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Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening with LiveWall by Amber Ponce and David Aquilina

November 19, 2017 at 3:58 pm

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

Outdoor LiveWall Installation Creates a Vertical Garden Growing Fresh Vegetables and Herbs to Promote Living Walls for Urban Horticulture

Photos Courtesy of Phipps and LiveWall®

Founded in 1893, the LEED Silver (2006) Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a local landmark in Pittsburgh, Pa. and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Phipps has been Pittsburgh’s green oasis for more than 120 years. Nearly half a million people visit annually. Historically, Phipps has excelled at showcasing the beauty of plants.

Today, the conservatory is a green leader among public gardens — recognized for its leadership and commitment to sustainability including environmental conservation, renewable energy, green building design, and healthy living. Their latest innovation in green leadership is the installation of LiveWall Green Walls.

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

Phipps offers a variety of adult and youth programs, classes and events to educate guests about the benefits of sustainable gardening, raised-bed vegetable gardening, local food production, and healthy eating. In addition, Phipps sponsors Homegrown, an outreach program dedicated to increasing community access to fresh produce, promoting better food choices, and improving the overall health of families.

Since 2013, the program has established more than 200 vegetable gardens in urban and underserved neighborhoods.

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

The Phipps Production Greenhouse before greening. Photo © Lofty Views.

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

However, space limitations for garden plots can be a challenge for urban gardening. That is why Richard V. Piacentini, executive director, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, encouraged the organization to explore green walls as a space-saving alternative.

“Growing vegetables and herbs on its green wall display is an innovative way for Phipps to demonstrate how families and community groups can grow their own fresh, healthy produce on vertical gardens if they do not have room for large garden plots,” said Dave MacKenzie, president of LiveWall.

Testing Green Wall Options

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

Starting in 2015, Phipps tested LiveWall Inspire Living Wall Panels alongside several other living wall systems on the south-facing wall of its Production Greenhouse Facility. Standardized Inspire panels are 4-feet wide and 7-feet, four inches tall. Each has 24 molded plastic modular planter boxes.

“The other options we evaluated all had shortcomings,” said Michael Bechtel, display horticulturist, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

“With just small pockets of growing medium, some of the other green walls dried out too fast on the sunny, south-facing wall. Others have plastic parts that did not withstand the hot summer sun and started to crack and snap off. In addition, with all the other green walls we tested, we had to water the plants by hand.”

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

According to Bechtel, LiveWall Inspire proved to be the system of choice because of its soil volume and depth for growing and sustaining plants on the sun-drenched wall, the strength and durability of its materials and components, and its integrated spray irrigation.

“It is most professional and well-designed system. The others just did not seem like they could hold up and scale up to the size of the vertical garden we wanted across the length of the Production Greenhouse Facility,” said Bechtel. “With its car bumper grade recycled plastic, the LiveWall planter modules are strong and durable.”

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

Inspire Living Wall Panels are pre-assembled green wall frames. They include vertical furring tracks that attach to the building wall and establish air space between the wall and the panels for ventilation. Rows of aluminum rails, which serve as conduits bringing water to each planter box, run horizontally across the tracks.

LiveWall molded plastic modular planter boxes then fit into place and are fastened onto the rails. Separate liner inserts, plant containers with growing medium and pre-grown plants, drop into the planter boxes. For outdoor installations, the system uses precisely metered spray nozzles for irrigation to water plants much like natural rain.

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

After completing initial testing in 2015, Phipps installed nine more Inspire standard panels in 2016. In the spring, beets, carrots, collard greens, kale, and kohlrabi grow in the vertical garden. Summer plantings include basil, rosemary, thyme, celery root, and various peppers.

Lessons Learned

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

Bechtel advises giving careful consideration to the growing medium selected for vertical gardening on living walls. In 2016, he experimented with a potting soil for the growing medium that was too lumpy and porous. Water flowed through too quickly. Switching to a different growing medium with better water retention qualities was a substantial improvement.

He and his colleagues have also experimented with various organic fertilizers. They found a slow-release granular product, which applied every two to three weeks during the growing season yields impressive growth.

