Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 5: Greenroofs & Walls for Educational & Social Equity in the Bronx

January 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Today we have the pleasure to air our first of seven panel sessions from our  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit on and our  GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:  “Greenroofs & Walls for Educational & Social Equity in the Bronx” featuring New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Robert Bieder, Jon Beuttler, Jess Dannhauser, Javier Lopez and Steve Ritz.

We feel extremely honored to have had seven luminaries join us from New York City who are all passionate about where they all work, The Bronx.  This is a very important roundtable discussion to hear for those people interested in learning about the passion and commitment of the civic, education, and business leaders of The Bronx and her constituents – and it’s also a great venue to see their real life challenges and triumphs of promoting and implementing greening policies as well:

Fueled by a passionate and committed Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz Jr., it is common knowledge that the Bronx is leading NYC in embracing green technologies and the green economy. To wit, the policies and educational initiatives underway in and of the Bronx are making dramatic strides in the quality of life and opportunities for all residents with concentric benefits and ripples felt citywide, statewide and nationally.

This panel featuring: a State Senator, noted business leader, NYC project manager, health care manager, social service providers and a dedicated educator speaks to triple bottom line benefits, impacts and the uses of green roofs, green walls, and urban agriculture as highly replicable, critical components to creating and leveraging social equity and economic and educational opportunities in challenging times.

“Greenroofs & Walls for Educational & Social Equity in the Bronx” Panel
Robert BiederBronx, NY, USA. Robert Bieder is a third generation Bronx businessman who, with his family, owns and operates Westchester Square Plumbing Supply where this past December they had installed solar panels and reduced their electric costs by 60%. In addition, they are a leading distributor of water and fuel saving devices. Bob is also a member of the Bronx Coalition for Parks & Greenspaces, Chairman of the Bronx Merchants Coalition, and a member of Bronx Community Board 10.

Bob is the Moderator for “Greenroofs & Walls for Educational & Social Equity in the Bronx.”

Jon BeuttlerNew York, NY, USA. Jonathan Beuttler is a Project Manager in the Division of New Construction of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the largest municipal developer of affordable housing in the nation. Prior to joining HPD, Jonathan wrote successful grant proposals for urban farming start-ups and policy proposals supporting growth in the urban farming industry. Jonathan has worked at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the Fashion Center Business Improvement District and is a return Peace Corps volunteer.
Jess DannhauserNew York, NY, USA. Jess Dannhauser is Graham Windham‘s Senior Vice President for Program Performance and Planning. Jess came to Graham Windham from the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) where he had been serving as the Associate Commissioner for Performance Measurement, Monitoring and Improvement. As Associate Commissioner, he was in charge of ACS’s performance measurement and consultation system which aims to drive performance improvements in all of New York City’s non-profit child welfare agencies. He has extensive experience in New York City agencies as the former Chief of Staff for Commissioner John Mattingly and the Special Assistant to now Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs when she was Commissioner at the Department of Homeless Services. Jess received his Master’s of Social Work from the University of California, Berkeley and his BA in Psychology from Duke University.
Ruben Diaz, Jr.Bronx, NY, USA. Elected Bronx Borough President in the Special Election on April 21st, 2009, Ruben Diaz Jr., previously served in the New York State Assembly since 1997, representing the 85th Assembly District. He demonstrated passion for constituent service, social advocacy and community empowerment balanced with support for sensible, green economic development and job creation programs. He sponsored and secured passage of important and innovative laws to address the consequences of the intolerable levels of asthma in the South Bronx, healthcare insurance fraud, and quality of life concerns. Throughout his seven terms in the State Legislature, Ruben Diaz Jr. was a champion for working families in the Bronx. A staunch defender of the environment, he is a leading voice against environmental racism and injustice. He graduated from Lehman College, City University of New York, with a Bachelors degree in political theory.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. was interviewed after the panel session for at the Bronx County Courthouse.

Javier LopezNew York, NY, USA. Javier Lopez is the Director of the New York City Strategic Alliance for Health (SAfH). SAfH is a consortium of advocates, community activists, organizations and professionals with an interest in lessening the impact of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in Northern Manhattan, North and Central Brooklyn, and the South Bronx. The goal of the consortium is to develop local obesity prevention policy, system, environmental changes that can be adopted citywide. Javier has a BA from the State University of New York at Albany and a Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College where he was also named a member of the National Urban Fellow program. In 2007 he was named a member of Cornell University’s “Strength through Diversity” Young Professionals Leadership Program.
Gustavo RiveraBronx, NY, USA. New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico and graduated from the University of Puerto Rico. In 1998, Rivera came to New York to begin a doctoral program in political science at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has lived in the Bronx for ten years. Gustavo Rivera was elected State Senator for New York Senate District 33 in November of 2010. The 33rd Senate District consists of the Northwest Bronx including Kingsbridge Heights, East Tremont, Crotona Park, Fordham, Bedford Park and parts of Riverdale. As a State Senator, Gustavo Rivera has been working to change the way business is done in the legislature and to ensure that the families of the 33rd Senate District have a voice in Albany. In addition to serving as a State Senator, Gustavo Rivera continues to serve as an adjunct professor at Pace University, where he teaches courses in political science. For the last ten years, Rivera has also served as a faculty member and mentor for “Somos el Futuro,” the annual Model State Senate program sponsored by CUNY, SUNY, the NY State Assembly, and the Puerto Rican Hispanic Task.
Steve RitzBronx, NY, USA. Stephen Ritz is an acclaimed NYC DOE educator/administrator whose work in the Bronx continues to attract national attention and support. To date, he has grown more than 20,000 pounds of Bronx vegetables with his extended Bronx Family – the youngest certified workforce in America – who operate a profitable, in school, student Farmers Market and routinely install green walls and green roofs across NYC/NYS. Steve continually champions living wage opportunities along with stellar academic results for his students and his work has been recognized and celebrated by CNN, NBC, ABC, NY Academy of Medicine, US EPA, USS Intrepid, United Nations amongst others. Learn more about him and support his newest vision on Facebook and YouTube.

