Blog / Irrigation Systems / Types of green roof irrigation systems and their organization

Types of green roof irrigation systems and their organization

Rooftop irrigation systems
6 mins read |

Environmental campaigns and even considerations are uplifting the use of green roofs. As opposed to hard construction materials such as tiles, green roofs are known to more importantly lower the rainwater run-off hence lowering flood problems. Complex rooftop irrigation systems are capable of holding up to about 90% of the rainwater and also even the thinnest complex green roof system holds up to 40% of the rainwater.

Alongside that, the remaining 60% of the rainwater is more likely to run off rather slowly as compared to when on a conventional roof. Green roofs are also known to offer important cover in lowering heat transfers and even reduction of noise.

Besides increasing diversity, offering a habitat for both the animals and even plants, all green roofs are most likely to heighten air quality by filtering airborne dust particles and even other pollutants. All green roof design is simply the compromise of offering both the plants and grass adequate soil to thrive unattended and also ensuring the roof weight is down.

Since the soil possesses a high density, the price for making roof structures goes up based on the more depth of soil needed. With that in place, several designs are more likely to embrace the use of the minimum amount of soil and even special mixes involving compost to lower the weight.

From a horticultural point of view, a shallow depth and the exposed aspect make the soil dry up very fast resulting to plant stress and even failure. Types of green roof irrigation systems and their organization. There are only two basic types of green roof design.

Intensive roof systems

This kind of system is always used where an accessible garden environment is needed. Structures that include water features, planters, benching, and also trees are all included in this design.

Here, the soil depth is always deeper making it a necessity for the roof structure to be stronger to withstand the extra weight. Again, complete maintenance is needed with this kind of design since a more varied plant type is always used.

Types of green roof irrigation systems

Extensive roof systems

This is always initiated whenever the environmental benefits of a green roof are needed. Sedums that are also known as low growing drought resistible plants are pre-sewn into a blanket are always used more so due to their high tolerance and also their lightweight construction.

Alongside all that, they also need slight maintenance hence are seen to be cheap when it comes to maintenance.

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Irrigation methods

These will always depend based on the application among other aspects; however, there are two main types. They include:

1. Sprinklers

They are always used in intensive roof systems. When the roof depths are extremely shallow, supply pipework is placed on the gravel margin or even on raised beds across all the edges found in the lawn.

The ancient lawn-based sprinklers of the pop-up kind are always situated around the outer perimeter in the grass area, spraying all the way to the lawn area. These kinds of sprinklers are known to have amazing coverage and can also be used to spray the grass on their earlier days when laid.

As for the lawns that have greater soil depth, the pop-up sprinklers can be perfectly placed into the lawn area, and they will then work in the same way as sprinklers in an ancient lawn.

2. Driplines

For extensive green roofs, they are always equipped with a dripline system that directly targets the root zone. You also need to be aware that it should not be installed when the green roof is being installed.

A special dripline is always used, where it is made to move all the way to the root zone – and also several ordinary drip pipes will always clog when used to perform such kinds of operations. Original individual drippers also come along with a compensation device built to ensure that, even if the roof elevates, each of the drippers is capable of offering a similar amount of water.

Driplines are also laid below the soil surface at the root level. Based on application, driplines are laid along the roof in lines that have 300 to 400m intervals. As for the Sedum blankets, two lines of dripline are always the only requirements for wetting the capillary kind of matting and not the sedums – one above the slope and also another one halfway down.

For intensive roof gardens that planters or even shrub borders are placed, they all have to be dealt with using the driplines that are placed on the surface (usually beneath mulch) of the bed. When it happens that there are pots and even urns in the roof area, they can be watered through individual drippers found in each of the pots.

3. Pressurization and control units

Due to the irrigation location such as high level, a pressurized water supply will be needed so that water can be evenly distributed. Water regulations always need a kind of ‘A’ air brake on all of the irrigation systems. That can be derived from a compatible pressurized supply within a given building or even a dedicated built pressurization unit.

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The latter is always pre-assembled and also has a built-in water storage tank equipped with an air gap, controller, and also pressure pump. This unit is always situated in a pump room at a lower level. Copper or MDPE pipework is always moved from its location all the way to the roof level.

All that is needed here is a mains water and 230v power supply as an additional requirement. The controller can always be programmed to conduct the irrigation automatically either daily, or even weekly for a certain period of time and it can also be manually operated whenever a need be.

The extra sensor can also be placed whenever needed – this will simply reduce or even prevent watering whenever it rains.

A few tips for creating a green rooftop irrigation system

Below is a list and descriptions of some of the tips or considerations that you need to keep in mind when creating a green roof irrigation system:

Weight considerations

You need to rest assured that all of the things that you have built on your roof are perfectly supported. To do avoid problems from this, you need to prevent concentrating much of the weight on small areas through the use of wood and even PVC frames that are capable of spreading the weight across a larger area.

Be informed that when you fail to enforce proper support, there are higher chances of your roof leaking or even collapsing leading to an expensive fix the damage.

When to water

Regardless of the mechanism that you use, there is always a given time for watering. You need to know that no matter what, you should not water your plants in the middle of the day since it will only make them wilt or even burn.

Tips for creating a green roof irrigation system

The best time that you may adopt for watering your plants is usually 3 hours immediately after the sunrise and also 3 hours before the sunset. When you stay in areas that are very dry, then, the best time for watering your plants needs to be during the evening since it offers plants and the soil adequate time to absorb the water before it evaporates.

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Homemade irrigation

You can always choose to use the rolled tubing to build a simple irrigation system. You can also channel the drainage to a central recycling vessel where it is strained and then pumped back to the plants.

Debris that is sifted can also be evenly distributed above the rooftop garden. Embrace a cheaper pump to bring about water distribution, and also set it on a common wall timer.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to make rooftop lawn?

To create a rooftop lawn, follow these steps:

  • Check the structural integrity: Ensure that your rooftop can support the weight of a lawn. Consult with a structural engineer if needed.
  • Install a waterproof membrane: Apply a waterproof layer to prevent water leakage into the building. This is crucial to protect the structure.
  • Build a drainage system: Install a proper drainage system to prevent water pooling. Use drainage mats, perforated pipes, and a waterproofing membrane to facilitate water runoff.
  • Choose appropriate soil and grass: Select lightweight soil or soilless media that promotes drainage. Choose grass varieties suitable for rooftop conditions, such as drought-tolerant and low-maintenance species.

Remember to consider local regulations, seek professional advice, and maintain the lawn regularly to ensure its longevity and health.

2. Do roof sprinklers work?

Roof sprinklers can be effective in certain situations. They can help cool the roof surface and reduce the risk of fire spreading in wildfire-prone areas. Roof sprinklers work by wetting the roof and surrounding areas, creating a moisture barrier.

However, their effectiveness depends on factors such as water availability, system design, and maintenance. It’s important to consult with fire experts and local authorities to determine if roof sprinklers are appropriate and effective for your specific location and circumstances.

Regular testing and maintenance are crucial to ensure their functionality when needed.

3. What is the necessity of irrigation?

Irrigation is necessary for plant health, agriculture, and landscape maintenance. It provides a reliable water supply during dry periods, promoting optimal growth.

It enables crop cultivation in regions with limited rainfall, increasing food production. Additionally, irrigation keeps lawns and gardens hydrated, preventing wilting and maintaining attractive outdoor spaces.

Irrigation Systems
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