Albemarle County’s green roof system, which covers 9,000 square feet of the Albemarle County Office Building and recently celebrated its three-year anniversary, has influenced others to consider green roof systems. The roof is part of the Albemarle County Green Roof Project and was completed in July 2005, using 9,000 sedum plants.

The roof system, which reduces heating and cooling costs and storm water runoff, has garnered a lot of attention.

“The biggest benefit is we’re showing the roof to hundreds of people every year,” says Albemarle Water Resources Engineer Gregor Patsch.

Now, many of those people want to incorporate green roofing into their homes. However, Jeff Sties, architect for Sunbiosis, Charlottesville, Va., says it is not always easy to do.

“It’s not like just replacing the roof you’ve got,” he says. “It’s a different animal.”

A green roof system can cost as much as 10 times more than a traditional roof system and doesn’t provide as many energy-saving benefits for a smaller home as it would for a large space.

Sties says new construction is usually the best way to incorporate a green roof system.

“If you have an older home, chances are those rafters do not have the capacity to take on that extra load,” he says.

However, this does not deter some people who are determined to set a green example.

“For some clients, it really is about making the statement about the commitment to being environmentally friendly,” Sties says.