Chris Wark’s 2011 Green Roof Energy Series on PDF

June 23, 2011 at 3:37 pm

For those fans out there of our Energy Editor, Chris Wark, you’ll be pleased to know that we now have his entire 7-part series “Cooler than Cool Roofs: How Heat Doesn’t Move Through a Green Roof“ available as a handy PDF.

Explaining the key aspects of green roof heat transfer issues and the best ways to take advantage of a green roof’s energy benefits, “Cooler than Cool Roofs: How Heat Doesn’t Move Through a Green Roof” has been‘s most popular  series so far, as evidenced by the huge amount of commentary that we have received.

For those of you unfamiliar with Chris Wark’s work, these are the 7 articles in their original format:

“Cooler than Cool Roofs: How Heat Doesn’t Move Through a Green Roof”

Green Roof Energy Series Intro – April 5, 2010

Part 1: The Essentials – Heat Transfer by Layer – May 4, 2010

Part 2: Evapotranspiration – June 29, 2010

Part 3: Keeping Drought-Resistant Plants Cool – July 31, 2010

Part 4: When Weight is Good – September 21, 2010

Part 5: Assuming Insulation – November 29, 2010

Part 6: Green Roofs vs. Cool Roofs – March 2, 2011

Part 7: The Secret and How To Use It – April 28, 2011

Copyright 2011 Christopher Wark

Download Chris Wark’s complete 32-page Green Roof Energy Series PDF and enjoy!  Send your comments to Chris at: and look for more articles and the occasional blog post from him, too, in the near future.

~ Linda V.”™s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: June 3rd, 2011

June 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on through our “This Week in Review” video.   Here’s the transcript from June 3, 2011 from our daughter, Anjuli –  click on the photo below to see the video, or here.   Enjoy!

– Hello, I’m Anjuli Velazquez and welcome to This Week in Review for June 3rd, 2011, on    GreenroofsTV.

–  Project of the Week

–   Our project of the week is the Southface Eco Office built in 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.  After receiving its ENERGY STAR label and Platinum LEED certification in 2009, the Southface Eco Office officially opened with its beautiful rooftop greenroof.  The Turner Foundation Green Roof on top of the third floor expands the office space into a rooftop patio with a magnificent view of downtown Atlanta.  The growing media is about 4 inches deep, and was planted with a variety of Sedums, Delospermas, Talinums, and Hens and Chicks in March of 2008 by Southface staff and volunteers.  Some of the highlights of this greenroof include: Walkway squares made of recycled rubber which were salvaged from a nearby building project; Louisiana Pacific Weatherbest decking, which is a composite product made from HDPE plastic and post-industrial recycled wood, and, of course, the succulent plants that reduce the heat island effect, as well as manage stormwater run-off by filtering and diverting water to the site cistern.

–  To learn more about the Southface Eco Office  greenroof, click on our project of the week photo on our homepage.

What’s New“

–  Advertiser Press Releases:

–   Skyland USA – rooflite ® Announces Ryan Paxton as the New CRM Program Director.

–  Bison Innovative Products supports Green Roofs for the West Symposium in Denver, Colorado on June 16th, 2011.

–  Industry News

–   The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Philadelphia Water Department will sign a groundbreaking agreement that will allow the PWD to officially implement its Green City, Clean Waters plan.  PWD plans to spend approximately $2 billion over the next 25 years to use largely green infrastructure to transform manmade surfaces that repel the rain into green acres that capture, infiltrate and manage rainwater runoff””just like Mother Nature.

–   Read our new Guest Student Article, “Ecological, Social, and Policy Factors Influencing Biodiversity on Green Roofs“ by Bracha (Y.) Schindler.  Last year she studied six different greenroofs in the Boston area and discusses how a diversity of arthropods may improve greenroof functioning by resulting in pest control and decomposition of organic materials in the soil.

–   Over at the Sky Gardens Blog, make sure to check out Linda’s latest posts for our GPW, the Southface Eco Office, last week’s “This Week in Review“ on GreenroofsTV, and “Come see 401 Richmond this weekend in Toronto – doors are open!“

–   “Upcoming Events“

–   June 4th – 5th: there is a Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Washington.

