Shipping containers serve a variety of uses and can be modified in multiple ways. If you are looking for ways to make your shipping container project a bit greener, then the addition of a green roof may be exactly what you’re looking for. While not actually a “modification,” adding green roofing to containers that have been adapted for an alternate purpose, such as a tiny home, provides a variety of benefits. Plus, everyone loves a little extra plant life in their day-to-day. Curious what a green roof is and why you should add one to your shipping container set-up? We’re here to answer your questions and get you set up with the best shipping container to fit your needs.

What is a Green Roof?

Creating a green roof is more than just plopping down some plants on the top of a container. Green roofing is the addition of a layer of vegetation over a waterproof barrier on top of the existing roof of a structure—in this case, your shipping container. The full set-up usually includes waterproofing, a drainage system, and filter cloths along with the plants and soil.

Green roofing is a rapidly growing industry. According to a report published by Grand View Research, the green roof market was valued at $1.4 billion in 2020, compared to $67.8 million is 2016. It is predicted that the industry will see a 17% growth rate each year, with a predicted value of $4.2 billion by 2027.

The Types of Green Roofing

Green or living roofs are categorized based on the amount of plant life that is used. Extensive roofs support around 25 pounds per square foot of foliage at minimum while intensive roofs can manage up to a maximum of 500 pounds. Another key differentiator is the amount of labor needed to keep the roof in good condition. The extensive green roof can usually be left to just grow without restriction aside from occasional weeding and trimming. Intensive roofs, on the other hand, would need as much tending as a large garden. Choose your set up carefully—just because you have the space and structural integrity to handle a larger green roof may not mean you have the time required for upkeep.

The Key Benefits of Adding a Green Roof to Your Container

Improve air quality


One of the best benefits of different plants is that they provide air filtration. Depending on the area your container is in, the green roof setup you create can help reduce the severity of pollution around the structure.

Help with temperature control


Green roofs act as a thermal barrier. This means it helps stop the transfer of heat, keeping things cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Increase energy efficiency


For those using containers as offices, homes, or even workspaces, you’ll be happy to hear a green roof can help reduce your energy consumption. Since they provide temperature control it makes it easier to use your heating and cooling system far less.

Create space to grow food


This is especially great news for those looking into container homes. Installing a green roof gives you the chance to create a garden that can provide some of your food needs.

Can I Add a Living Roof to My Container?

If you’re using a shipping container for regular shipping needs or long-term storage needs, we wouldn’t suggest adding a living roof. Otherwise, the addition of a green roof to your shipping container depends on your budget and the amount of time you can commit to set-up and maintenance.

Workshops: If you’re using your container as a project workshop, or just a place to enjoy a break, adding a green roof is a good idea as it helps keep it cooler and provides rainwater management.
Onsite offices: Looking to add some flora back to your worksite? Installing a green roof on your onsite office will make the space more comfortable, improve the air quality, and reduce your carbon emissions.
Coffee shops: You can outfit shipping containers as the coffee shop itself or utilize a container as a covered seating area outdoors. Adding a green roof brings temperature control, rainwater management, and a brighter, cleaner appearance to the space that customers are sure to love.
Greenhouses: Plants on top of plants? It may seem odd, but it’s a great idea. Outfitting your container greenhouse with a green roof provides temperature control that can come in real handy when extreme temperatures hit throughout the year.
Container homes: Enjoy cleaner air and better temperature control throughout the year by adding a green roof to your container home. Plus, if you have the time for it, you can use the space for a food garden to help subsidize those grocery bills.

Buy or Rent Your Container Today

We can get you set up with the right shipping container and provide needed modifications to ensure that it is ready for you to use. All you need to do is figure out how to add that green roof, rather than spending time figuring out windows or locking mechanisms. Reach out to to get started on your next storage container rental or purchase.

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