The “Greenroofs & Walls for Educational & Social Equity in the Bronx” video was filmed at the Bronx office of State Senator Gustavo Rivera in September, 2011. Enjoy!  Visit to see “Greenroofs & Walls for Educational & Social Equity in the Bronx” or click below:

Next week on January 21st, 2012, Bronx educator Steve Ritz will be presenting at the sold-out  TEDxManhattan on this very subject.  See him at right, standing next to one of the GLT Mobile Edible Wall Units – full of fresh herbs and veggies -which he uses in his classrooms.  (See Caroline Menetre‘s related “GLT in NYC: A Weekend of Training, Education, & Fun”  Sky Gardens Blog post of January 21, 2011.)

Congratulations, Steve!

Watch earlier videos on our exclusive Virtual Summit playlist, or see the following Virtual Summit videos now available on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:

If you’re looking for an overview, make sure to see our  2011 Virtual Summit Highlights video (6:18) and our  2011 Virtual Summit Trailer (2:59).

Check back next week on GreenroofsTV for our 6th installment from the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011!

~ Linda V.’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: November 18, 2011

December 27, 2011 at 6:29 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 November 18th, 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 November 18th on  GreenroofsTV.

–  Project of the Week

–   Our project of the week is the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Rooftop Healing Gardens built in 2010 in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. The 90,000 sf LEED-Gold certified facility has other sustainable building elements besides the “wellness” area rooftop garden, including an array of over 200 solar photovoltaic panels that provide the hospital with 45 kilowatts of power and a Connection to the Natural World, Places of Healing and Respite. “Martha’s Vineyard Hospital was able to meet this innovative credit by incorporating many Planetree patient-focused elements into the new facility that enhanced patient healing; including views, natural light, privacy, and access to healing gardens.” Weston Solutions’ Northeast GreenGrid team provided a plant mix including grasses, perennials, and sedums that are proven to be reliable in the Northeast climate and that bloom at various times during the season, creating an always welcoming space for hospital visitors, patients, and staff.

To learn more about the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Rooftop Healing Gardens, click on our project of the week photo on our  homepage.

What’s New“

–   Our new 2012 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ 12 Month Wall Calendar will be available soon for purchase, so check back and get a fun gift for you, your family, friends, staff and clients!

Industry News Update

–   The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) just released a new report, “Rooftops to Rivers II: Green Strategies for Controlling Stormwater and Combined Sewer Overflows.” It looks at 14 cities that are choosing to use green infrastructure as a cost-effective means to reduce the flooding and water pollution caused by both extreme and everyday storms.

–   Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts: “’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: November 4, 2011,” “This Week in Review” for October 28th, 2011 and our GPW.

– “Upcoming Events“

–   November 16th-23rd: Dusty Gedge will have Living Roofs Presentations & Workshops in various locations in New Zealand.

–   November 28th-December 9th: is a Conference of the Parties COP17 2011 Climate Summit in Durban, South Africa.

–   November 30th: is a Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Green Roof Professional Exam in Philadelphia, PA.

–   November 30th-December 1st: is the GOVGREEN Conference and Exposition in Washington, DC.

–   November 30th-December 3rd: is the CitiesAlive 2011 9th Annual Green Roof & Wall Conference in Philadelphia, PA. will be there – will you?   Linda and Haven Kiers will be presenting their Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design on Friday, December 2, so don’t miss it!

–   And December 1st: is a Green Wall and Roof Forum by Green Living Technologies in Philadelphia, PA.

– “In the News“

–   Gail Johnson of Globe and Mail, talks about how it’s “Easy to be green when your roof saves you money” in Port Coquitlam, Canada. She says, “Thousands of hand-planted sedums and succulents cover the roofs of Walmart and Canadian Tire, anchor tenants at the Onni Group’s Fremont Village shopping centre.” The newly opened outlets abide by the Canadian bylaw that requires buildings of more than 5,000 square meters to use greenroof technology. Mayor Greg Moore realizes that there was some resistance from developers to the city’s new sustainability initiative but the shift to green roofs is a sign of things to come. Developers are now expressing interest in using environmentally sound technology in smaller structures as well. We know that greenroofs help reduce stormwater run off and help offset the urban heat-island effect which they can do through daily dew and evaporation cycles, allowing plants to cool cities during hot weather. Energy savings continue throughout the life of the building, which typically would be twice as long as a traditional roof.