–   June 5th: is World Environment Day!

–   June 8th: is a Green Roofs for Healthy Cities – Green Roof Professional Exam in New York, New York.

–   And June 9th: is the Green Roof and Wall Networking and Information Evening in Toronto, Canada.

–  For more Upcoming Events visit our homepage.

–   “In the News“

–   Adam Crisp of reports on “Red Bank High School students plant green roof, promote unconventional urban agriculture.”  Along with absorbing rainwater and cooling the high school, the Red Bank greenroof in Chattanooga, TN, is growing vegetables for its students.  Teacher LuShan Webb said, “It gives the students valuable hands-on experience outside the classroom…It teaches them how you can do sustainable agriculture in small areas.”  Advanced placement biology students are maintaining the greenroof as well as using it as an outdoor lab.

–   Susan DeFreitas of EarthTechling says “Bon Jovi Gets Behind Affordable Green Housing.”  Project H.O.M.E. and Bethesda Project have announced that Conelly House, the first LEED-certified, affordable housing facility in the city center of Philadelphia is now complete.  Also involved in the announcement were Mayor Michael A. Nutter, rock star celebrity Jon Bon Jovi, Cardinal Justin Rigali and Brian Hudson from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.  Among others, eco-friendly elements for this building include highly insulated walls, a rainwater collection system for irrigation and non-potable use, high-efficiency mechanical and lighting  systems, and a greenroof.

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

–   Have something you think we should know about and post on our website?   You can send us your green articles, videos and images to

–   Stay up-to-date with what’s going on at by subscribing to our  greenroofsTV channel on YouTube, following us on  Twitter, liking us on  Facebook and being a member of our network on  LinkedIn.

–   This has been This Week in Review for June 3, 2011 on GreenroofsTV.  I’m Anjuli Velazquez and I’ll see you next week!

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

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

~ Linda V.

GPW: Aqua

May 11, 2011 at 10:59 pm Project of the Week: 5/9/11

Chicago, IL, USA
80,000 sf. Greenroof

Year: 2009
Aqua at Lakeshore East, LLC
Building Type: Multi-Use
Type: Intensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 80,000 sq.ft.
Slope: 2%
Access: Private
Location: Chicago, IL, USA

Project Description & Details

Designed to comply with LEED certification, Aqua is a mixed-use residential skyscraper overlooking Harbor Park, the center of the Lakeshore East development on the shores of Lake Michigan, and is setting new heights for innovation and beauty among Chicago skyscrapers.  Each floor of the 82-story tower has an architectonic facade of sensuously swerving white concrete balconies jumping out from amongst its stolid brethren.  Each floor plate is uniquely different, designed to remind viewers of the limestone outcroppings along the Great Lakes.

The 80,000 sf intensive Greenroof-Roofscapes ® System roof garden by Barrett Company capping Aqua’s three-story podium roof provides a naturalistic, eco-friendly landscape that reduces the building’s interior temperature and cooling energy requirements in the summer significantly and reduces winter heat loss.  The swirling garden with paths reminiscent of Robert Burle-Marxe includes native and non-native vegetation of evergreen trees, shrubbery, grasses, deciduous trees, sedum and various annuals of great color and diversity, watered by an efficient drip irrigation system.  Challenges addressed in creating and sustaining Aqua’s rooftop garden included weight limitations and water filtration.  Because of occupied areas below, an International Leak Detection (ILD) system was installed to protect against membrane damage as well as other electric field leakage problems.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Developer and Executive Architect: Todd Wendell, P.M., Loewenberg & Associates
Waterproofing/Greenroof-Roofscapes ® System: Tim Barrett, President, Barrett Co.
Design Architect: Jeanne Gang, AIA, Principal, The Studio Gang
Landscape Architect: Ted Wolff, Wolff Landscape Architecture
Waterproofing Applicator Contractor: Mark Caruso, P.M., Kedmont Waterproofing
Construction Contractor, Sr. Project Manager: Randy Bullard, James McHugh Construction Co.
Landscape Contractor: Patricia Sund, Executive VP, Countryside Industries, Inc.
Electric Field Vector Mapping (EFVM ®): International Leak Detection (ILD)

