Does Anyone Know How To Build a “Green Roof”?

I just read a study by Generate Insight about people’s perceptions of the term “green.” There is a lot of good news in the study, but “green” is still perceived as a confusing goal that’s hard to achieve. Maybe that’s because it often is! For example, I am now in the process of trying to build a green roof on a chicken coop. I have a great builder (he built my eco house). But we’ve been down this road before. We are often the first people in our area to try something new. We built the first home solar photovoltaic system that our local power company had to connect to. It took them 3 months (during the sunniest time of the year) to inspect it because they had to read the manual first. Honestly, being a pioneer is challenging and sometimes frustrating. So the coop is out there right now awaiting a roof…and we are still confused.

Top Green Picks

There are tons of articles and books on how to build a green roof. Lots of websites dedicated to green roofing and people talking about green roofs—but when the rubber meets the…roof…it’s hard to do! There is no section in Home Depot yet that is labeled “Green Roofing.” We don’t want to use premade green roof tiles, which are more appropriate for large projects like city high-rises. We have fairly good illustrations that show what to do, but the actual materials are not specifically defined (or spec’d, as we like to say), and there are no tried-and-true, step-by-step instructions. It’s as if everyone wants to build green roofs, but no one really knows how.

New report says simple actions done at home really can have a big impact on the environment, and your budget.

And all the best pictures are from houses in Europe. When my daughter and I went to Iceland, we saw beautiful ancient houses with grassy roofs. I guess they didn’t go to Home Depot either. So maybe it’s not as hard as we think. There are a lot of things that seem really hard until you do them (making tomato sauce from scratch, for example). Then there are the things that don’t seem that hard but really are (like having kids!).

Here’s a New and Improved Tomato Sauce Recipe (from Scratch)

If any of you have any tips or solid resources for building a green roof from scratch (sans prefab tiles)—or have done it before and can tell us what to do, I’d really appreciate it! Thanks! You all are the greatest.


Johnso R.
Past Member about a year ago

Hey nice post man! Thanks for incredible info. roof cleaning port st lucie

Ashlyine B.
Ashlyine B.4 years ago

How fine of you!!!! Really awesome efforts you have shown.
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Laura M.
Past Member 5 years ago

Best of luck.

KS Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Sue H.
Sue H5 years ago

Hope your efforts come to be.

Juliet Defarge
judith sanders5 years ago

Many modern homes are not sturdy enough to carry the extra weight of a sod roof. You can still save energy by painting your roof with one of the thermal-reflective paints now available, even at large hardware stores.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago


Janine H.
Janine H6 years ago

Thank you

Angie Sanchez
Angelica Sanchez6 years ago

RAFTERS ONE FOOT APART, 1/8X6 hardwood planks between rafters. Roof is almost plat about a one inch drop. THE sod is sediment from the bottom of a lake or river Then you add more sediment every year or two depending on rain fall in your area. GOOD LUCK!

Angie Sanchez
Angelica Sanchez6 years ago

There are many ways to make a "green roof" WHAT you want to do is look around your surroundings and see what you have and use materials you aready have have perhaps old solar panels, tin, etc. THE perfect green roof is your rafters should be 2 feet apart then you have very thin 4x or 6x about 1/4 inch this or thinner hardwoods, between the rafters THEN you find soil from the bottom of a pond (sediment) let dry almost completely place it on the roof then add water to allow it to settle well. Those were the original SOD ROOFS but your roof has to be almost flat only with a 1/4 drop or so as to allow your soil to stay on your roof EVERY two or tree years you add more soil to the roof ( Or sooner depending on the rain fall in your area. My grandmothers house was like that and it was built in 1850 and it lasted until 1980 when my grandma died and the family abandoned the house. LET US BUY ONLY WHAT WE NEED! consumerism is one of our solvable problems.