World Green Roof Congress 2010 Abstract Submissions Due on Friday

March 9, 2010 at 11:22 am

As a final reminder, those of you wishing to present in London, UK,  this September 15-16, 2010 at the World Green Roof Congress, you  need to submit your abstracts by this Friday, March 12!   Abstracts are invited for submission on a range of topics.

The World Green Roof Congress  is hosted and delivered by CIRIA and   We were there in 2008  and had a grand time in a wonderful setting with many knowledgeable speakers!   The Congress attracted over  300 delegates from around 15 countries and numerous exhibitors.   Hopefully you will attend this year, too, and further your greenroofing experience!

Call for Papers

“The World Green Roof Congress in 2010 will showcase green roofs and green walls, and how we can progress their delivery and achieve their mainstream inclusion in buildings. The Congress will also focus on what can be done to fully exploit the multiple benefits of green roofs and adapt to a changing climate.

The Congress committee are looking for papers, presentations and case studies that demonstrate the delivery of green roofs and green walls providing a diverse range of benefits, and the evidence base to demonstrate that they not only look aesthetically pleasing but bring significant socio and economic benefits.

The Congress is keen to have papers and presentations that cover these themes: 1. International green roof case studies; 2. British green roof case studies; 3. Policy and regulations for green roofs; 4. Up on the roof – urban agriculture, amenity and place making; 5. Planting and growing media for green roofs; 6. Biodiversity benefits; 7. Water management benefits; 8. Green roofs and climate change adaptation; 9. Retrofitting green roofs; and 10. Delivery of green roofs.”

The Call for Papers closes on March 12,  2010 –  learn  all about  the submission guidelines, requirements, and process here:    World Green Roof Congress.   For additional information or any queries, please contact Dusty Gedge  at: or Charles Perkin  at: – tel +44 (0)207 5493300.

~ Linda V.

GPW: CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre

March 6, 2010 at 11:57 pm


Despite the global economic slowdown, India is the second fastest growing major economy in the world,  and the projected market potential for green building material and technologies is estimated to be $40 billion by the year 2012.   India has pressing water needs – the Himalayan icepack is shrinking and is the main water source for more than a billion people in this part of the world.   Groundwater resources are greatly diminishing by several centimeters per year and are not being replaced, so sustainable design is extremely important!


Although vegetated roofs are relatively new in the building, construction, and landscaping industry here, many believe they have immense potential for growth in India.   One glowing example is the CII – Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre  (CIIGBC), a division of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).  Located in Hyderabad,  the CII is India’s premier developmental institution, offering advisory services to the industry on environmental aspects and working in the areas of Green Buildings, Energy Efficiency, Water Management, Environment Management, Renewable Energy, Green Business Incubation and Climate Change activities.   The LEED Platinum for New Construction (NC) v 2.0 certified CII – Godrej GBC building is also home to India’s first and largest built greenroof (2003), at about 11,000 sf.    Layed out  in a circular fan-like fashion, solar panels add to the uniqueness of the design, easily read from above as seen in this Google shot below.

The CIIGBC as seen in Google

Vegetated roofs cover 55-60% of the building’s roofs –  the remaining portion of the roof is covered by a solar photo voltaic installation with a 24 KW capacity.   The 100 to 120 units of power generated per day is fed into the grid meeting 20% of the total energy cost of the building.   CII maintains a “Score Card” of green statistics within India.   These are their current figures, as of March 6, 2010:

 68 certified green buildings
 352 million sq ft Green building footprint
 500 registered green building projects
 1050 energy audits carried out
 Rs.2000 Million annual recurring energy saving realized
 32 Water Audits conducted
 8.0 Million Cu.m annual water saving
 11 Green SMEs funded
 Rs.95 Crores green investment facilitated
 418 industrial units subscribe to the CII – Code


World traveller and our Student Editor, Christine Thüring visited the CIIGBC  last year and wrote about her experiences in the March 2009 Guest Feature  “Green Buildings in India.”   In 2000, the Indian Green Building Council(IGBC) – part of CII-Godrej Green Business Centre – and created its own LEED ® Green Building Standard by fine-tuning the ratings to reflect Indian conditions and priorities (e.g. more points for water conservation).   Point in fact: rain harvesting is mandated by Indian law.

