2014 is the Year of Action – Plan, Engage and Network!

January 30, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Happy New 2014 to everyone in our greenroof and greenwall community, and to your families as well!

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While implementing (and breaking) our New Year’s resolutions and planning for the new year, the world has also been dealing with some challenging freak weather lately.

As in other areas of the southern United States, here in the metro Atlanta area we just experienced a devastating near complete shutdown of interstates and highways after Tuesday’s snowfall – in fact, the governor issued a state of emergency for the entire state of Georgia.  Due to the snow, heavy traffic and sheets of ice, motorists were inching by or stranded for hours on hazardous roads, children had to stay overnight at schools (reports say about 8,000 students across Georgia and Alabama woke up yesterday in school gyms or on buses), and we have experienced thousands of accidents.  At present, there are still hundreds of abandoned cars all over the roadways.

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“Tennis courts like a sauna” and “extreme heat.” – After 2013’s recently being declared Australia’s hottest year on record, Melbourne experienced three consecutive days of extreme heat above 40°C during the recent Australian Open.  Some spectators, ball kids, and tennis players became ill or fainted during these sizzling hot days when temperatures reached up to 109°F (43°C) .  To avoid heat stress they placed bags of ice on their heads and necks between points and the scorching heat even halted play.

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Results of global warming?  Maybe.  At least these are examples of some major temperature extremes in just the first month of our new year!

On Tuesday, here in the U.S. we watched President Obama’s fifth State of the Union address before Congress. Just a couple of his economic proposals regarding climate and energy highlighted working with states and communities on climate change resiliency and cutting pollution plus urging our Congress to end tax benefits for the oil industry and use revenues to invest in advanced vehicles that use cleaner fuels.  Awesome.

Obama says let’s make 2014 “a year of action.”  Certainly we cannot continue to heavily depend on high-carbon fossil fuels but must continue to strive towards a sustainable approach to drive innovation and embrace clean renewable energy solutions.

In our greenroof and wall world we all, too, must take a look at how we conduct business and how we can make it better – more profitable, more sustainable, more inclusive.  What are you doing within your organization to lower costs, increase sales or open up areas of debate?  Share your 2014 stories and strategies with us – we’d love to share your experience through a Guest Feature Article or blog post here on Sky Gardens.

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Here at Greenroofs.com we have been brainstorming ourselves.  We sat down to plan: our activities for Earth Hour and Earth Day (should we bring back our Love the Earth, Plant a Roof Photo Contest?), which conferences we will attend (possibly Grey to Green in Toronto in June; World Green Infrastructure Congress, Sydney in September; Qingdao International Ecocity & Green Roof Conference in China in October; CitiesAlive in Nashville in November), and think about what we want to accomplish and how can we best maximize our time, serve our community, and continue to change to reflect the evolving needs of our readership.

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We are convinced that information sharing and open communication are key to a vibrant, growing living architecture industry.  As markets continue to open up across the world through private and public support, opportunities abound – locally and globally.

Along those lines I just wrote a chapter in the upcoming book entitled Green Cities around the World to be published soon by PRONATUR (a Spanish rooftop agricultural group head by Dr. Julian Briz and Dr. Isabel de Felipe, member of the World Green Infrastructure Network or WGIN) and WGIN itself.  It’s entitled “Greenroofs & Greenwalls in the New Millennium: The Influence of the Age of Technology through Online and Social Media.”

I present an overview of how the advancement of greenroof and wall design, construction, and the industry itself has flourished since the turn of our new 21st century with the advent of the widespread use of the Internet, through its innate entrepreneurial spirit, and the continuing rise of information technologies.

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Did you know that, according to Internet World Stats, by December 31, 2000 the Internet had 360,985,492 users worldwide and by June 30, 2012 the amount had exploded to 2,405,518,376 users?  Our views of culture, social relationships, and how we interact in the world of e-business have forever changed through electronic media and smart devices.   The Internet has altered the way we do business forever – surfing the net has become a way of life around the world.