Architect Jeanne Gang’s Aqua Tower rises distinctively amongst its modernist Chicago neighbors, and Aqua’s roof deck presents an unparalleled combination of amenities along with its extraordinary topography.  Already considered Chicago’s newest architectural landmark, equally imposing is an amenities package, known as The Shore Club, which is comparable to a world-class resort.  It includes the distinctive 80,000 sf living roof deck – the largest in the city –  with its luxury gardens, gazebos, pools and cabañas, hot tub, running track, fire pit and grills.  Indoors, a 35,000 sf amenity floor provides fitness facilities, an indoor lap pool, a spa featuring a hot tub, sauna, steam and massage room, a basketball court, private club suites with catering kitchens, media room, billiards and game area, business center with conference room, skygarden lounge and concierge services.

Here’s a cool photo of the Aqua greenroof under construction from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, and below it a plan view from Studio Gang Architects, via Metropolis Magazine:

“Gang extruded the floor slabs to enhance views of key sites in the area and analyzed the building’s seasonal sun exposure to optimize their shading potential, then softened the curves for aesthetic effect.”

1: Lake Michigan 0.3 mi; 2: Navy Pier 0.5 mi; 3: Lakeshore East Park 0.1 mi; 4: North Shoreline 1.0 mi; 5: BP Bridge 0.2 mi; 6: Cloud Gate 0.2 mi. ~ Metropolis Magazine

As you probably know by now,  Aqua recently won our “Love the Earth, Plant a Roof! Earth Day Photo Contest” submitted by Linda Smith of Barrett Company, garnishing the most votes in our annual popularity contest for favorite pictures chosen by our readers  of outstanding living roofs on Facebook through the end of April.   Aqua represents a vegetated roof project whose design and function clearly illustrates the concept of “Loving the Earth” through its sustainable design.  Granted, the luxury $4 billion development is not economically viable or sustainable for everyone, though!  But don’t get me wrong – it’s awesome to see healthy environmental design incorporated into high end properties.

“At 82 stories and over 1.9 million sf, Aqua Tower is one of few high-rises in the world that creates a community on its façade.  With a hotel, apartments, condominiums, parking, offices, and one of Chicago’s largest green roofs, this multi-use tower demonstrates both architectural and technical achievements.  Its outdoor terraces””which differ in shape from floor to floor based on criteria such as views, solar shading and dwelling size/type””create a strong connection to the outdoors and the city, as well as form the tower’s distinctive undulating appearance.” ~  Studio Gang Architects

Some of Aqua’s real awards include 2010 International Highrise Award Finalist, Deutsches Architekturmuseum; 2009 Skyscraper of the Year, Emporis; 2009 Annual Design Review Honorable Mention, Architect Magazine; 2009 “Proggy” Award, PETA; and the 2008 American Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture & Design.

Aqua has a large selection of vegetation on the podium greenroof – here’s the Aqua’s entire site Plant List:

Fort McNair Horsechestnut;
Kentucky Coffeetree;
Austrian Pine;
Crimson Pygmy Barberry;
Dwarf Golden Barberry;
Green Velvet Boxwood;
Wintergreen Boxwood;
Cranberry Cotoneaster;
Sea Green Juniper;
Blue Rug Juniper;
Andorra Juniper;
Japanese Kerria;
Gro-low Sumac;
Green Mound Alpine Currant;
Pink Knockout Rose;
Anthony Waterer Spirea;
Goldflame Spirea;
Little Princess Spirea;
Miss Kim Lilac;
Dense Yew;
Hicks Yew;
Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass;
Purple Maiden Grass;
Hameln Dwarf Fountain Grass;
Japanese Blood Grass;

Daylily Mix –  Includes a mix of the following:
Happy Returns Daylily
Summer Wine Daylily
Stella de Oro Daylily;
Palace Purple Coralbells;
Variegated Sweet Iris;
Munstead Lavender;
Russian Sage;
Viette’s Little Suzy Black-eyed Susan;
Goldsturm Black-eyed Susan;
Autumn Joy Sedum.