–   Craig Welch of The Seattle Times, reports on “Vancouver, BC, works to be greenest of all.” Vancouver has announced its desire to become the greenest city in the world by 2020. Welch says, “The city is moving to reduce solid waste by 50 percent, cut residents’ carbon footprints by a third and dramatically increase public transit, walking and bike use. It is packing citizens in more densely, trying to encourage more locals to grow food and generally urging lighter living on the land.” One example of how the city is striving to be the greenest is in its drive to substantially cut the waste it sends to landfills. Canada is increasingly making industries take responsibility for disposal of the products they sell, which means that citizens can drop unwanted goods off at facilities paid for by their manufacturers. Vancouver has already achieved success as it continues to get attention from around the world for its efforts to be an eco-leader; and it is inspiring a new generation of innovators.

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 and share your greenroof or green wall info with the world!

– Make sure to keep up with everything 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 November 18th, 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.

Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 2: The 2011 Hot Top 10 List by Linda Velazquez and Haven Kiers

December 14, 2011 at 11:48 am

As I promised at our presentation at CitiesAlive in Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago, today we are airing Haven Kiers‘ and my2011 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design”  from our Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit on and our  GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube.

“This is our fifth anniversary of the “Top 10 List” and an amazing amount of development has occurred over the past five years in the vegetative roofing industry.  Projects that were once scoffed at and considered impossible to get built are popping up all over the globe, and greenroofs are no longer considered fringe architecture, destined to be the first sacrifice to value engineering.

“To honor the new ubiquity of architectural greening, this year our Top 10 will focus on greenroofs at all different scales, from micro to macro.

“As “vegitecture” increasingly becomes a mainstay of both sustainable and cutting edge design, the list of greenroof and greenwall trends continues to expand.

This year we’re showcasing greening at both the micro and the macro scale, from small scale DIY greenroof projects to towering skyscrapers stacked with fruit and vegetable crops, parks, and energy facilities atop sky gardens, walls and bridges.” ~ Haven Kiers and Linda Velazquez

I have to say that Haven and I had a blast putting this together, and especially filming it together!  She flew to Atlanta last September just for the occasion, and I think you’ll really get a feel for our enthusiasm.

And, since we didn’t have any time restrictions like we normally do at all the conferences – where we have to speed through our project selections – here we took our time a bit more and, as a result, feature quite a few more projects that you would normally see.

Enjoy!  Visit to see the “2011 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design”  or click below.

We’ll be working over the next few weeks to add most of the projects here to the Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database so you can learn more about each.  We appreciate your feedback, and welcome your thoughts on the new and newsworthy projects for our 2012 Top 10 Hot List!  Feel free to contact Haven me directly at and me at

Didn’t get to see the Opening Keynote Address “A New Place”video by  Charlie Miller yet which we featured last week?  No problem – watch it after the Top 10 on the exclusive Virtual Summit play list.

If you’re looking for an overview, make sure to see our  2011 Virtual Summit Highlights video (6:18) and our  2011 Virtual Summit Trailer (2:59).

Check back next week on GreenroofsTV for our 3rd installment from the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011!

~ Linda V.

See all the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Videos on!

December 6, 2011 at 6:18 pm

We received a lot of positive feedback from attendees  participating in our inaugural Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 this past September through October about the very high quality of the speakers we offered for such an affordable price…

…And conversely, a lot of speakers have asked us if their videos would be available afterwards for viewing by the general public – those who did not pay the $49 or $25 to attend.

We certainly do not want all of the Virtual Summit’s speakers’ efforts and great information to go to waste”¦and we feel that our readership would love to see the content!

So,‘s plan is to show each of our 4 keynote speakers, 7 panel sessions, and 19 video presentations (plus my opening and closing remarks) in its entirety as we played it at the 2011 Virtual Summit – from everyone who grants us permission.

You can see my Opening Welcome and Overview now, along with the Virtual Summit Highlights Video and the Trailer on  We’ll be showing our  Opening Keynote Speaker Charlie Miller as the first featured video tomorrow, on Wednesday, December 7 followed by one or two videos a week thereafter which we’ll highlight on our Homepage.

Once played, each video will remain available to everyone on demand on the page and our  GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube.  We hope to  show everyone what they missed at our inaugural Virtual Summit and create buzz for the 2012 Virtual Summit!

If you didn’t join us for 2011 we hope you will in 2012 – then you won’t have to wait months to see all of the great new keynote, panel, and presentation videos!

We hope you enjoy each of the 32 videos and use them in the future for your reference – we’re very proud of the wonderful collaborations from around the world.  Please share with your greenroof and greenwall colleagues.

Happy greening ~

Linda V.