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And, as most people know, social media is no longer an emerging new world in cyberspace, but an exponentially growing online reality of fantastical proportions.  The impact and importance of social media and how it is changing the landscape of both the personal and professional worlds cannot be overstated.  Here are some recent figures of the most widespread social networking websites used to create new online business contacts and friendships with people who share similar interests:

Facebook  (1.26 billion users as of December, 2013);
LinkedIn (259 million users as of October, 2013;
Twitter (500 million total users as of October, 2013):
Google+ (540 million monthly active users as of October, 2013):
Pinterest (70 million users as of July, 2013;
Tumblr (216.3 million monthly visitors as of May, 2013):
Flickr (87 million users as of March, 2013);
and Instagram (more than 75 million monthly active users as of December, 2013).

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This brings me to planning for our third virtual conference, the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2015: Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture.  We firmly believe this platform is the future, a synthesis of technology and social media – education, entertainment, and social networking – interacting directly with people across the world in our highly targeted community.  We’ve been searching for a new, lower cost medium to be able to broadcast the amazing video content provided by so many brilliant individuals and hard working organizations and further engage everyone in lively video, audio and text chatting.

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While strategizing new relationships and collaboration partnerships, we continue to investigate out-of-the-box ideas and certainly welcome your input for an even greater, fun and vibrant virtual summit in 2015.  Next month we’ll start airing our 37 videos from our Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2013.  We hope these keynote, panel sessions, and individual videos will inform and inspire you!

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2014-AnjuliandNickyinSnowLet’s make 2014 a year of taking new actions: plan your business and marketing strategy along with your educational and personal growth goals; engage your friends, associates, and peers to help you execute your plans; and network with new social endeavors, online and in real life!  If you’re not already connected with us, do so.

Stay warm (or cool), and try and have fun, no matter the circumstances.

I hope to see you at a physical conference or chat online soon!

~ Linda V.

Greenroofs.com Updates & Happy Holidays!

December 27, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Hello readers and fellow colleagues,

I hope you have all been enjoying your holidays with family and friends with an eye towards the New Year – especially  after our collective escape from the dire but thankfully misled (or misinterpreted) Mayan  predictions on the winter solstice of 12.21.12!

Kidding aside, we here at Greenroofs.com  have simply been swamped since late summer with various milestones including our trips to Chicago followed immediately by 2 weeks in China, not to mention orchestrating our 2nd annual  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2013.

And, by the way, I couldn’t make it to The International Green Conference in Bangalore, India last month – a recent bout with upper respiratory problems were aggravated with all the traveling and I developed ear issues and was told not to fly for a few months.  I was extremely upset but everyone told me that the Conference was wonderful.

And so I’ve been very behind in my various blog posts ~ so one of my New Year’s  resolutions  is to catch up here at Sky Gardens with the following blog posts:

– On a personal note, most of you who have been following us for years know that I have been an international flight attendant with Delta Air Lines for a long time (hey, I didn’t want to give up my “day” job until I knew this greenroof gig would work out!)…well, as of  September  1, I  officially  retired after 33 years of loving (almost) every bit of it!  I had the  privilege  of working with the best people ever – the end of an era…

– The 10th Annual CitiesAlive Green Roof & Wall Conference in Chicago – what a great town!  For now I will say it was great, one of the very best get-togethers we as an industry have enjoyed so far.  If you  have  photos to share, please send them to linda@greenroofs.com – there was a lot I missed and then Aramis and I had to leave Saturday morning following the conference since we left for Shanghai the next day and we missed out on all the tours (I also took a class on Wednesday, so I couldn’t go then, either).

– The World Green Infrastructure Network (WGIN) World Green Roof Congress in Hangzhou, China which was simply awesome!  The resort was beautiful and the organization was amazing as there were at least 1,400 – 1,500 attendees – the largest crowd I’ve ever presented to before (I presented Haven Kiers’ and my “2012 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design“).

We had a day of touring  followed  by 2 days of the  wonderful  speakers, excellent food and hospitality, ending with another day of touring.  Each  evening  there was a celebratory feast – Professor Xianmin Wang and his awesome International Rooftop Landscaping Association (IRLA) team of William Wei, Lisa and many others are to be highly commended.  We then followed this  sumptuous  experience with an additiional 8 or 9 more days of once in a  lifetime  touring around  China!