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

Bechtel also has a supply of extra inserts for the LiveWall modules. He uses them to start plants in the greenhouse. Being able to easily swap the inserts in and out of the planter boxes on the wall is especially useful for transitioning from spring to summer plants as well as for preparing the living wall for winter.

The Fruits of the Garden

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

“With our green walls, we have the opportunity to study, evaluate and learn about growing edibles on space-efficient vertical gardens, said Bechtel.

“It is a forward-thinking approach that enables us to offer education and assistance to homeowners, schools and community organizations on planning, installing and maintaining their own green walls so that they can benefit from fresh produce.”

A visit to Phipps to see the green walls can be tasty as well as inspiring. Guests can see vegetables and herbs growing organically on the green walls and then taste them in delicious dishes served at Café Phipps, named by Food & Wine magazine as a “Best Museum Restaurant.”

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

The living walls with a view towards the Center for Sustainable Living. Photo by Michael Tessler.

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

  ~ Amber Poncé and David Aquilina

Publisher’s Note: The Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls are featured as Greenroofs.com’s Project of the Week for November 20, 2017.  See its Project Profile in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Amber Poncé

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

Amber Poncé is the Business Development Manager for LiveRoof Global, LLC. Since 2006, Amber Ponce has helped to expand the LiveRoof Global network of professional horticulturists and growers to an industry leading supplier of green roof systems. In her role as business development manager, she has trained dozens of professionals in technical aspects of green roofing. She has actively participated in the development of industry testing standards and building codes, and currently sits on the policy and growing media committees of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. She is an accredited Green Roof Professional with seven years hands on experience in green roofing – including experience with growing media formulation, plant selection and production, shipping logistics, installation and maintenance. Amber has helped participate in the development of standards related to green roofing and worked with a team of engineers to coordinate the first ever full-scale wind uplift test on green roofs.

Designed with a healthy regard for plants, LiveWall® is the patented living wall system that achieves simplicity and sustainability in harmony with nature. LiveWall is the result of four years of R&D by the professionals who created LiveRoof®, the superior green roof system. LiveWall green wall solutions are engineered with horticultural and structural features specific for indoor and outdoor environments. LiveWall supports plants as nature intended — roots growing down, stems and leaves growing up. With unsurpassed versatility to grow a diversity of plant types, LiveWall transforms ordinary walls into inspiring, thriving vertical landscapes that are simple to install and easy to maintain.

Contact Amber Poncé:
616.935.1964
AmberP@LiveRoof.com

David Aquilina

Phipps Conservatory Showcases Vertical Gardening on Display with LiveWall

David Aquilina, Strategic Storyteller (www.linkedin.com/in/davidaquilina), is a corporate communications consultant and freelance writer.  David makes his home up on the edge of the northern prairie in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Contact David Aquilina:
612.716.5628;
davida@strategicstoryteller.com
StrategicStoryteller.com

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week for November 20, 2017: Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls

November 19, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Greenroofs.com Project Week Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls

Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
290 sf greenwalls

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: November 20, 2017

Greenroofs.com Project Week Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls

Mini Description & Details

Founded in 1893, the LEED Silver (2006) Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has been Pittsburgh’s green oasis for more than 120 years. The Conservatory is a green leader among public gardens – recognized for its commitment to sustainability including environmental conservation, renewable energy, green building design, and healthy living. Built in 2006, Phipps Conservatory’s 36,000-square-foot Production Greenhouse earned LEED Platinum for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance in 2012, becoming the first greenhouse in the world to achieve this certification.

In 2016 Phipps’ latest step forward in its outreach mission was the installation of green walls to demonstrate how families and community groups can grow their own fresh, healthy produce even where garden space is limited. Designed and installed by Michael Bechtel, the Display Horticulturist at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, they have the opportunity to study, evaluate, and learn about growing edibles on space-efficient vertical gardens.

Greenroofs.com Project Week Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls

Greenroofs.com Project Week Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls

The Phipps Production Greenhouse before greening. Photo © Lofty Views.

