Soak Up the Rain: Green Roofs

Green roofs have a layer of plant material that absorbs water like a sponge. They capture water when it rains, slowly releasing it through evaporation and plant use. Green roofs can significantly reduce the amount of rain water that would otherwise run off an impervious roof surface. Green roofs can also help reduce building energy usage and noise levels while increasing the durability and lifespan of the roof compared to conventional roofs.

Green roofs are being increasingly used in urban areas where space constraints limit the use of other stormwater management practices.

Note: Structures must be able to support the loading of green roof materials under fully saturated conditions.

Information About Green Roofs

Green Roofs, Green Infrastructure, U.S. EPA

The Benefits and Challenges of Green Roofs on Public and Commercial Buildings, A Report of the United States General Services Administration, 2011 (PDF) (152 pp, 9.5 MB, About PDF)
This report includes a literature review of 200 research studies, in-depth analysis of green roof benefits, an original cost-benefit analysis, discussion of challenges and best practices, and assessment of further research needs.

GSA Green Roof Tracker

Local resources


Residents Guide to Green Roofs, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (PDF) (2 pp, 534 K, about PDF) Exit
Introduces green roofs, including information on the types and benefits, and residential applications.

Green Roofs/Blue Roofs, Reduce, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Save the Sound Exit
Defines green roofs and blue roofs, and includes some additional resource links.

Connecticut Stormwater Manual, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Exit
Chapter 4 includes information on green roofs (PDF) (21 pp, 2.4 MB, about PDF) Exit.

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Maine Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual, Maine Department of Environmental Protection Exit
Volume 3, Chapter 10 includes information about green roofs.

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Green Roofs and Stormwater Management, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Exit
Information on green roof benefits and costs.

Green Roof, Clean Water Toolkit, Massachusetts Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Manual, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Exit
Fact sheet describes the use and design of green roofs, benefits, maintenance and other considerations.

Green Roofs, Massachusetts Low Impact Development Toolkit Fact Sheet, Metropolitan Area Planning Council Exit
Factsheet describes the basic elements of a green roof, their benefits and limitations, maintenance, design details and cost.

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New Hampshire

Chapter 4, Interception Practices, New Hampshire Stormwater Manual, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (PDF) (6 pp, 1.2 MB, about PDF) Exit

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Rhode Island

Rhode Island Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Coastal Resources Management Council (PDF) (487 pp, 11 MB, about PDF) Exit
Chapter 5 contains information about green roofs.

Green Roof Projects around Rhode Island, LID Inventory, University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Stormwater Solutions Exit

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Green Roofs, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Watershed Management Division Exit
Basic information about green roofs.

Green Roof Fact Sheet, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (PDF) (2 pp, 625 K, About PDF) Exit
Describes the different types of green roofs, critical components, constraints and considerations, costs and maintenance.

Vermont Low Impact Development Guide for Residential and Small Sites, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (PDF) (54 pp, 4.7 MB, about PDF) Exit
Includes some basic introductory information about green roofs.

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