How Much Does a Green Roof Cost?

Typical Range:

$12,000 - $40,000

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated March 2, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

2022 Notice: Material Prices are Surging

Demand for roofing has grown over the past year. And, as a result, manufacturers are increasing materials prices. Prices have gone up 5% to 10% this year, and many parts of the country are experiencing long delivery times. If you're planning a roofing project, we recommend starting as early as possible in the season, preparing for potential price fluctuations, and allowing extra time to order materials.

Average Cost of a Green Roof

The average green roof costs start at about $10 per square foot for a simple extensive living roof, and jump to about $30 per square foot for intensive roofs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Annual maintenance costs for either type will cost between $0.75 and $1.50 per square foot, regardless of type. This translates to an average cost of about $22,000, with a range of $12,000 to $40,000 or more. In addition to the type of living roof, prices depend on where you live and the overall size.

Green roofs have grown in popularity as an eco-friendly roofing alternative. Instead of traditional shingles or tiles, green or living roofs are a layer of soil and growing, living plants. This actually leads to better insulation and sound blocking than any other type of roof. You might even be able to get a tax break for incorporating an environmentally-friendly measure into your home.

Average Cost of a Green Roof

Average Cost$22,000
High Cost$40,000+
Low Cost$12,000

Green Roof Cost per Square Foot

Installing a green roof costs between $10 and $30 per square foot. Most homeowners pay within this range but costs could run up to $50 per square foot. While not common for residential roofs, some designs end up costing $200 or more per square foot.

Roof Size (square feet)Average Price Range
2,000$20,000 – $60,000
3,000$60,000 – $90,000
10,000$100,000 – $300,000

One thing to note is that for roofs bigger than 10,000 square feet, the cost per square foot will be lower (sometimes by up to 50%).

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Plant Life Living Roof Cost Factors

This style of roof gets its name because it has living plants growing on top of a house. Here are the cost factors related to soil and plantings on a green roof.

Green Roof Tray System Cost

Installing a tray system costs between $10 and $30 per square foot but this price includes overall green roof installation. The tray system is a crucial component to an extensive or semi-intensive living roof, as it holds the soil layer. This protects your home from having soil or plants come into your home.

Wholesale Cost of Green Roof Root Barrier

A green roof root barrier may cost anywhere from $170 to $1,400 or more. A root barrier typically comes as a rolled-up mat, anywhere from 100 to 1,400 square feet or more, though larger mats require a custom order. Root barriers provide proper drainage.

Green Roof Installation Labor Cost

At $5 to $10 per square foot, green roof labor costs make up a significant portion of the installation price because it’s an intense and time-consuming job. For a 1,700-square-foot roof, you can expect to pay between $8,500 and $17,000 in labor alone. That price could go up if your roof has a steep pitch or complex design patterns. 

Installation costs run higher if you need to replace your existing roof. Removing a roof costs between $1 to $5 per square foot.

Living roofs can work on flat or sloped roofs, though flat roofs are more common. Installing a flat roof costs between $3,200 and $9,000.

Price of a Green Roof by Type

Green Roof TypePrice per Square FootNotes
Extensive$10 – $20Lighter weight, most common for houses. Work on sloped roofs.
Intensive$20 – $40Heavier, more common in bigger buildings. Only work with flat roofs.
Semi-intensive$15 – $30Another word for a rooftop garden. Has the potential for an interactive design where people can walk around the plants.
Blue$1 – $30“Green” in terms of eco-friendly. They collect rainwater instead of growing plants.

More on Intensive Green Roofs

Intensive roofs are the most common type of living roof for large homes and businesses. They can not only grow plants but connect rainwater to help with watering the vast vegetation. Known as “Blue-green roofs,” these styles collect, store, and slow the flow of rainwater runoff. Intensive green roofs require much more maintenance than the extensive style, which is more typical for average homes. 

Extensive Green Roof Cost per Square Foot

Extensive green roofs cost most homeowners between $10 and $20 per square foot but could cost up to $50 per square foot. This is the most common (and least costly) type of living roof, partly because it’s easier to install and is self-sustaining.

Intensive Green Roof Cost per Square Foot

The cost to install an intensive green roof ranges from $20 to $40 per square foot. These roofs require more planning, installation, design, and maintenance and, as such, could cost upwards of $200 per square foot or more. Intensive roofs are more common in cities, such as on the top of an apartment building or large corporate office.

In some circumstances, you can install a semi-intensive green roof. A semi-intensive roof is similar to a rooftop garden and runs as low as $15 per square foot.

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Annual Maintenance Cost of a Green Roof

Annual green roof maintenance prices span from $0.75 to $1.50 per square foot. For most living roofs that grow succulents or similar low-maintenance plants, you may only need to water or fertilize as needed. High-maintenance plants (similar to what you might see in a vegetable or flower garden) will need more care.

If you decide to work with a professional gardener, you’ll save time and likely will only need to call them once a year. Gardener rates start at $20 per hour and go up to $150 per hour.

Cost of Green Roof vs. Conventional Roof

The cost to install a green roof is considerably more expensive than the average cost to install a shingle roof (which is $8,500), but could be a better investment. Living roofs can lower energy bills and last longer than shingles, so you could actually end up saving money in the long run.

Green Roof vs. Cool Roof Cost

The cost difference between a green or cool roof depends on where you live. While installation costs may not be all that different, homeowners in warmer climates might see greater energy savings with a cool roof. However, it might cost more to turn an existing roof into a cool roof. Find a roofing contractor who can offer the best eco-friendly roof solution for your home.

DIY Build a Green Roof vs. Hire a Professional

A properly-installed green roof may never need replacement. A roof installed by someone without the proper experience could end up with structural damage and costly repairs or a full replacement. Make this investment-worthy, reap the economic benefits, and truly help the environment by hiring a green roofer near you.


How do you install a green roof on a mobile home?

To install a green roof on a mobile home, you’ll actually need to install a new roof over the existing surface. This procedure is known as a “roof over.” A green roofing expert can let you know if this is feasible for your home.

How long does it take to install a green roof?

Installing a green roof may only take a few days to a few weeks to set up, not including planning time. In some areas, you might need to acquire a permit before beginning, which can add on time.

How much would it cost to grow a green roof?

Installing a green roof costs $22,000 on average but for the time it takes for plants to grow, it might cost closer to $24,250. Plants usually take 3 years or more to establish on a roof.

The average gardener costs $750 per project. If you hire a gardener once a year for 3 years until plants are set and thriving, this will add $2,250 to the overall project. Contact a gardener near you for estimates and insight.

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