CII, Photo Courtesy Christine Thuring

CII; Photo Courtesy Christine Thuring

The CIIGBC achieved 56 LEED points, and a key aspect of the CIIGBC is its zero discharge of water, aided by the greenroofs, among other features.   All wastewater and runoff generated by the building is recycled by “root zone treatment” where specially selected plants purify and filter the water that irrigates them (top photo above ).   Water leaving the “root zone treatment” is directed to one of three ponds, thereafter to be used for domestic purposes.   The building achieves a 35% reduction of municipally supplied potable water, in part through the use of low-flush toilets and waterless urinals (bottom photo above).

Chennai AirportAlthough roof gardens in various forms have been around for decades, I couldn’t find many examples of built or proposed greenroofs (if you know of others, please let us know!).   One important one is presently under construction –  the new International and Domestic Terminal at the Chennai International Airport has many environmentally friendly features. The New York team led by Frederic Schwartz Architects and Gensler with Hargreaves Associates and India-based Creative Group  was unanimously selected by the Indian Government to design the Kamraj Domestic Terminal Building.   Its dramatic sweeping roof lines collect rainwater and fold downward into two lush, one-acre gardens. The garden walls capture water during the wet season into a series cisterns and runnels where it is stored for reuse as irrigation during the dry season. Directly connected to the terminal is a new parking garage with a sculptural folding greenroof that welcomes travelers with a “green gateway” to the terminal.   India’s greenest airport is slated for completion sometime in late 2010.

 CII Courtyard, Photo By Christine Thuring

Several conferences this year will address sustainable design and the potential for living roofs in India.   ROOF INDIA 2010, now in its ninth year, is Asia’s largest roofing and allied technologies event.   This year, greenroofing will be included as a segment and in fact, it’s endorsed by the   NRCA and IGRA, among others. Visitors receive free entry with registration and Visitor Badge.    Companies providing technologies, products, services, consultancy & solutions for roof landscaping will be exhibiting at the event.     ROOF INDIA 2010 will be held April 23 – 25, 2010 at the Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai, India.

During  the 2010 Shanghai World Expo the company Earth Our Only Home, Inc. is organizing an International Green Roof Summit on May 8, 2010 in Shanghai  at the World Green Roofs Conference to address solutions to provide drinking water for India, Western China and neighboring countries.   For more info on this, make sure you read the February 2010 Guest Feature “International Summit in Shanghai: The Green Roof Solution to the Impending Drinking Water Crisis in India, Western China and Neighboring Countries” by Dr. Karen L. Weber.  

Karen writes “By coordinating expertise from North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia on green roofs, water, buildings and climate, we intend to bridge the East and West.   Our aim is to have all participants sign a letter of commitment to establish green roofs as a priority along with a timeline for implementing green roof technology on a wide scale as India and Western China plan their new cities and regional development. ”

The  Confederation of Indian Industry and the Indian Green Building Council  (IGBC) – part of CII-Godrej Green Business Centre –  will be presenting their eighth annual  Green Building Congress 2010, India’s flagship event  on green buildings.  Objectives include creating awareness of green building concepts, the latest global trends, new products and technologies, providing a platform for networking, facilitating new business opportunities and enabling market transformation of green products and equipment.   The Green Building Congress 2010 will be held on October  6 – 9, 2010 at the Chennai Trade Centre.


The CII – Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre  is located at Survey # 64, Kothaguda Post, R R District, Hyderabad – 500084, India; Tel: +91 40 2311 2971 – 73; Fax: +91 40 2311 2837.

~ Linda V.

Ecoroof Portland – Inspiring, Fun, & Free

March 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Multnomah County Building, Tremco Green Roof: Photo Courtesy Tremco

Known as “The Rose City” for its famous yearly Rose Festival and The Grand Floral Parade in early June, Portland Oregon could also be easily known as “The Eco City” or perhaps even “The Green City” because of their ongoing commitment to preserving their magnificent waterways and forests while promoting sustainable design and development through progressive urban policies and public outreach.   The last time we were there was for the 2nd Annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards & Trade Show in 2004.   And we spent some time here in late 2003 when I was compiling info for my Sky Gardens ~ Travels in Landscape Architecture column on the area.    Such a beautiful city!