After completing testing with several living wall systems on the south facing wall of its Production Greenhouse Facility, Phipps now boasts 10 LiveWall Inspire standard panels with a total of 240 LiveWall planter modules. In the spring, beets, carrots, collard greens, kale, and kohlrabi grow in the vertical garden. Summer plantings include basil, rosemary, thyme, celery root, and various peppers.

Greenroofs.com Project Week Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls

Greenroofs.com Project Week Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls

More

Phipps Conservatory puts vertical food gardening on display with its living walls, and growing fresh produce on the outdoor vertical garden both educates and inspires visitors. And, a visit to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens to see the green walls can be tasty as well as inspiring. Guests can see vegetables and herbs growing organically on the green walls and then taste them in delicious dishes served at Café Phipps, named by Food & Wine magazine as a “Best Museum Restaurant.”

Greenroofs.com Project Week Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls

The living walls with a view towards the Center for Sustainable Living. Photo by Michael Tessler.

Year: 2016
Owner: 
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Location:
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Building Type:
Park
Type:
Living Wall
System:
Single Source Provider
Size:
290 sq.ft.
Slope:
100%
Access:
Accessible, Open to Public

Greenroofs.com Project Week Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls

Greenroofs.com Project Week Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:

Greenwall System: LiveWall
Greenwall Design & Installation: Michael Bechtel, Display Horticulturist, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Plants: Horticulture Department, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Greenroofs.com Project Week Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls

All the Info:

View the Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls to see ALL of the Photos and Additional Information about this particular project in
The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Greenroofs.com Project Week Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls

Project of the Week Video Feature

Watch the Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls Project of the Week Video below or see it on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week 11/20/17 video photo credits: Courtesy of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, including © Lofty Views and © Michael Tessler; LiveWall; and Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens 132 By Daderot, Own work, 2009, public domain and Center for Sustainable Landscapes, Phipps Conservatory, 2015-10-10, 02 By Cbaile19, Own work, 2015 Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, both via Wikimedia Commons.

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Love the Earth, Plant a Roof (or Wall)!

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher & Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit Host

Round #2 is open!  Register now for the 50% off discounted rate of only $25 and join us online for our 2017 Virtual Summit through December, 2017.

Greenroofs.com Project Week Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls

Attend the NYC DEP Long Term Control Plan Annual Citywide Meeting November 15 to Support Green Infrastructure

November 13, 2017 at 4:22 pm

NYC DEP Long Term Control Plan Meeting Green Infrastructure

If you live in the NYC area, you need to attend the NYC DEP meeting this Thursday, November 15

Recently, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) approved seven plans and has proposed two more – without a public hearing (S.W.I.M. Coalition) – to address the issue of sewer overflows. On November 15th, they are holding their annual citywide CSO (combined sewer overflow) meeting to review these series of Long Term Control Plans (LTCP) for nine NYC waterways.  Everyone is welcome to attend, but you must register first.

The NYC DEP is tasked to protect public health and the environment by supplying clean drinking water, collecting and treating wastewater, and reducing air, noise, and hazardous materials pollution.

Environmental Groups Speak Out

NYC DEP Long Term Control Plan Meeting Green Infrastructure

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other groups such as the Storm Water Infrastructure Matters Coalition (S.W.I.M.) have spoken loudly for citizen input regarding the changes proposed to the NYC DEP’s new Long Term Control Plans.  They believe the city’s plans are deeply flawed and would continue to allow massive amounts of sewage to flow into waters across the city.

The environmental groups also feel the plans don’t take full advantage of solutions like green infrastructure — including rain gardens, greenroofs, and street trees — that improve our neighborhoods and keep our waters clean.

Citizen Input Needed to Support Green Infrastructure

NYC DEP Long Term Control Plan Meeting Green Infrastructure

Highview Creations installed multiple greenroofs at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House in 2013, above and below, with partial funding by the NYC DEP Green Infrastructure Program.

Marni Marjorelle of Alive Structures called to let us know that we have to get the word out to help defend the health of New York’s waterways, which in turn includes green infrastructure (GI) and greenroofs, of course.

