Green roofs are gaining popularity in multifamily developments because they do long-term good for the environment, and provide usable amenity space in the short-term that is marketable to potential residents. Living roofs are still most common in the commercial realm, but as the trend has emerged in multifamily, green roofs have started to gain a luxury appeal (probably helped by the fact they're not a dime a dozen).
Washington, D.C. is a mecca for vegetative roofs--the Annual Green Roof Industry Survey reported that 1.2 million square feet of green roofing was installed the nation's capital during 2014, the most green roofing installed in North America. D.C.'s accomplishment can be attributed in part to the Riversmart Rooftops Program, which offers tax incentives to building owners who upgrade their roof, or build a green roof on a property located in targeted watershed regions.
EcoBuilding Pulse recently published a video series showcasing the design of four vegetative roofs (on both commercial and multifamily structures) in Washington D.C., which should stir some inspiration for single-family builders. Green roofs haven't broken out as a trend in mainstream new home construction (although there are some impressive examples of custom homes), perhaps because it would be a dramatic departure from the typical American home roof structure. The environmental benefits of living roofs are undeniable, but they could also be highly marketable to potential home buyers concerned about the impact of their home's footprint, and would capitalize on the current trend of indoor-outdoor living.
This video is from EcoBuilding Pulse's trip to see the vegetative roof at the Potomac Plaza Apartments Co-op:
To see three more examples of green roofs done right, check out the full video series on our sister site EcoBuilding Pulse >>