– All about our  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2013  on February 12 through March 13, 2013 –  it’s going to be very different from last year. First of all, this time we’ve  partnered  with the  World Green Infrastructure Network  and we’re thrilled to have them on board to provide an ever greater world stage.

You’ll enjoy  a full 30 days of scheduled and on demand video Keynotes, panel sessions, individual and combo presentations with a lot more interactive fun with scheduled live Q & A chat  sessions  with  speakers and other greenroof & greenwall enthusiasts from around the globe, plus visiting the  Sponsor Spaces and Social Media Areas.  Here are our 5 distinguished Keynotes:

New this year is the Prize Center where you’ll accumulate points for cool prizes; the Joblinks Lounge where you can post jobs wanted and view job openings; and the Inspiration Nook where you can post under 3-minute videos about your research idea, project, or poster boards (no commercial ventures!) and participate in scheduled chat discussions which will be included on the Agenda.

In order to feature our Sponsors and exhibitors, we will also offer 4 dedicated days – one per week – to our Expo Trade Show, each anchored by a Keynote Presentation and a Panel Discussion from leading authorities.  By the way, we’d like to thank Tremco for once again committing their greenroof industry leadership through our highest level of  Sponsorship  – the Rare Earth Sponsor!

Other Greenroofs.com News:

– Starting in the New Year, our “This Week in Review” news roundup video, hosted by our daughter Anjuli Velazquez, will come back as “This Month in Review.”

– We’re currently  scheduling our “Greenroof or Greenwall Project of the Week” series – if you’d like to see your project highlighted, first of all we need to have a profile for it in the Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database!  (We are still backlogged with entries but hope to be up to date within a month).

We only spotlight profiles that have 10 or 11 photos and lots of descriptive content.  People ask us if they have to be listed in the Greenroof Directory to be selected, and the answer is no – although we do highlight our advertisers about 4:1 as compared to non-advertisers for their loyalty.

Advertising with Us  is extremely affordable, and we certainly appreciate the support!  Plus there’s no better place in our industry to have your company listed than with us, the #1 website in the world for greenroofs.

– And ordering our  2013 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Wall Calendar is still an inexpensive (only $9.95 including shipping & handling within the U.S.and Canada) and perfect last minute gift to ring in the New Year.

That’s it for now – we’d like to wish you and yours Seasons Greetings & a Happy New Year 2013!

~ Linda V. & all of us here at Greenroofs.com

Greenroofs.com’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: October 12, 2012

October 12, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on Greenroofs.com through our “This Week in Review” video. Here is the transcript from October 12, 2012 from our daughter, Anjuli – click on the photo below to see the video, or here.  Enjoy!

– Hello, I’m Anjuli Velázquez and welcome to “This Week in Review” for October 12th, 2012 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–  Our project of the week is the Multnomah County Multnomah Building, built in 2003 in Portland, Oregon.  Designed as Portland’s first public green roof demonstration garden, the Multnomah Building offers a powerful opportunity for education.  Three distinct educational were addressed: public accessibility, interpretive activities and free sharing of data between professionals.  Upon exiting the 5th floor elevator, the greenroof panorama of wildflowers, grasses and sedums is immediately visible from the vast expanse of picture windows, and descriptive interpretive signs allow for easy access to green roof information.

Since the vegetative roof itself is not accessible, the serpentine raised bed has displayed representative project plant material, and it also acts as a seating wall for visitors.  In 2010 Multnomah County and the City of Portland partnered and created the “Hope Garden” here and planted an organic vegetable garden.  With Tremco as roofing consultant, the roof also serves as a laboratory for green roof development with experiments conducted by various agencies, including Portland State University and the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services.

– To learn more about the Multnomah County Multnomah Building,  click on our project of the week photo on our homepage (or on the above photos).

What’s New

– We’d like to welcome Onset Computer Corp., our new advertiser here at Greenroofs.com!  Their HOBO ® data loggers are widely recognized as the industry standard for measuring and recording environmental conditions.

–  Greenroofs.com Press Release

¿Habla Español?  Then read our Virtual Summit 2013 Press Release now available in Spanish!

