An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Soak Up the Rain: Green Roofs

Green roofs have a layer of plant material that absorbs water like a sponge. They capture water when it rains, slowly releasing it through evaporation and plant use. Green roofs can significantly reduce the amount of rain water that would otherwise run off an impervious roof surface. Green roofs can also help reduce building energy usage and noise levels while increasing the durability and lifespan of the roof compared to conventional roofs.

Green roofs are being increasingly used in urban areas where space constraints limit the use of other stormwater management practices.

Note: Structures must be able to support the loading of green roof materials under fully saturated conditions.

Information About Green Roofs

Estimating the Environmental Effects of Green Roofs: A Case Study in Kansas City, Missouri, 2018, US EPA (PDF) (26 pp, 2.6 MB, About PDF)
The case study lays out a replicable analytical framework for use by decision makers in assessing the multiple benefits of green roofs, including stormwater runoff reductions and public health improvements.

The Benefits and Challenges of Green Roofs on Public and Commercial Buildings, A Report of the United States General Services Administration, 2011 (PDF) (152 pp, 9.5 MB, About PDF)
This report includes a literature review of 200 research studies, in-depth analysis of green roof benefits, an original cost-benefit analysis, discussion of challenges and best practices, and assessment of further research needs.

GSA Green Roof Tracker

Green Roofs, Technical Preservation Services, National Park Service, US Department of the Interior Exit
Historic buildings are great opportunities for sustainable development and are regularly being rehabilitated to incorporate green design features while still preserving their historic character. One way of increasing the sustainability and energy performance of a building is to install a green roof. Find background for applying green roof technology to historic buildings.

Green Roofs, Green Infrastructure, U.S. EPA

Local resources


Residents Guide to Green Roofs, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (PDF) (2 pp, 534 K, about PDF) Exit
Introduces green roofs, including information on the types and benefits, and residential applications.

Green Roofs/Blue Roofs, Reduce, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Save the Sound Exit
Defines green roofs and blue roofs, and includes some additional resource links.

Connecticut Stormwater Manual, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Exit
Chapter 4 includes information on green roofs (PDF) (21 pp, 2.4 MB, about PDF) Exit.

Top of Page


Maine Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual, Maine Department of Environmental Protection Exit
Volume 3, Chapter 10 includes information about green roofs.

Top of Page


Green Roofs and Stormwater Management, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Exit
Information on green roof benefits and costs.

Green Roof, Clean Water Toolkit, Massachusetts Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Manual, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Exit
Fact sheet describes the use and design of green roofs, benefits, maintenance and other considerations.

Top of Page

New Hampshire

Chapter 4, Interception Practices, New Hampshire Stormwater Manual, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (PDF) (6 pp, 1.3 MB, about PDF) Exit

Top of Page

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Coastal Resources Management Council (PDF) (487 pp, 11 MB, about PDF) Exit
Chapter 5 contains information about green roofs.

Green Roof Projects around Rhode Island, LID Inventory, Rhode Island Stormwater Solutions, Department of Environmental Management Exit

Top of Page


Green Roofs, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Watershed Management Division Exit
Basic information about green roofs.

Vermont Low Impact Development Guide for Residential and Small Sites, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (PDF) (54 pp, 4.7 MB, about PDF) Exit
Includes some basic introductory information about green roofs.

Top of Page