“We need to show up in numbers at this meeting to show DEP that Green Infrastructure is not just a clean water issue.  Showing up in numbers tells the DEP that green roofs and other forms of GI are important to the entire environmental community as well as a growing industry and a educational tool.

The DEP GI program has not had huge success in the past, but they have made significant changes which will help the program create more GI projects in the future.  This is not the time to give up on this program but time to make it stronger.” ~ Marni Marjorelle, Alive Structures

NYC DEP Long Term Control Plan Meeting Green Infrastructure

A bird’s eye view of the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Playscape and Green Roof.

The NRDC

“Over 20 billion gallons of raw sewage and polluted runoff flow into New York waterways like the Hudson River, the East River, the Bronx River, Long Island Sound, Jamaica Bay, Flushing Bay, and the Gowanus Canal every year. Tell Mayor Bill de Blasio and other key local elected officials and decision makers to clean up our water!  We need a better plan…immediately.”~ NRDC November 9, 2017 eNewsletter

The NRDC urges you to take action and send a message to New York City Mayor de Blasio and other key local elected officials and decision makers telling them to keep raw sewage out of NYC’s waterways.

S.W.I.M.

S.W.I.M. is a coalition dedicated to ensuring swimmable and fishable waters around New York City through natural, sustainable stormwater management practices – green infrastructure – in our neighborhoods.

“The City’s proposed CSO Long Term Control Plans will not make our waterways safe for recreational activities. They will leave hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage overflows in each waterbody annually, on dozens of occasions per year.  Many of the plans do not reduce overflow volume at all and instead call for diverting raw sewage into the East River or dumping chlorine into raw sewage before discharging it to rivers, creeks, and bays. ~ S.W.I.M. Action Alert

They are asking you to join them at the public meeting and let the city hear from you.  Let them know that the proposed plans for NYC’s waterways do not go far enough and the public expects them to do better.

NYC DEP Long Term Control Plan Meeting Green Infrastructure

Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm #2 at Brooklyn Navy Yard, also funded as a stormwater management project by a NYC DEP Green Infrastructure Grant under PlaNYC in 2011.

Meeting Specifics

While the City has held waterway specific meetings throughout the year, this meeting will focus on the whole CSO Program.  Agenda items will include:

  • Status updates on each Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) including those approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
  • NYC Green Infrastructure Program implementation
  • Coordination the CSO Program and the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Program

What: NYC DEP Long Term Control Plan Annual Citywide meeting
When: Wednesday November 15, 2017, 6-8pm
Where: CUNY School of Law, 2 Court Square West, Long Island City, Queens, NY 11101

Register for the event.

NYC DEP Long Term Control Plan Meeting Green Infrastructure

Spurred by the recent success of the citizens of Denver and the passage of the Green Roof Initiative (I-300) last week, the importance of public involvement cannot be overstated.

If you live in New York City, it would certainly be in your best interest to become very familiar with the proposed NYC DEP Long Term Control Plans, and the various groups and interested individuals who are promoting green infrastructure in your area!

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher & Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit Host

Round #2 is open!  Register now for the 50% off discounted rate of only $25 and join us online for our 2017 Virtual Summit through December, 2017.

NYC DEP Long Term Control Plan Meeting Green Infrastructure

Denver Voters Pass I-300 Green Roof Building Code!

November 9, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Denver Voters Pass I-300 Green Roof Building Code

Green Roof Ordinance I-300 Passes from Denver Voters by 52%

After a hard fought battle from both sides, the votes were in late last night: Denver voters approved the I-300 Green Roof Code on Tuesday, November 7.  The initiative passed by about 52.5 to 47.5% of the vote, in spite of the fact that the opposition outspent supporters by a margin of 12 to 1.

Starting January 1, 2018, buildings in Denver larger than 25,000 square feet will be required to green a portion of their roofs either with vegetation or solar.

Battle of the Advertising Budgets

Huge financial support was garnered from the opponents of the measure, who spent an estimated $250,000.  In particular, Denver commercial real estate developers, some businesses, and the opposition campaign “Citizens for a Responsible Denver” were the leading challengers to the proposed mandate.