–  Sky Gardens Blog

– Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts:  “CitiesAlive 2012 is Next Week!” “Kevin Songer, our own Tropical Green Roof Editor, at TEDxRiversideAvondale on October 20, 2012,” and “Greenroofs.com’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: September 28, 2012.”

– “Upcoming Events“

–  October 17th-18th: is the 14th Annual 3 Rivers Wet Weather Sewer Conference, in Monroeville, PA.

–  October 17th-20th: is the CitiesAlive 2012 10th Annual Green Roof & Wall Conference, in Chicago, IL.  Linda and Haven will be presenting their 2012 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof and Greenwall Design, so make sure to attend their presentation on Friday!

–  And October 20th: is TEDxRiversideAvondale with Kevin Songer, our newest editor – The Tropical Green Roof Editor – in Jacksonville, FL (Follow on Twitter: @TEDxRA).

– “In the News“

–  Danielle Tcholakian of Metro.us reports on “Rooftop farm opens at East Village school building.”  The Robert Simon Complex in the East Village in New York City now features a rooftop farm designed by Michael Arad, the architect behind the 9/11 memorial.

Fifth Street Farm spans 2,400 square feet and will be used to educated students about the plants grown there and the environment.  Students will be growing, harvesting and eating their own herbs, vegetables and fruits. Capturing stormwater and using solar energy are also possibilities for the roof’s new addition.

– The PBS NewsHour talks about “Coping with Climate Change: Green Roofs of Chicago.”  Global temperatures are rising, and cities are facing the challenge of keeping their infrastructure and residents cool.  Chicago is tackling the problem with a green design makeover that includes 369 green roofs covering 5.5 million square feet, which is more than any other city in North America.

This article takes a look at some of the most impressive ones, starting with [Chicago] City Hall.  This 23,000 square foot green roof serves as a  test bed  for researching and measuring what green roofs can do.  This roof alone saves the city about $3,600 a year in heating and cooling costs.  Millennium  Park is 24.5 acres, and currently one of the largest greenroofs in the world.  It covers two parking garages, a railway and an opera hall.  Check out the full article for more amazing Chicago projects.

– To learn more about these stories and new ones posted daily, go to our In the News or Newslinks section of our website.

– Send us your green articles, videos and images to editor@greenroofs.com and share your greenroof or greenwall info with the world!

– Make sure to keep up with everything Greenroofs.com by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, being a member of our network on LinkedIn, and subscribing to our greenroofsTV channel on YouTube!

– This has been This Week in Review for October 12th,  2012 on GreenroofsTV.  I’m Anjuli Velázquez and I’ll see you next week!

*This week’s episode is sponsored by The Greenroof Directory, brought to you by Greenroofs.com.*


Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!

~ Linda V.

Greenroofs.com’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: October 5, 2012

October 6, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on Greenroofs.com through our “This Week in Review” video. Here is the transcript from October 5, 2012 from our daughter, Anjuli – click on the photo below to see the video, or here.  Enjoy!

– Hello, I’m Anjuli Velázquez and welcome to “This Week in Review” for October 5th, 2012 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–  Our project of the week is the Fashion Valley Mall Living Wall, built in 2012, in San Diego, California.  Fashion Valley Mall is an upscale, open-air shopping mall in Mission Valley and is the county’s largest regional mall.  The 800 sf living wall is located in a plaza and meeting place at the main entrance to the mall and is the newest component of a $15 million renovation nearing completion at the Mission Valley venue.  The project utilized 4,000 plants with the soil-based VGM ® planting system by Tournesol Siteworks and was completed by Greenscaped Buildings.

Each plant grew for four months in a controlled area before moving to Fashion Valley Mall.  Using triangulated drip irrigation, the wall is 18′ tall and 51′ wide and utilizes 250 Tournesol Siteworks modules.  The drip irrigation system uses gravity to flow water throughout the modules.  Meant to resemble the keys on a piano, plants used include spider plants, lemon button ferns, ribbon ferns, Ajuga, moneywort and mondo grass, among others.

– To learn more about the Fashion Valley Mall Living Wall,  click on our project of the week photo on our homepage (or on the above photos).

What’s New

Advertiser Press Releases:

–  Rouse Management Tops Off Parman Place Apartments in Madison Wisconsin with a LiveRoof ® Green Roof.

