Installing a green roof is a great undertaking. This page is not intended to be a comprehensive green roof installation or maintenance manual. It is strongly advised to have a professional design-build consultant guide you through the design process, assist with procuring funding and permits, and safely install and maintain your green roof.

Before Installing a Green Roof



The height of the green roof, its exposure to wind, its orientation to the sun, and shading by surrounding buildings during all parts of the day. The area’s general climate and microclimate on the roof must also be considered.


Before adding a green roof, a structural engineer will need to analyze the building’s current weight-bearing capacity to determine if the roof can support a green roof system or if additional reinforcement is required. Also consider the size, slope, height and directional orientation of the roof.


Loading guide (saturated weights)
Extensive green roof: 12 to 30 lb/sqft
Intensive green roof: 40 to 102 lb/sqft

Project Goals & Intended Use

Identify the reasons for installing a green roof


  • Aesthetics and access for tenants or the general public

  • Food production

  • Wildlife habitat

  • Stormwater management

  • Minimizing building energy usage

  • Sound absorption

  • Green building certification or policy requirement

  • General access to the roof for installation and maintenance

Green Roof Installation Checklist

  • Determine project budget

  • Assemble a design team

  • Establish design, installation, and maintenance goals

  • Conduct life cycle cost analysis

  • Determine the project timeline

  • Determine available green roof financial incentives

  • Conduct a site analysis

  • Determine the type of green roof desired based on goals and budget

  • Design green roof

  • Install bird-friendly glass elements

  • Create a maintenance plan




Maintenance is critical to a green roof’s long-term success. It includes watering, weeding, harvesting, and checking for eroded growth medium (soil). During its first two years, the establishment period, a green roof requires more intensive care.

Example Design Build Consultants

Example Material Distributers

Additional Resources

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Website Developer: Stephanie Kale

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The Green Roof Researchers Alliance is funded by The New York Community Trust, A.P.J. O’Connor Fund, and the LuEsther T. Mertz Fund