The Winner of our “Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!” Earth Day Photo Contest is …

April 30, 2010 at 6:49 am

The Winner of Greenroofs.com’s “Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!” Earth Day Photo Contest for 2010 is:

ESRI Canada’s Garden in the Sky in Toronto, Ontario, Canada!

“Overlooking one of Toronto’s busiest highways, this 7,500-sq-ft portable garden reduces urban heat, noise and stormwater runoff. It provides lush meeting space for staff and visitors, as well as habitat for birds and butterflies. It helps create a greener, healthier environment. Photo by Margaret Mulligan.”

In our first photo contest ever, we received 30 contest entries and over 1,500 votes for readers’ favorite greenroof!

ESRI Canada’s Garden in the Sky entry received an incredible 735 votes!  Talk about rallying your friends and family for support – quite a networking coop there!

Josephine Chan will receive her choice of a $100 gift card to either The Home Depot or Lowe’s for spring projects or just a good old fashioned check.  Of course, I don’t think people submitted their project for the chance at the whopping $100 prize, but more to share their pride of accomplishment – a gorgeous, earth-friendly, living roofing alternative that only does not harm the Earth, but who’s design can actually help heal the Earth and sooth some of our development problems.

And we all know that living roofs do just that – through living, breathing, plant material.

There were so many awesome, stunning projects!  I had many favorites myself, and it would have been extremely hard to choose one.  Once again, this was a subjective photo contest about which greenroof loves the Earth the best by the photo and the description submitted.  So, basically, it really boiled down to a popularity contest since voting was open to everyone, not judged by a panel conforming to any particular standards.  See all the photo submittals here.

The winner will have “their” project highlighted on Greenroofs.com as the upcoming Greenroof Project of the Week starting on Sunday, May 2, 2010 and we’ll feature the submitter in a Sky Gardens interview so you can learn more about this particular vegetated roof and why she feels it’s so special.

On Monday I’ll also post the Top 10 List of Greenroof Projects in order of most votes received – I’d like to eventually feature these projects, too, as our Greenroof Project of the Week along with all of the projects received, so you can look forward to gaining an appreciation of each one in the future.

So, for now, congratulations to Josephine Chan and ESRI Canada!  Check back here later next week for the GPW, or Greenroof Project of the Week, highlight with plenty of photos, project description and inspiration.

I hope you all enjoyed and celebrated Earth Day and Month in a special way – aren’t we fortunate to be involved in an industry that allows us to feel good every day about what we’re doing and promoting?  I’m sure Mother Earth appreciates organic greenroof architecture, too!

~ Linda V.

Voting Closed for “Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!” Earth Day Photo Contest

April 28, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Wow, Greenroofs.com received 30 entries from around the world in our first greenroof contest ever – the “Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!” Earth Day Photo Contest – and the enthusiasm has been enormous!  We wanted a way to honor Earth Day and hear what you, in our greenroof world, have done to lessen our footprint, so I came up with this idea to highlight your efforts.

Voting and submissions are now closed.  Thanks to everyone who submitted a project – each beautiful, unique and special in their own way.  And let’s admit it – any roof that has been greened is a huge step up from the traditional conventional roof – hot, barren, and certainly unproductive (OK, unless you have solar or a reflective roof)!

We’ll announce the winner on Friday, April 30, the last day of Earth Month.  And we’ll soon get to learn all about the winning roof from the person who submitted it – we already know the What (a greenroof!), but how about the Who, Where, When and Why of the project?  Stay tuned!

Check out the entries here and look for our announcement on Friday.

Happy greening,

~ Linda V.

GPW: Westview Condos

April 25, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Where can you find urban rooftop sophistication that meets a native Tennessee landscape on a rehabilitated condo building?   Greenroofs.com’s Greenroof Project of the Week is the Westview Condos in Nashville, Tennessee –  a wonderful example of urban renewal by incorporating  beautiful and  much needed nature on an exclusive,  10-unit residential  building  in the heart of a bustling city.   Originally a corporate office building, the renovated property was converted to high-end, mid-rise condos in 2005.

 

The first residential greenroof in Nashville,  the 8-story  structure was redeveloped to provide exclusive and luxurious loft condominiums with spectacular views of downtown.    A lobby and commercial space occupy the first floor with indoor parking on the second level, leaving six floors for residences, topped off with a lush vegetated roof used by residents as recreational space.

The eco-friendly project won the 2006 residential award for greenroof design from the  USGBC Tennessee chapter.

Developer Ron McClaron of McClaron and Associates chose to replace the  previous roof with a greenroof because he considered the Westview a prime location for launching an environmental demonstration project.   I met Ron in August, 2003 when he came to visit my first built greenroof project in downtown Atlanta, the 3TEN HauStudio.   He was starting research into the possibility of renovating  this former Southern Bell building into condos and wanted to pick my brain about costs, plants, etc.

The Nashville roof was in poor condition and as he looked at options, he desired considering greening the roof to take advantage of the environmental advantages and as a means of possibly enhancing the building’s value and marketability.   He knew that weight wasn’t a particular consideration in this application since the basic structural support was pre-stressed concrete –  the building was designed with the idea that Southern Bell might have desired to add additional floors at some point.

Yet, the process wasn’t as easy as might have been expected, given all the environmental and economic benefits of living roofs:

“…city officials had to be convinced this project’s benefits would outweigh difficult logistics associated with downtown construction and transportation of greenroof building material, and potential fire safety hazards.” ~ Southeast Watershed Forum Case Study

The Tennessee Valley Authority  (TVA) contributed funds in the form of grants in order to use this as a demonstration project of their commitment to sustainability.   You must agree that Ron’s original vision for a more sustainable redevelopment was successful – the condos range from 2,300 to 5,00 sf and all ten units were sold quickly.    In fact, many homeowners had identified the greenroof as their top reason for buying in The Westview.