–  Green Living Technologies International: Green Living Roof Can Reduce SYSCO Foods Annual Cooling Energy Cost by 7%.

Industry News

–  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is pleased to announce the launch of a premium  collectable  publication that celebrates the biggest and brightest stars in the universe of living architecture.  “The Rise of Living Architecture” coffee table book features beautiful graphic profiles of over fifty visionaries who have fueled the explosive growth of green roofs and walls across North America over the past decade.  Its release will be celebrated at the CitiesAlive: 10th Annual Green Roof and Wall Conference, held October 17-20, 2012, in Chicago, IL.

– Portland Bureau of Environmental Services will begin accepting applications again in October 2012 for ecoroof construction.  The City of Portland offers an incentive to property owners and developers to add more ecoroofs.  The incentive program is part of Portland’s Grey to Green initiative to increase sustainable stormwater management practices, control non-native, invasive plants, and protect sensitive natural areas.

–  Sky Gardens Blog

– Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts:  “It’s Not Too Late for the 2012 World Green Roof Congress in Hangzhou, China!,” “Congrats to the Winners of the 2012 Green Roof and Wall Awards of Excellence,” and “Greenroofs.com’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: September 28, 2012.”

– Guest Blogger

–  Also check out our new Guest Blogger, Steve Waller, who writes about “Bridging the Urban Jungle: Mile End Park.”

– “Upcoming Events

–  October 15th: is the IHDC 2012 Conference – Ecosystem Services Come to Town, in London, UK.

–  And on October 17-20 is the big one, the 10th Annual Cities Alive Green Roof & Wall Conference in Chicago!

– “In the News“

–  Tamara Hinson of Metro asks, “Could the future of the environment be found within the vertical garden?”  More and more buildings are going green and choosing beautiful vegetated facades instead of cement ones.  French botanist Patrick Blanc is one of the world’s most famous vertical garden designers and realized the potential of vertical gardening after noticing the way some plants were able to grow vertically without soil and started creating ways of using lightweight, low-maintenance vegetation walls.

One of Patrick’s most famous creations is the vertical garden at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris.  The garden measures 200m by 12m high and features a wide range of plants including species native to Brazil, South Korea and the Himalayas. Toronto has plans for a Sky Farm, which will have eight million square feet of vertical growing space for crops and will bring in the same amount of produce as a 420 hectare farm.  And several buildings in Jakarta that have vertical gardens are living proof of the many benefits that come from green walls like producing fresh air, growing herbs and vegetables and reducing heating and cooling costs for the buildings.

–  Adam Thomas of the University of Delaware talks about, “Members of UD, Delaware community celebrate green roof completion.”  Not only the community and students celebrated but even U.S. Senator Tom Carper was in attendance last Friday on the new green roof.  Senator Carper said, “This new green roof project at the University of Delaware is a great example of the power of public-private partnerships.  With support from the state of Delaware, DuPont and the University of Delaware, this project is helping to lower energy use, clean the air and teach sustainable environmental practices to future generations at the same time.”

Chad Nelson, assistant professor of landscape design, didn’t want to use a membrane system but wanted a modular system consisting of 2-feet by 2-feet plastic trays that could be installed by the students and local volunteers and then moved for roof maintenance.  The green roof has heat-hardy plants including several varieties of colorful sedum, plus chives and crocus; and some of the benefits it will provide will be reducing carbon dioxide emissions, absorbing stormwater runoff, providing a living classroom for students, as well as giving them the opportunity for hands-on experience in growing and maintaining the plants.

– To learn more about these stories and new ones posted daily, go to our In the News or Newslinks section of our website.

– Send us your green articles, videos and images to editor@greenroofs.com and share your greenroof or greenwall info with the world!

– Make sure to keep up with everything Greenroofs.com by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, being a member of our network on LinkedIn, and subscribing to our greenroofsTV channel on YouTube!

– This has been This Week in Review for October 5th,  2012 on GreenroofsTV.  I’m Anjuli Velázquez and I’ll see you next week!

*This week’s episode is sponsored by The Greenroof Directory, brought to you by Greenroofs.com.*


Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!

~ Linda V.