Saint Paul Student Center Green Roof

The Costs of Green Roofs

January 12, 2017

By Jake Thering - Now that we have covered the benefits that coincide with green roofs, it is important to turn to one of the most important factors in deciding if a green roof should be installed: cost. Cost is always a factor in choosing whether or not to invest in an environmentally friendly process, and often times, people only look at the short term costs, without looking at the long term cost reductions that can be gained from installing an eco-friendlier process. 

One downside to green roofs is that the upfront cost of a green roof is greater than that of a conventional roof. In a study done by the University of Michigan, they compared the costs of the two types of roofs for a 21,000 square foot roof. From that study, they concluded that the green roof would cost $464,000, whereas a conventional roof would only cost $335,000. However, those researchers did determine that the green roof would save an additional $200,000 over its lifetime. 

To further illustrate, the Environmental Protection Agency has made an estimation for the costs of green roofs.  They estimate that extensive green roof systems cost about $10 per square foot and intensive systems cost around $25 per square foot. They also estimated that annual maintenance costs of the two systems can range from 75 cents to $1.50 per square foot. 

If looking for a more case by case estimation of costs, GreenRoofBlocks.com has a green roof price calculator. This allows for interested parties to input the desired characteristics of their potential green roof to get an initial understanding of the cost of their particular installation. 

The costs of green roof installation may be cheaper than first expected. When compared to conventional, the initial cost is a bit more expensive, but the savings in the long run make it a very  appealing option.