 The Portland Building Ecoroof, 2007: Photo Courtesy BES

On March 12-13, the lovely City of Portland will be sponsor and host to their annual free Ecoroof Portland.   What an amazing  city for supporting greenroofs – or ecoroofs, as they refer to them here.   Currently with about 200 projects within the city, ecoroofs cover about 10 acres, leading the U.S. in total area greened after Chicago.   And they were one of the first, if not the first, municipality in the nation to offer incentives.   As part of the Grey to Green Initiative, the City of Portland is offering an incentive of up to $5 per square foot for ecoroofs towards a target of 43 additional acres by 2013.   In the past year, the  Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) awarded the incentive to 50 projects for a total of over 4 acres.   Read more in Industry Support and the City’s Incentive Project Page for more information.  You can visit ecoroofs and other sustainable stormwater projects in Portland with these self-guided tours, and the City maintains an Ecoroof Blog, which is very informative, too!

Tom Liptan's Ecoroof Garage; Photo Courtesy Tom Liptan

The premier champion there of stormwater mitigation, and ecoroofs in particular, is Tom Liptan, ASLA.   I’ve known Tom for over 12 years, when I first contacted him about greenroofs back when I was a landscape architecture student at UGA a had “discovered” them myself.   Gracious, kind, and accommodating, he nurtured and fueled my passion for this earth-friendly sustainable technology.   And Tom has always put his money where his mouth is – he installed one of the first ecoroofs in Portland atop his garage in 1996.   The now famous Liptan Garage Greenroof served as early a demonstration project and testing grounds for a variety of factors – read more in the profile.

The Louisa; Photo Courtesy BES

Designed to inform a varied audience of professionals and homeowners, the lineup of speakers will educate and inspire you to consider a greenroof on your next project.   A Vendor Fair with over 60 professionals and organizations will be on-hand both days  to share their ecoroof experience, products, and services.   Featured speakers include Dr. David J. Sailor, Ed Snodgrass, and me!   Dr. Sailor is a full professor at the Mechanical and Materials Engineering faculty at Portland State University, Member Faculty of the Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST), and directs Portland State University’s Green Building Research Laboratory.   Ed Snodgrass is co-owner of Emory Knoll Farms/Green Roof Plants, a fifth generation farmer and nurseryman specializing in plants and horticultural consulting for greenroofs.   An accomplished speaker and writer (“Green Roof Plants: A Resource and Planting Guide“),  he’s also  our Plant Editor who writes his occasional column “Ask Ed”   – read my “From Llamas to Greenroofs: An Interview with Ed Snodgrass.”   See full profiles here and a complete list of all the speakers and Agenda here.

A flowering Ecoroof in Portland, OR; Photo BES

See Ed on Friday at 12:00 pm at the  Welcome and Keynote Address where Environmental Services Director Dean Marriott will welcome attendees and introduce  Ed as the Keynote Speaker.   His presentation will focus on the role of ecoroofs in sustainable cities.   On Saturday at noon, Commissioner Dan Saltzman will welcome attendees and introduce me – I will be presenting “Hot Trends in Greenroof Design,” a compilation of my favorite international projects from our Top 10 Lists from the past  with a look at some of the new, innovative, leading vanguard and projects for 2010.   On Saturday at 4:00 pm Ed will be part of  a panel where you can get some help getting started on your own ecoroof project – “The Ecoroof Doctors are IN,” along with Tom Liptan, David Elkin, and Alice Meyers from BES, and Patrick Carey of hadj design, a Green Roofs for Healthy Cities trainer, and our Architecture Editor.   Patrick writes an occasional architectural column entitled “A View from the Sky Trenches,” where he selects and discusses pertinent greenroof industry topics.

OHSU, a Xero Flor Green Roof, in May 2008; Photo Courtesy BES

Don’t miss Ecoroof Portland!   It  will run on Friday and Saturday, March 12 & 13, 2010  at  the Leftbank Annex, located at 101 N. Weidler St in downtown Portland.   It’s very close to the Rose Quarter – you can find directions by clicking  the following link.   Learn all about Ecoroof Portland 2010 at the City’s BES website.

Ecoroof Portland 2010

If you can attend, please stop by and say hello!   Happy greening,

~ Linda V.

2009 Top 10 List of Milestones and Accomplishments

January 21, 2010 at 11:27 pm
Sunbeams at sunset from Webshots

As we continue to ring in 2010 we hope you enjoyed warm holidays with family and friends and celebrated the New Year with renewed hope for the future.   Can you believe we’ve entered a new decade?   Shall we call it 2K10, Twenty Ten, or just good old fashioned 2,010?   In any case, we’re finally out of the 0’s, now we’re into the 10’s.