Contrast that amount to the meager $10,000 collected by the Denver Green Roof Initiative over the past months!  Grassroots leader and Denver Green Roof Initiative Campaign Manager Brandon Reitheimer says most of the money was spent on social media advertising.

And in particular, Brandon emphasized the importance of volunteer canvasing across the city, from homes to Democratic house district meetings to neighborhood association meetings.

Denver Voters Pass I-300 Green Roof Building Code

Denver Botanical Gardens.

Citizen-led Initiative with a Great Reach

The Denver victory is great for all of us in the living architecture field, but especially for the citizens of Denver.  And, hopefully it’s a sign that future municipalities also will provide leadership on sustainability.

The citizen-led initiative had much support from locals and within the greater greenroof community.  Many of us donated money, time, and marketing to the cause, including Greenroofs.com, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), and others within the U.S. greenroof industry.

Favorable Cost-Benefit Study from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities & Green Infrastructure Foundation

In mid-October, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities prepared a detailed cost-benefit analysis of the economic impact relating to the proposed I-300 Ordinance, entitled Making Informed Decisions: A Green Roof Cost and Benefit Study for Denver.”

GRHC found that widespread greenroof installation would result in 57.5 million square feet of living roofs, and generate $1.85 billion in savings by 2058 and approximately 25,000 job-years in employment over a 15 year period.

“The study doesn’t quantify many important green roof benefits or the solar component in the proposed law. We used conservative data on costs and benefits from Denver which suffers from terrible urban heat island impacts, combined with studies from other jurisdictions that have implemented mandatory green roof requirements,” ~ Andy Creath, Green Infrastructure Foundation board member and president, Green Roofs of Colorado in the 10.13.17 Green Roofs for Healthy Cities & Green Infrastructure Foundation Media Release

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock Weighs In

Denver Voters Pass I-300 Green Roof Building Code

Denver EPA Greenroof.

Mayor Hancock was against the measure, saying it went “too far,” in Denverite but added that the city would implement the will of the people.

“We are concerned that it may mean more initial costs. Once the people have spoken, that’s our job. There may need to be some tweaks, based on legal challenges. Though we were not going to line up and support the initiative, our values align.” ~ Denver is one of the first U.S. cities to require green roofs – so what happens now?

What Does Happen Now?

Regarding the passage of this Initiative, two important items remain:

1. I-300 will be reviewed by a Technical Committee which can put alterations to a vote by the Denver City Council;

2. And in six months, the Denver City Council would have the option of repealing or making changes to the ordinance with a two-thirds majority.

Denver Voters Pass I-300 Green Roof Building Code

Denver Residence on Quivas Street.

Is Denver Ready?

At present, the mayor and city council members are researching all of the possible opportunities and challenges that might be inherent in implementing the initiative. And Andrea Burns with Denver Community Planning and Development says the new ordinance will take a lot of effort, but that they will make it work for the people of Denver.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities says it will continue to work with local groups, the Technical Committee, and the Denver City Council to strengthen and support the initiative and grow the area greenroof market.

Leila Tolderlund, LEED AP, GRP, an assistant professor in the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning – and one of our Speakers at the Greenroofs.com Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2017 – provided commentary to Denverite:

“We’re ready,” Tolderlund said of the landscape architects of Denver. Bring it on.” ~ Denver is one of the first U.S. cities to require green roofs – so what happens now?

Kudos to All

Congratulations to the tireless and persistent volunteers at Denver Green Roof Initiative, in particular Brandon Reitheimer, for their incredible work on passing the first fully citizen-led ballot initiative of this kind in Denver!

Additional work needs to be accomplished to keep Initiative 300 on track for next January 1, and you can count on us for continued media support.

Denver Voters Pass I-300 Green Roof Building Code

Community College of Denver.

For additional information, contact Brandon Reitheimer at Brandon@denvergreenroof.org or call (717) 433-3663.

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher & Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit Host

Register now and join us online for our 2017 Virtual Summit through December, 2017.  Round #2 started on October 16th!

Denver Voters Pass I-300 Green Roof Building Code