The private roof top garden provides a 360 degree vista of Nashville including the State Capitol,  and homeowners entertain their guests in four separate sitting areas, including  a gazebo, while watching butterflies and listening to birds.   They even have a gas grill and wine chiller for comfortable dining al fresco, surrounded by trees, shrubs, grasses, and blooming perennials!

As you may know, Ralph Velasquez is our Sustainable Roofing Editor, but in 2005 he was the Greenroof Consultant for the Westview Condos project as president of  his previous company, Integrated Building Technologies (currently he is now Director, Sustainable Technologies  Group with Tremco Inc.).   FAMOS GmbH  greenroofing membranes and two-ply modified bitumen built up system were used, supplied  through Building Logics  (see more details in the project profile).
 

The RD Herbert Roofing Company installed the roof system and provided metal edgings and other custom metal products.   And the case study  on their website adds that “wall flashings were covered with a soy-based reflective coating for aesthetic and environmental reasons.”   Another ecological feature is the pavers, which are made of recycled tires.   Landscape architectural services were provided by Lose & Associates.
 

Landscaped with all native southeastern U.S. plants from GroWild, the  peaceful retreat  includes American Smoketree, Serviceberry, Blueberry, Prairie Dropseed, Little Bluestem and the federally endangered Tennessee Coneflower.   Owned by the husband and wife team of Mike Berkley and Terri Barnes, GroWild  is a Tennessee plant nursery specializing in native North American plants.   GroWild has over 850 species and cultivars of native perennials, wildflowers, trees, shrubs, vines, and grasses.

The growing media from Mr. Natural contains Permatill, an expanded slate,  and  other rooftop mixtures, provided by Ernie Higgins of  ItSaul Natural, with a depth that  ranges from 6″ to 30″ .     The lightweight “Roof Planting Soil” for intensive greenroofs provides the native plantings all they need for sustained health and growth.

Metro Nashville now has many greenroofs in place, with more planned or on the boards.   I haven’t been to Nashville in many years, and would love to see this gorgeous vegetated roof, along with several others here, the next time I’m in the area.   You’ll be happy to know that this roof is available for occasional viewing, by appointment only.   To schedule a tour of the  Westview Condos greenroof, please contact Mike Berkley at GroWild, Inc. at: 615.799.1910 or growildtb@aol.com.

 ~ Linda V.

Happy Earth Day 2010!

April 22, 2010 at 11:15 am

Happy Earth Day 2010!   It’s the 40th anniversary of observing this date, and April has been unofficially dubbed Earth Month, too, in its honor.   April is also Landscape Architecture Month, a fitting selection for a profession so dedicated to respecting the Earth through responsible environmental design.

So how am I celebrating Earth Day and Month?   Well, you know we started our first annual “Love the Earth! Plant a Roof Earth Day Photo Contest”  – it’s open until April 28 for entering your favorite living roof and for voting.   By the way, there’s one clear early leader so far with over 200 votes!   Get your friends and colleagues to vote for your roof shot now.   We’ll announce the winner on April 30.

My hands-on project involves a local area  Daisy Troop – eleven young girls aged 7 and 8 who attend Birmingham Falls Elementary  in Milton, Georgia.   Their Girl Scout Leader, mom Sandra Nichols, contacted me a while back about speaking to the troop about the greenroof I designed at Rock Mill Park  in Alpharetta, GA.   The girls are working towards one of their badges, the  Clover Project, which involves preserving and protecting a local treasure and saving resources.   Since Sandra had been to the park before, she felt this would be a great learning opportunity to present the greenroof idea to the girls to educate them about saving water and reducing energy usage.

By the way, our Student Intern, Caroline Menetre – below, and I had just been up to the roof last week, doing routine weeding and taking notes to see which plants had fared well and which ones didn’t – more on that later.

Being a mom of three myself, and now a grandmom, of course I said yes!   I met with them this past Tuesday and had a blast speaking about rain water, stormwater, and an introduction to greenroofs to this lively and rambunctious group.   They especially loved touching all the plants in our four Greenroof Trial Garden tabletops – and they all got to try the garlicky Alliums in the Non-native Module!

I’ll be following up with them at their school this upcoming Tuesday to help them plant two 2′ x 2′ x 4″ greenroof modules of their own – both Green Roof Blocks and GreenGrid  donated a module each, which will be on display at the school for all the children to have hands-on experience and learn about different types of greenroof plants.   Thanks to Kelly Luckett of Green Roof Blocks, and Jim Lindell and Greg Harper of GreenGrid!   I should add a thanks to GreenTech as well – they offered their larger 4′ x 4′ x 8 1/2″ module, but it was decided  two smaller modules placed in two locations would better serve the students.

Also, Bobby Saul of Saul Nurseries  here in Atlanta and Alpharetta, GA, is donating the plants for both modules, as well as the growing media from ItSaul Natural.   After my little talk, I presented each girl with her own greenroof plant from Saul Nurseries to take home – a beautiful green  Jovibarba ‘Green Carpet’ –  succulent and spiky!   You know how kids like to touch things, well, they loved these!

I know that many of you are passionate about protecting the planet, and hopefully you are doing something this April to honor our land.   I’ll leave with this quote:

“Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species – man – acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.” ~ Rachel Carson

~ Linda V.