Our world economy has been through a lot in the past few years, yet with a promising light hovering just over the horizon.   Although development overall has declined, there is continued desire for green buildings from both the public and private sector, and in general our greenroof & greenwall industry has weathered quite nicely.   Many of  us are  taking time to reflect on this passage of time and make New Year’s resolutions (another topic altogether!), and I was thinking of how far  we  have come since the German experience entered our architectural radar and into our collective consciousness in the 1990’s.   Literally thousands of vegetated roofs and walls have been constructed since then in  every continent except for Antarctica, with ever growing support from forward thinking  multidisciplinary professionals: designers, government officials, organizations, companies, universities, students and other  advocates looking to make Earth a little more sustainable.

Sadly, one of those special,  innovative people passed away last November 27,  the indomitable architect Malcolm Wells.   Regarded as “the father of modern earth-sheltered architecture,” he was a staunch advocate  of living architecture, known for his way ahead-of-the-times underground earth designs with living roofs  starting in  the 1960’s, see just one example below.   He leaves a legacy of what he referred to as gentle architecture,  design that would, in his own words, “leave the land no worse than you found it.”


Malcom Well's design for an eco-gas station, from

The visionary Malcolm Wells' design for an eco-gas station, from


Many inspirational people and organizations have contributed to our current market,  and I want to highlight just a few success stories from the past year, personal and global.   So in my review, here are my favorite 2009  Top 10 Milestones and Accomplishments for both as a company and our international community as a whole:

10)   In 2009 celebrated 10 years of being in business!   We’ve seen a lot of progress and change for the good here as well as across the greenroof world.   The fledgling – “exploring the ecology of organic greenroof architecture” started out as 60+ pages in 1999 as the result of an independent research study I did at the University of Georgia.

What looked like in 1999.

By 2003 we changed our format and grew  into – “the international greenroof industry’s resource and online information portal,” and contained 600+ pages  at the end of  2009 (not counting the hundreds of  .php pages from The Greenroof Directory or The Greenroof Projects Database).   At present, each month receives more than 160,000 unique visits and about 400,000 page views, and we’ve also expanded our presence in social marketing, too, so now you can stay connected with us on: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, eNewsletter (our monthly eNewsletter consists of 10,000 opt-in subscribers) & YouTube, as well as our Blog. in 2010!

9)   The  proliferation of living architecture is greatly  spreading and permeating into the areas of  design, policy, research  and  education through numerous world  conferences, congresses, expos, trainings, tours, and other events.   For example, the World Green Infrastructure Network (WGIN) – formerly the World Green Roof Infrastructure Network (WGRIN) –  held its first CitiesAlive! World Green Roof Congress in Toronto, Canada,  with the second scheduled for Mexico City this October, 2010.   The International Green Roof Association (IGRA) hosted the 2nd International Green Roof Congress 2009 in Nürtingen, Germany and  the 3rd annual  Green Roofs Australia Conference 2009 was held at the University of Melbourne.   Longevity was evident  with  the 7th National FBB Green Roof Conference in Ditzingen, Germany  and the 7th annual Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards, and Trade Show in Atlanta, Georgia.   By the way, look for the 8th annual GRHC conference to  occur in Vancouver, B.C.  on November 30 – December 2, 2010, rebranded as  “Cities Alive.”   Look for many new 2010 events throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, China, Singapore, India and more under Upcoming Events, where you can also access  Past Events.

8)   For the third year, we published our 2010 Greenroofs of the World™ Calendar.   I’ve already blogged about it, and we’re very proud of our first hard product.   And we thank our Sponsors for their support: American Hydrotech, Barrett Company, Conservation Technology, Express Blower, GREEN ROOF BLOCKS,  GreenGrid,  International Leak Detection (ILD), LiveRoof, Roofscapes, Inc., Saul Nurseries, Tremco, Xero Flor America,  and ZinCo USA.   You can find the Calendar on, but it’s a better deal if you order from us!

