The Benefits of Living Under Green Roofs

At Optima, our commitment to crafting vibrant communities extends beyond architecture — it embraces a vision of harmonious living with nature. In properties like Optima Verdana®, Optima Kierland Apartments® and Optima Sonoran Village®, we’ve taken this commitment to new heights — quite literally, with green roofs elements that redefine modern living.

Amidst the greenery, residents find not only a physical haven but a sanctuary for the mind year-round. The lush landscapes stimulate cognitive skills, and echoes the enriching effects of art, where the subjective nature of greenery allows residents to explore their creativity and free thinking.

In the spirit of art therapy, our green roof communities become a refuge for stress reduction. The calming influence from a communal herb garden or native flowers and trees, provides a mental retreat, minimizing worries amid life’s challenges. It’s an oasis that mirrors the positive impact of art in promoting relaxation and inspiration.

Living with greenery encourages residents to delve into their own emotional landscapes. The transformative experience of nature’s presence becomes a sensorial, emotional, and sometimes even spiritual journey. Here, Optima’s commitment to well-being extends beyond physical spaces to nourish the soul.

Green roof elements at Optima Kierland Apartments®
Green roof elements at Optima Kierland Apartments®

Optima’s green roofs don’t just enhance the lives of residents; they also embody our commitment to environmental stewardship. By providing insulation and mitigating the urban heat effect, these green roofs contribute to energy efficiency, aligning seamlessly with our dedication to sustainable design and living. They also play a crucial role in stormwater management by absorbing and retaining rainwater, reducing runoff and minimizing flood risks.

Green roofs actively improve air quality by capturing pollutants, offering a breath of fresh air in urban environments. Beyond architectural features, they become habitats for wildlife, enhancing local biodiversity and promoting a holistic approach to community development.

In the heart of Optima’s green roof communities, residents experience a dual benefit: enhanced well-being and a commitment to sustainability. The greenery surrounding our residents tells a tale of cognitive enrichment, stress reduction, emotional healing, and environmental stewardship. As we invite nature into our designs, we reaffirm our dedication to access to greenery and sustainable living.

A Brief History of the Green Roof

A cornerstone of Optima design is the integration of sustainable and enjoyable green roofs. Since our inception, we’ve honed our techniques and evolved our green roofs to be cutting edge additions to each community and its environment. As we reflect on the growth of our own approach to the craft, we’re reflecting on green roof evolution overall with a brief history.

The green roof at Optima Biltmore Towers
The green roof at Optima Biltmore Towers

A Quick Background on the Green Roof

A green roof (also sometimes called a living roof) is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation. This vegetation is often supported with a growing medium and planted over a waterproofing membrane, and can include additional layers such as a root barrier, drainage and irrigation systems as more complex components. Green roofs are aesthetic and also highly functional building components, serving to absorb rainwater, provide insulation, create a habitat for wildlife, lower urban air temperatures and mitigate the heat island effect. 

The green roof at Camelview Village
The green roof at Camelview Village

A Brief History of the Green Roof

Green roofs date back thousands of years. In ancient times, green roof structures began as sod roofs above caves, with “rooftop” earth and plantlife used for agricultural, dwelling and ceremonial purposes. The downfall of these sod roofs was a lack of protection against burrowing animals and lack of waterproofing ability. Inarguably, the most famous (and most sophisticated) ancient green roofs were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, constructed around 500 B.C. Built over arched stone beams, the hanging gardens were indeed waterproofed by the inventive layering of reeds and thick tar. 

Modern green roof technology blossomed in the 1960s, when Germany pioneered new, reliable technology that provided sophisticated irrigation and protection against roof ingress. With its invention, Germany was able to market and develop the new green roof technology on a large scale like never seen before.

There are two types of green roofs: intensive and extensive. Intensive green roofs have deep soil layers, widely varied plantlife and increased weight-bearing and stress load (therefore requiring higher maintenance). Extensive green roofs have thin soil depth and less layers, a simplicity that allows for easier maintenance and makes them the more accessible option. In the 1980s, the widespread introduction of extensive green roof technology further propelled the practice. The dynamic and customizable technology means that buildings have the option of choosing which green roof is right for them, and therefore a larger population can take part in the sustainable practice of growing green roofs.

Green roofs have certainly evolved since their inception, and we can’t wait to see what new innovations in the coming years will bring for design, architecture and sustainability. 

person name goes here

Maintenance Supervisor

Glencoe, IL

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