what is the first thing I should do?

If you have any interest in green roofs or any other green building component, get in contact with us by either calling (844) 868-9883 or emailing Our friendly and helpful staff are always happy to talk about green building options and opportunities. Whether you end up using our services or not, we encourage you to reach out with any questions or inquiries. While we are dedicated to providing green building components, we are equally committed to green building educational services. After speaking with us, we can begin looking into assessing your current roof and exploring potential designs.