The 2010 Greenroofs of the World Front Cover

7) Green walls are firmly  becoming entrenched in sustainable design, evidenced by  high media attention, as much for their green properties as for their edible  gardening possibilities. We’ve had tons of news articles posted in NewsLinks, our huge database of global articles,  concerning living walls and green façades!   In fact,  they  were listed as #31 in TIME’s 50 Best Inventions of 2009 and  Triple Pundit recently proposed:  “Gardens Grow Up: Are Vertical Landscapes the New Green Roofs?”  – both featuring  the works of  Patrick Blanc.   In our business  you’d have to be living under a rock not to know who the renowned French botanist is; his often fantastical “murs végétalisés” designs stretch the limits of horticulture and design.   Since 1994, he has created over 140 public vertical gardens as well as many private installations,  including his most famous, the  Quai Branly Museum in Paris,  shown below.   Read more about green walls from Treehugger, Daily Telegraph, Daily Commercial News, The New York Times, Times Online and, just to name a few.

Quai Branly Museum photo by Jean-Claude Lafarge on

Quai Branly Museum photo courtesy and by Jean-Claude Lafarge on

In 2009  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the North American professional association, established greenwall research projects at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland, and GRHC has included an award  category for Green Wall Excellence in Design for a couple of years now.   In 2008 added our 8th Contributing Editor, George Irwin –  aptly titled The Green Wall Editor  – to cover this growing vertical gardening field, and new for 2010 we have altered the title of our Greenroof Projects Database to reflect the inclusion of these:   The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

6) Investing in green building and infrastructure makes good economic sense by integrating green building policies into wider economic development goals, and creates a new job market. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) has prompted a gigantic increase in federal green spending, providing new money to all levels of government, aimed at stimulating the economy, promoting job growth, and lowering energy costs, providing an unprecedented opportunity for advancing green building and sustainability efforts in the U.S.    And last December, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported at least 138 U.S. cities with populations over 50,000 people have green building programs in place (compared to only 92 in 2007).   Referring to the economic recession, the AIA said “The downturn has had a devastating effect on construction generally, but sustainable building design continues to maintain and improve its market share.”   Read their 2009 in depth study “Green Building Policy in a Changing Economic Environment” to learn more.


AIA 2009 Study of Green Building Programs by Cities

American Institute of Architects 2009 Study of Green Building Programs by Cities


U.S. economic stimulus efforts  encompass green energy and construction, including greenroofs along with other forms of green building, and  just one such example of Recovery Act funds benefit Washington D.C., where the Washington Business Journal says “Nearly $4 million would go toward building more than 100,000 sf of green roofs on city buildings, including libraries, firehouses and a demonstration project atop the parking garage deck at University of the District of Columbia.   The stimulus funds would also expand the city’s green roof rebate program to allow residents and small businesses to afford another 20,000 sf of private green roof space.”

And importantly, many green building programs are also creating “green collar” jobs.   In late 2009, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Booz Allen Hamilton conducted a study and stated “Green building will support 7.9 million U.S. jobs and pump $554 billion into the American economy – including $396 billion in wages – over the next four years (2009-2013).    The study also determined that green construction spending currently supports more than 2 million American jobs and generates more than $100 billion in gross domestic product and wages…The full report can be downloaded at, where one can also find other research, resources, tools and information about green building and its role in the economic recoveries of professionals, businesses and the nation.”   According to an analysis by American Rivers and the Alliance for Water Efficiency, the Natural Resources Defense Council reports that a $10 billion nationwide initiative to install greenroofs alone would result in almost 200,000 jobs – the Senate is expected to consider its own version of the bill in early 2010.

DC Greenworks' efforts at the Reeves Center

SSBx with Green the Ghetto participants

Some U.S. leaders offering hope and opportunity by creating greenroof/greenwall-specific green collar jobs through training include Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx) and their various programs,  i.e., “Green the Ghetto”  and “Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (BEST)”;  D.C. Greenworks; Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative, and the  Urban Farming Food Chain.

5) Green Roofs for Healthy Cities launched the Green Roof Professional (GRP) accreditation   for North America.   The GRP is a measure of knowledge of established best practices and although a voluntary program, with the designation professionals can distinguish themselves in the marketplace.   This association milestone was at least four years in the making!   Currently with  more than 250  GRP’s in 2009,  GRHC  hopes to add more professionals in 2010.   Check their website for future  testing dates, and  consider attending one of their Green Roof Boot Camps to refresh and get you ready.   See my interview with Jeff Bruce, president of Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company, Chair of GRHC  and the GRHC Training and Accreditation Committee, which developed the Green Roof Professional program, to learn why the organization felt this accreditation was needed, how it evolved, and where it’s heading.   For more info on the GRP, see “A Video Introduction to the GRP Program” from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.

