Singapore Conference Next Week: Great City, Great Discount: G3P94K04!

October 25, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Have you read our latest Guest Feature,  “Save the Date: Skyrise Greenery Conference Singapore (1st-3rd November)” by Wolfgang Ansel from the  International Green Roof Association (IGRA) and Dr. Tan Puay Yok, Deputy Director, Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology (CUGE), National Parks Board?

And are you still planning on attending in awesome Singapore on November 1-3, 2010 but haven’t registered yet?   Well, this is probably your last chance to make a final decision – organized  by CUGE, a project of the National Parks Board of Singapore, and the International Green Roof Association  (IGRA), the conference will be held at the National Library.

Remember that is the Media Sponsor and has negotiated a spectacular deal with the organizers, guaranteeing you a special rate package rate that includes the conference, tour excursion and dinner.    

The promotional code for registration under the special discounted rate of S$1000.00 (less than $750 U.S.) per conference package for readers is: G3P94K04 – compare that to the normal Package Rate of $1,650 U.S.!

Here are just some highlights:

More than 450 delegates from 25 countries have already signed up for the conference, including 70 from China!

Who are attending the conference?
“¢  over 120 policy makers
“¢  over 60 developers and building owners
“¢  over 120 professionals including architects and planners
“¢  over  60 contractors and suppliers
“¢  over  80 from the academia

A must attend event for all academias, architects, planners, building material producers, city planners, engineering and contracting services, government officials, horticulturists, landscape architects, park owners and managers, project consultants, real estate and property developers, and estate and facility managers.   Don’t miss this opportunity to network, share and start new business relationships!  

Sign up now and join us from 1-3 November to gain insights from world renowned award winning experts who will share about the latest trends and innovations on green roofs, skyrise gardens and vertical greenery.

Keynote Speakers:

Get Exclusive Access and Be Inspired by World-Class Skyrise Greenery Projects in Singapore:

Seven unique skyrise greenery sites will be offered on the skyrise greenery tour in Singapore.   Several of these are usually not open to the public.   Learn firsthand from the site architects about the challenges of building a 200m high sky park (the incredible Marina Bay Sands, see the graphic above and actual incredible infinity pool photo below that circulated the Internet a few months ago),  be inspired by the ingenuity of developing a low cost patented skyrise greening system that requires minimal maintenance, and more.


Also, from hotels to schools, shopping malls to a dam across a channel – you can visit 13 must-see skyrise greenery sites within the city in Singapore with their walking map.

To  see  the complete line-up of speakers, register, and learn more, visit the International Skyrise Greenery Conference website.   See you in Singapore next week, where I’ll be presenting  Haven Kiers and my 2010 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design– we can’t wait!

~ Linda and Aramis V.

Come to the World Green Roof Congress 2010 in Mexico City on October 7-9!

September 29, 2010 at 6:06 pm

The Mexican Association for Green Roofing (AMENA by its acronym in Spanish), the Government of Mexico City’s Environment Secretary and the World Green Infrastructure Network  (WGIN) are presenting the World Green Roof Congress 2010 in Mexico City, Mexico on October 7-9, and we’ll be there.   I’ll be presenting our “2010 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design” here and hope to connect with colleagues I’ve only known via email and make new connections with professionals from across the globe, and specifically Latin America.

Did you know this is the first time a major greenroof conference is being held in Latin America?   Green architecture is not new here, and greenroofs and greenwalls are sprouting up throughout the  Spanish speaking (and Portuguese – we can’t forget Brazil!) populations of Mexico, Chile, Brazil,  Argentina, Costa Rica, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Peru, and more.   In fact, in terms of greenroof development, Mexico is one of the leading Latin American countries in square meters greened,  and Mexico City is the first city in Latin America to adopt a technical standard for the installation of greenroofs: the environmental standard NADF-013- RNAT.   Created by the Government of Mexico City’s Environment Secretary, this standard provides technical specifications for the installation of greenroofs in the city.

I don’t want to let all of the cats out of my bag yet, but Haven Kiers and my  “2010 Top 10 List” includes “The Greening of Latin America” in the #5 position – look for a press release soon on the rest!   This  Congress  represents an excellent business opportunity – anyone doing business or looking to do business in any of these countries should not miss out on this premier event!

“The Congress is a forum to promote green infrastructure for sustainable urban development. This exciting event will provide a better understanding of the benefits of different facets of green infrastructure. Furthermore, it will encourage the implementation and innovation of both green roofs and walls as well as other aspects of sustainable urban development.” ~ 2010 World Green Roof Congress Mexico City website

Experts from across the globe will be on hand to share experience and insights including Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Canada, the United States, Colombia, Cuba, Greece, Germany, Spain, India, Japan  and Australia,  and will provide a platform for the presentation of case studies, research results and policy initiatives with a particular focus on Latin American experiences.   The Congress will be simultaneously translated in English and Spanish.

