Norwegians have their own way of going green, and quite literally. For hundreds of years houses in Norway have been covered with turf. And they come in different varieties. Some are bright green and almost velvety. Others are golden and look like they’re growing wheat or oats. A number of turf roofs have flowers mixed in with the grass, and a few have small trees.
The advantages of turf roofs (also called sod roofs) are many. They are very heavy, so they help to stabilize the house; they provide good insulation; and they are long-lasting.
Green Roofs in Norway have become a long-standing tradition, and it’s not common to see them dotting the country’s landscape – or in this case, essentially melding with the landscape. During the Viking and Middle Ages most houses had sod roofs, and in rural areas sod roofs were almost universal until the beginning of the 18th century. Tile roofs, which appeared much earlier in towns and on rural manors, gradually superseded sod roofs except in remote inland areas during the 19th century. While the tradition declined and almost became extinct with the introduction of corrugated iron and other industrial materials, steadfast national romantics revived the vernacular tradition. The renaissance of green roofs was also boosted by a growing interest in open air museums, mountain retreats, vacation homes and the preservation movement, and in turn many cultural and commercial institutions have integrated these roofs into the core of their design as an alternative to modern materials.
Every year, since 2000, an award has been given to the best green roof project in Scandinavia.