4) Within the U.S. industry, major contributions were made in the area to develop best practice  wind and fire standards for greenroof design.   Since 2007, leaders from various organizations have been working hard on prescriptive standards, and  in 2009 standards were inserted into the International Building Code from members of  GRHC and Single Ply Roofing Industry (SPRI).   Read “Green Roof Wind & Fire Design Guidelines: After Three Years, Half the Battle is Won,” written by one of our Contributing Editors, Kelly Luckett, The Green Roof Guy, to learn about this winding road’s development of RP-14 and VF-1.    And stay tuned for updates with  his column  here on


Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) Wind Tunnel Testing in June, 2009.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUe) Wind Tunnel Testing in June, 2009.


3)  The global Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database surpassed the 1,000 mark in December!   So where are all these greenroofs and greenwalls anyway?   Let’s continue to work together to grow, update, and share valuable case studies for our communal benefit, for free.   Even in today’s openly transparent society (think Google Earth), some people worry about confidentiality issues, and we only post information that is submitted to us by owners/project principals or that which is openly available through  various media channels, and we always list owners as “private” when requested.   The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database is now searchable by  24 fields, including specifically for green walls.   After our Home Page, the Projects Database is the next visited page on – make sure your projects and valuable  experiences are included here.

2)    My  albeitly biased personal favorite, inaugurated our first  episode of the Sky Gardens ~ Greenroofs of the World WebTV series.   Premiering  at Boston GreenFest in September, our new venture followed  on the GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube, and next on our own, where you can now see it in its entirety at just under 37 minutes.   By the way, you can also view our video offshoot,  “Greenroofs 101 from” (4:50) in Greenroofs 101 or directly below, which is a great way to  introduce the concept to newcomers.   Coming soon is episode 2, highlighting the gorgeous Cook+Fox Architects corporate offices in Manhattan, NY.   Our third episode is in the works, and more are being scheduled, so stay tuned!

1) 2009 saw some serious support for greenroofs, championed by professional organizations and governmental bodies alike. Global industry support has grown over the years, and many advocates continue to actively promote them worldwide.  For example, the City of Chicago, certainly the U.S. leader in greenroofs, now has over 7 million square feet of vegetated roofs completed or under development.   New support in 2009 includes:

North America:   In addition to offering eco-incentives for greenroofs,  currently Toronto has the most progressive policy in North America – last May  Toronto became the first city  here to adopt a bylaw to require and govern the construction of greenroofs.   The new bylaw will be required on all new development above 2,000 m ² (about 21,530 sf) of gross floor area and have a graduated coverage requirement ranging from 20-60%.   Working with a program budget  of $800,000/year, owners of industrial and commercial buildings can apply for grants worth up to $100,000 (Canadian) to build a greenroof.    Mayor David Miller predicts the rules and incentives will create 50 to 60 green-roofed buildings per year, in addition to their current 135 vegetated roofs.   Green Roofs for Healthy Cities supported the by-law against pressure from developers opposed to the policy.    See more details under Industry Support and at the City of Toronto website.

Toronto City Hall

Here in the U.S., in late 2009  ASLA, the American Society of Landscape Architects, worked with Congress to include the Green Act into the House-passed climate change legislation.   The Act would require the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to employ greenroofs, tree canopy coverage, and other site planning techniques to help reduce heating and cooling costs in certain HUD facilities.   Still pending before the Senate Finance Committee,  last January Senator Maria Cantwell (WA) introduced the Clean Energy Stimulus and Investment Assurance Act of 2009 (S.320), legislation geared toward creating high-wage green-collar jobs and revitalizing the economy through clean energy investments.   ASLA worked with Senator Cantwell’s office to ensure that a section of the bill was dedicated to green roof tax incentives, and  GRHC  provided technical support.   Under section 506 of the bill, residential and commercial property owners will receive a 30% tax credit for qualified greenroof expenditures.

As you may recall, Congress enacted Section 438 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) to require federal agencies to reduce stormwater runoff from federal development projects to protect water resources and in October of 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 on “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance” calling upon all federal agencies to lead by example and address a wide range of environmental issues, including stormwater runoff.   Federal agencies can comply with Section 438 by using a variety of green infrastructure / low impact development techniques including living roofs.   Prepared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in coordination with other federal agencies, the “Technical Guidance on Implementing the Stormwater Runoff Requirements for Federal Projects under Section 438 of the Energy Independence and Security Act” PDF is highly detailed and  instructive.