Congress organizer Tanya Müller Garcia, President of founding WGIN  member AMENA  (Asociación Mexicana para la Naturación de Azoteas), says the Congress “will promote the implementation of green roofs and walls, offering innovative opportunities for the exchange of experiences and knowledge.”   Topics will include successful urban green infrastructure practices, environmental policy and the implementation of green technologies in large cities, scientific research, and the aesthetics and design of urban green infrastructure.


The Congress will be held at the beautiful five-star  Hilton Hotel Mexico City Reforma.   The hotel is ideally located on the Paseo de la Reforma, just steps away from Mexico City’s historical center, and there are four other area hotels that are offering us discounted rates.   On the third day of the Congress, participants can choose to either take a Course on  “Construction systems and guidelines for green roofs” – available only in Spanish – or take  one of two  Tours.   Each tour will visit six sites, providing the opportunity to visit  cutting-edge greenroof and wall projects in both public and private spaces.   Some of the greenroofs include these projects:

Being half-Latin myself (I’m half-Chilean), I’m very proud of the continuing proliferation of ecologically aware designs in Latin America and am looking forward to spending some time here in the vibrant metropolis of Mexico City.   (By the way, my Velazquez last name comes from my Cuban husband, Aramis!)

The cost for the Congress is a very affordable $250, which includes access to all conference presentations, coffee breaks, trade show, inaugural cocktail, closing cocktail and the guided greenroof and greenwall  tour.   If you are interested in Sponsorship opportunity information, download the brochure here, and for Exhibitor information, click here.   Below is one of the greenwall projects on the tour, the Restaurante Salotto in Mexico City:


Read all about the Congress in English or Spanish, and to register, click here.   For additional information about the World Green Roof Congress 2010 in Mexico City, please contact Luis Feijóo ( or Ulrike Grau ( or call AMENA: + 52-55-5676-2619.

Hope to see you there!   Espero verlos en el Congreso! ~ Linda V.

Learn About Green Walls with Linda & George in Atlanta

July 14, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Green architecture is really hot right now and after about a decade and a half’s worth of exploring the ecology of organic greenroof architecture in North America, greenwalls are the newest darlings in the green building world here and abroad.

More than just “green bling,” as one proponent told me recently, greenwalls add many benefits on their own to a building envelope.    While creating a lush and deliciously tactile  tapestry of living plants, they offer a showy feast for the eyes that are much more visually accessible than many of  their roofing counterparts.

I was asked to present on the subject last November for a local Atlanta USGBC group by Julia Gray Hines, ASID, RID, LEED AP ID+C of Chartreuse Inc. Interior Design Studio, and of course I  propsed our Green Wall Editor, George Irwin, too.   Julia suggested Atlanta City Hall  as a possible location, and I knew it was perfect because of their beautiful greenroof and the willingness of  its  resident (and entertaining)  landscape architect and greenroof guru, Bill Brigham, ASLA, to share his experiences.

Learn about early  influential designers such as the ground-breaking Austrian painter and architect Friedensreich  Hundertwasser, and more recent innovator French botanist  Patric Blanc and his Le Mur Vegetal, seen  above left  at the Musée du Quai Branly,  and see how designers are  pushing the limits in my compilation of the Top Hot Trends in  International Greenroof and Greenwall Design.   I’ll also provide a sneak preview of the Top 10 List for 2010 (which I’ll present along with our Design Editor, Haven Kiers, in Vancouver, B.C. at the upcoming 8th Annual CitiesAlive! Conference later this year).

Understand the differences between green façades and living walls from George Irwin, the many new systems available today –  along with options for growing media (including none at all!)  – as well as the new and exciting economic and social benefits and opportunities for urban vertical farming.

Presented on Thursday, July 22, 2010  by the USGBC Atlanta Events & Education Committee, you’ll receive 1.5 LEED Credential Maintenance Units offered, and the cost is an extremely affordable $10 for members and $20 for non-members!

Registration is open from 3:30-4:30 pm at Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Avenue SW Atlanta, GA 30303, on the fifth floor Cafeteria where  Bill will be on hand to show off the Atlanta City Hall Pilot Greenroof, the first public municipal non-irrigated vegetated roof, and then George and I will  speak from 4:30 to 6:00 pm.

Come join us next week for the USGBC  Georgia Chapter  “Green Walls, Red Tomatoes and Urban Farming,” a fun and informative afternoon  on the surging proliferation of  these architecturally  important, and sexy,  planted façades!   For more info, download the PDF here.


See you ~ Linda V.

I’m a GRP – thanks to NYC, a gracious host!

May 30, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Green Roof Professional DesignationI did it – I finally took my (GRP)  Green Roof Professional exam from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, passed, and am now part of the Class of 2009-10, the first year since the launch!

