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The term “green roofs” has taken on several different meanings in recent years. At Sullivan Engineering, LLC we define green roofs as those roofs that contain vegetation, also known as vegetative roofs. The popularity of green roofs has risen in the United States over recent years as a result of several contributing factors:

  • A population that is becoming more concerned with our impact on the environment and the need for sustainable building practices.
  • Financial incentives, including tax rebates, that help mitigate the cost of green roof installation.
  • Technological advancements in the green roof industry that have improved performance and reduced installation costs.

Many green roof benefits have been observed and documented by industry organizations as well as research programs. These benefits can be classified into two basic categories, private and public. Private benefits have more of a positive impact on the building owner and occupants directly, while public benefits are those that impact the public at large more so than the building owner. The following is a summary of some of these benefits:


  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Protected roof membrane surfaceReduced noise pollution levels
  • Reduced electromagnetic radiation
  • New amenity spaces
  • Increased property value


  • Storm water mitigation
  • Improved water quality
  • Improved air quality
  • Reduced urban heat island effect
  • Improved aesthetic surroundings

If the waterproofing and drainage below the vegetation are not properly designed, the green roof may in fact do more harm than good. The intended use and expectations of the final product are critical factors in the design of the entire green roof system.

A vast array of systems are available depending on the Owner’s budget, intended use and roof deck load capacity. With one of North America’s first certified Green Roof Professionals as well as a LEED AP on staff combined with our expertise in roof consulting and structural engineering; Sullivan Engineering is uniquely qualified in green roof consulting.

Check out our Green Roofing projects here.