Aqua is reportedly the world’s tallest building designed by a woman-owned firm (at least in 2009) – make sure to read the article by Blair Kamin in the Chicago Tribune here, where you can see his YouTube video of the site under construction – photo below:

Also, you can see a more recent video and read more about the Aqua in the June 29, 2010 “Finding Home – the hidden neighborhood of Lakeshore East” blog post by Rochelle Vayo Adkinson in Chicago Now here, photo below.

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!  Click  here to see more information about this project in  The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.  See how you can submit yours  here.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.


The Winner of our 2011 “Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!” Earth Day Photo Contest Is…

April 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Photo submissions and voting stopped yesterday for‘s second annual “Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!” Earth Day Photo Contest and with a total of 71 votes, the winner is:

Aqua in Chicago, Illinois, USA!

“The Aqua, Chicago, Illinois, USA taken by Tim Barrett, Barrett Company, Millington, NJ” ~ Linda Smith

Well, it’s not the most descriptive entry by a long shot, but it sure makes up for it visually.  Congratulations to Linda Smith from Barrett Company who submitted this lovely project!  One of the tallest buildings in Chicago, the Aqua is a $4 billion development with an 80,000 sf intensive greenroof.  The 82-story mixed-use residential skyscraper is located in the Lakeshore East development in downtown Chicago designed in the Modern architectural style.  The beautiful terrace gardens comes complete with gazebos, pools, hot tubs, a walking/running track and even a fire pit.

Linda will receive a check for $100 and we’ll be highlighting it soon as our GPW, or Greenroof Project of the Week.  I want to get more shots of this stunning recreational greenroof and project info to share with you first.

The Aqua was neck and neck with Cultivated Abundance, another beautiful and sensitive project in New York City, below.  But yesterday, Friday, the voting really got furious and it’s obvious the Aqua fans made the difference into the evening hours.

Cultivated Abundance was submitted by Jennifer Nitzky from Mark K Morrison Landscape Architecture PC and came in second place, receiving a total of 59 votes.  I have to say that Jennifer’s write up is certainly the best – remember I wanted everyone to tell us why they felt their project was worthy of being an example of loving the Earth?  Read her entry below:

“Cultivated Abundance, a 2,000 SF intensive/extensive green roof with commanding views of New York Harbor is located on the penthouse of The Visionaire, a LEED Platinum residential high rise in Battery Park City. This dynamic intensive/extensive green roof in New York City sets a new precedent for cultivated abundance while incorporating such sustainable initiatives as recycling gray water for irrigation and retaining 95% of storm water on site. The vision and collaborative efforts of the landscape architect and client resulted in a residential landscape which celebrates bio-diversity, environmental responsibility and provides an urban farming component worthy of educational dialogue for urbanites looking to produce their own food with over 160 different species of plants. (photo credit: Mark K Morrison, RLA, FASLA, GRP)”

This year, we organized our Photo Contest a bit differently from last and utilized Facebook – each person could vote multiple times for their favorite, but just one time per day.  In 2010 we had a total of 1,500 votes for readers’ favorites, compared to this year’s 212 votes.  This really lowered the overall number of votes per project, but we felt it would provide a fairer approach than simply voting a ton of times a day for your favorite.  In any case, it’s still a popularity contest!

It’s been fun for me to read all 161 of the comments from everyone on Facebook – most are short and sweet, which is a great way to get the point across quickly.  You can still do that, too, if you’re interested, and see who voted for whom by clicking on each photo.

There were a lot of cool projects from which to choose, from small to large, single family residential to huge institutional.  I’d like to include each of these in our Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database so that we can all learn more about them and see more photos, too.  See everyone’s submissions and their total vote counts here.

As Earth Month comes to a close for 2011, I hope we all continue honoring our planet with thoughtful decisions, living roofs and walls, and more forward-thinking sustainable design.

Happy greening!

~ Linda V.