Of course you passed, my friends said, you’ve been at this since the late 1990’s, been called the “Queen of Greenroofs,” the Audubon Society said I was the “Dean of Greenroofs” several years back,  and Paul Kephart from Rana Creek  once told an audience in San Francisco that I  had a PhD in greenroofs!   I quickly thanked him for the educational upgrade, but explained  really I just have an undergraduate degree in landscape architecture…

Hold on, while it wasn’t that hard, it also wasn’t that easy – I didn’t quite  ace it, and it took some studying of the four Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ courses – well, really three (I didn’t study Green Roofs 101 – I did teach it, though,  for one stint during the introduction in Portland, OR,  in 2004 along with Patrick Carey, Haven Kiers, and Wendy Wark, pictured at right).   But that’s the point of the exam – to ensure a certain level of  comprehension of the philosophy and application of greenroof methodology and  technology, which also means to know your basic understanding of the combined black and green arts, and to know when to call in a seasoned professional in  one of those  particular  halves when necessary.

Even though I’ve been at this for over ten years with several greenroofs designed under my belt (plus writing about them, speaking, compiling the Projects Database with 1,028 profiles so far, etc.), I felt it was very important to receive my GRP designation for many reasons.   (I became a LEED AP in 2004 for similar reasonings.)   I had planned to take it here in Atlanta  last June, 2009 at the inaugural exam held during the 7th annual  Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference (now Cities Alive) and said so when I interviewed Jeff Bruce, but didn’t because I missed the registration deadline!

In any case, I took a look at all the cities offering the GRP exam this year and jumped at taking it New York City on Friday, April 30 because it’s  such a great town and we have friends there.    Aramis and I  had great hosts in Wendy and Chris Wark – Chris is our new “Energy Editor” and they’re long time greenroof compadres.   To welcome us, we had dinner at their place the night before and since Wendy is now  a director at Metro North Railroad, and she promised us a special late afternoon “insider”  tour of Grand Central Station, after my morning GRP exam at Pace University.

There were about 30 of us taking the exam, and all went smoothly.   Since we had the afternoon free, we roamed a bit, first exploring New York’s historic South Street Seaport next to the Brooklyn Bridge at the tip of Manhattan.    Most important for us, though, was to visit the Ground Zero site, pay our respects, and see the construction progress.   We started at the beautiful St. Paul’s Chapel.   Opened in 1766,  it’s Manhattan’s oldest public building in continuous use – a place where George Washington worshiped and 9/11 recovery workers received round-the-clock care, and lingered at each of the memorials to the  victims of that horrific day – personal mementos, photos, and messages to lost ones.   We  also visited  the Ground Zero Museum Workshop  alongside a throng of international visitors, where we  reflected at rare, heart-pulling  images of the day  and  the models and plans of the new Freedom Tower and more.

Wendy then showed us the  bustling, beautiful and  massive Grand Central Terminal,  revealing seven little know secrets about its Beaux-Arts architecture and past…Did you know that the four-sided brass  clock in the center of the information booth in the main concourse holds the four largest opals in the world?   Drinks  at MAD46 were next – a trendy  rooftop lounge (of course!) followed by dinner at Guantanamera,  a wonderful  Cuban restaurant.

On Saturday Wendy, Chris, Aramis, and I  spent our last day in the Meatpacking District  touring the much publicized 1.45-mile (2.33  km)  High Line, which was packed with people sightseeing, pushing baby strollers and wheelchairs,  and even some taking in the  sun in  the extremely hot sunshine.   I found the High Line to be an extremely successful example of public space:  interesting  regenerative design in the form of  ecological reuse of a former urban blight.

Originally constructed in the 1930s to lift dangerous freight trains off Manhattan’s streets, it was abandoned in 1980.   But today the High Line is an elevated  public park owned by the City of New York and operated under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.  Designed by the landscape architecture firm of James Corner Field Operations and architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro with planting design from Piet Oudolf and engineering design by Buro Happold, the first section opened to the public in June, 2009.

“The park welcomes visitors with naturalized plantings that are inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew on the disused tracks and with new, often unexpected views of the city and the Hudson River. Pebble-dash concrete walkways unify the trail, which swells and constricts, swinging from side to side, and divides into concrete tines that meld the hardscape with the planting embedded in railroad gravel mulch. Stretches of track and ties recall the High Line’s former use. Most of the planting, which includes 210 species, is of rugged meadow plants, including clump-forming grasses, liatris and coneflowers, with scattered stands of sumac and smokebush, but not limited to American natives.” ~ Wikipedia

Although I found the site’s modernist  hotel to border on hideous, I loved the High Line’s  overall design – its honesty to its railroad past – and the planting  flow of this linear park spanning 22 city blocks, which in effect is a very large greenroof!

Which brings me back to the reason for this post – to let you know I am a proud GRP, and if you are involved with our industry or are considering entering, I highly recommend you pursue this course of study and sit for the exam – even if you, too, have been doing this for over 10 years (or more!).

Thanks to the Warks and to NYC!   Speaking of New York City, look for our second installment of  Sky Gardens ~ Greenroofs of the World WebTV series in about a month or two.   Sponsored by Green Roof Blocks, we’re highlighting the fabulous Cook+Fox Architects Corporate Offices  and their 8th floor penthouse greenroof in Manhattan!

As usual, happy greening! ~ Linda V., GRP