Living Roof Fig 928

The use of living roofs has a long history that extends throughout almost every continent. North American Indians built a variety of buried pit houses protected by sod. Europe has a tradition of living roofs that come abloom with wild flowers in the spring. The benefits of a living roof are succinctly described by Christopher Williams in his book, Craftsmen of Necessity.

As the seasons pass, the sod perpetuates itself; root intertwines root, and the roof becomes a solid whole which rain and weather only strengthen. In the winter the dead stalks of grass hold the snow for effective insulation. The spring rains beat the grasses down, so that they shed the excess water; then bring the roof to life again. The summer grasses grow long and effectively reflect the sun's heat.

A living roof is obviously very heavy. Any roof structure will need to be built accordingly to support it.

Another version of a living roof utilizes straw bales as a substitute for sod. By allowing the straw to compost over time, an ideal environment is developed for the propagation of indigenous grasses and flowers. A simple method for waterproofing a living roof is to cover the surface with a roll of EPDM type

Earthbag Pond

9.28: A living roof in the mountains of Colorado.

plaster down to stone cap with weep screed mud mortar ptaster pond liner secured under' last parapet bag straw bales

m plaster down to stone cap with weep screed mud mortar straw bales ptaster pond liner secured under' last parapet bag

Earthbag Vaulted Home
decking

Velcro plate screwed into viga and anchored into wall with3" galvanized nails

Velcro plate screwed into viga and anchored into wall with3" galvanized nails

9.29: Detail of straw bale insulated, vaulted viga roof.

pond liner, or suitable substitute, followed by a layer of tight-fitting straw bales. After the bales are in place, clip the strings. This creates a beautiful, simple, single-layer roof with exterior insulation (Fig. 9.29).

In a dry, windy climate, a straw-bale-insulated roof may need anchoring to keep it from blowing away. A simple method is shown here (Fig. 9.30).

Throughout the Southwestern United States, traditional adobe structures had their roofs protected by a thick layer of natural earth, supported by vigas to the bales that extend onto the eaves vaulted viga roof hefty 5" layer of adobe over parapet latillas provide exterior shade note: pondliner installed latillas provide exterior shade note: pondliner installed

Earthbag Vaulted Home

poured clayrich adobe cardboard "cushion"

over 3/4" pumice latillas viga screwed to velcro plate, plate Veicroed into bag wall with 3" galvanized nails to the bales that extend onto the eaves

suspend rocks (or heavy chains) to sheep fence over bales as safe guaard against wind poured clayrich adobe suspend rocks (or heavy chains) to sheep fence over bales as safe guaard against wind cardboard "cushion"

over 3/4" pumice latillas viga screwed to velcro plate, plate Veicroed into bag wall with 3" galvanized nails

9.31: Exterior insulated, poured adobe roof for dry climates.

9.30: Straw bale insulated roof kept in place under sheep fence, weighted down with suspended rocks.

and latillas. Any form of solid insulation that can withstand the weight of poured adobe can be used, such as rigid foam, straw bales, cans, bottles, scoria, pumice, etc. (Fig. 3.31).

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