State and municipal  governments also provided policy support:   Former  Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine signed three bills promoting incentives in 2009: HB 1975 and SB 1058 authorize localities to grant regulatory flexibility and incentives to promote the construction of vegetative roofs on private homes and businesses.  The incentives or regulatory flexibility could include a reduction in permit fees, a streamlined process for the approval of building permits, or a reduction in any gross receipts tax on greenroof contractors as defined by the local ordinance.   The third bill, HB 1828, allows water authorities to offer rate incentives for vegetative roof construction, based on the percentage of stormwater runoff reduction.   In late fall, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSDGC), and the Office of Environmental Quality created a Green Roof Loan Program utilizing money from the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund.   OEPA has made $5,000,000 available for linked deposit, below market rate loans to install green vegetative roofs within the service area of MSDGC on residential, commercial and/or industrial buildings.

Built Ecoroofs in Portland as of 12-09

Already a city offering several greenroof incentives, in October Portland‘s city commission approved a Climate Action Plan which calls for a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and an 80% reduction by 2050.   According to the Portland Business Journal, “The Plan calls for the city and county to take 93 actions over the next three years.  City bureaus must immediately begin implementing 15 of the new climate-related initiatives, such as establishing a tax credit for businesses that install ecoroofs and solar panels together.”   And last month, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District invited governments, organizations, school districts, and businesses within the 28 communities it serves to participate in their 2010 Regional Green Roof Initiative Program.   Among other prerequisites, proposed projects must minimize impervious roof area and maximize the reduction in the rate and/or volume of stormwater runoff.

The World:   Singapore is targeting 50 hectares of skyrise greenery by 2030 and its Urban Redevelopment Authority launched  the LUSH Programme (Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises) in April of 2009.   Offering financial and planning incentives to developers to provide greenery at the upper levels of high rise buildings, their goal is to make 80% of all buildings in  Singapore green by 2030. Quezon City, Phillipines has a new law requiring private and government-owned buildings to green part of their rooftops.    New commercial/residential buildings, under the Green Roof Ordinance (Ordinance 1940) signed into law by Mayor Feliciano R. Belmonte, Jr. last September, should  allocate at least 30% of their roof area for plants and trees.   In Australia, the Queensland Government signed a “Memorandum Of Understanding” with the Singapore National Parks Board late last year to trial vertical gardens and greenroofs in various cities in an effort to benefit from Singapore’s experience with skyrise greenery.

A splendid Sky Terrace at the One George Street building in downtown Singapore; source: The

Dubai Municipality launched a greenroof initiative in line with a Dubai law on green building specifications.    The Municipality’s strategic goal is to raise per capita green area to 23.4 square meters by the end of 2011,  with the green building project coming under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, United Arab Emirate Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.   A public awareness  campaign  for greenroofs was announced  last month, committed to the “development of laws and regulations to keep pace with international standards in the field of sustainable development by planting green roofs and facades in the Emirate of Dubai.”   Traveling display models and educational publications will circulate residential neighborhoods and shopping centers and markets for a 12-month period.   Read more on the Dubai Municipality Portal.   One spectacular greening project currently on the boards in Dubai is the self-sustained system “Food City” below, designed by Green Concepts Landscape Architects (GCLA):

Dubai Food City; photo source: Inhabitat

The proposed Dubai Food City, conceptualized by landscape architecture firm GCLA.

 Well, those are my thoughts on the  important  highlights of 2009, and while on the topic  of Top 10 lists, Haven Kiers – our Design Editor – and I are compiling our 4th annual Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof Designs for 2010, and we welcome your input with  ideas and project example submissions, as usual!   Send comments to or

So here we are at the start of a whole new year – we hope you’re excited and optimistic about it, just as we are!     Whatever 2009 offered you, we hope you embraced new friends and opportunities and experienced great personal and professional growth, and we thank you for your readership.   What’s in store for our new decade?   We’ll see, but as the green building industry continues with positive signs of sustained growth, let’s also continue to collaborate and create a more sustainable world with eco-architecture embracing greenroofs and greenwalls as part of the overall green living architecture strategy.

“I woke up one day to the fact that the earth’s surface was made for living plants, not industrial plants.”   ~ Malcolm Wells

Here’s a gentle toast  to continued  health, love,  and  prosperity  for you, your families, and all of our  greenroof associates in 2010!

Happy Greening ~ Linda V.