Downtown Roanoke has been flooded on three separate occasions since June, but stormwater utility manager Dwayne D'Ardenne says vegetated roofs are a good way of lessening the potential for damage.

The city's municipal building already has a green roof by LiveRoof, as do other commercial buildings, and D'Ardenne says the same benefits can be reaped by private residences. A green roof replaces conventional coverings like tile or asphalt shingles with living plants installed over a waterproof membrane. The plants, and the medium they're bedded in, help to soak up water during rain storms and reduce the amount of water sent into streets and a city's municipal stormwater system.

Kelly Connoley-Phillips, the LiveRoof project manager at a local nursery, says the roofs can be installed for about $9 a square foot. The roofs also reduce heating and cooling costs by as much as 10%, Connoley-Phillips says, while lasting up to three times as long as some other roofing options.

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