Greenroofs.com Project of the Week for October 2, 2017: Hedgegate

October 2, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Greenroofs.com Project Week October 2 2017 Hedgegate

Hedgegate
Sea Ranch, CA, USA
 1,800 sf Greenroofs & 300 sf Greenwall

Greenroofs.com Project Week October 2 2017 Hedgegate

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: October 2, 2017

Mini Description & Details

Hedgegate is an award-winning private residence in Sea Ranch, located west of California Highway 1 on California’s scenic north Sonoma coast. The site and structures are regulated to preserve the view of the Pacific Ocean.

The limited 1300 sf of conditioned space and the 16-ft. height above the coastal meadow enable Hedgegate to sit lightly on the land, featuring dual living roofs and a green wall. The HOA provisions strictly limit approved species not only to California natives, but to a limited list of species specific to the local flora of the coastal meadow and coastal terrace ecological systems.

Greenroofs.com Project Week October 2 2017 Hedgegate

Greenroofs.com Project Week October 2 2017 Hedgegate

Owner architect Janet MacKinnon of AE Design used her modular sodpodmod system for propagation and delivery of local native species within a 5-inch growing media depth from rooflite and Enkadrain drainage from BonarBuilt. Each window of the main upper level of Hedgegate looks over the lower green roof, and the lower roof provides space for edible plants outside the kitchen.

The rainwater and stormwater from the roof, retaining wall, rain room, and driveway is collected in this drought-prone location in two 2,000 gallon underground cisterns for drip irrigation of the living roofs. Graywater is collected for irrigation of the ground landscaping.

The low water demand of the 3-inch depth of the green wall, made from Sedum Mat from Sempergreen plus additional natives and exotics, is met using a closed loop, drip irrigation system, recirculating water from the Koi pond at the base of the green wall.

Greenroofs.com Project Week October 2 2017 Hedgegate

Greenroofs.com Project Week October 2 2017 Hedgegate

The living roof in the foreground seamlessly integrates with the rolling coastal hills. September 29, 2017.

More

As a prototype, Hedgegate exemplifies how water systems can be integrated into a net zero home. The owners gladly open their home that, to date, has been toured by over 300 local visitors (including architects and builders).

Annually, thousands of travelers on California Highway 1 plus hikers and bikers on the parallel trails on each side of the highway experience the beautiful Hedgegate green roofs in the foreground of their view of the Pacific Ocean and the California Coastal National Monument.

Greenroofs.com Project Week October 2 2017 Hedgegate

Publisher’s Note:

Hedgegate recently won the 2017 Small Scale Residential Design Awards of Excellence from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities at CitiesAlive 2017.

Year: 2016
Owner: Private
Location: Sea Ranch, CA, USA
Building Type: Single-Family Residential
Type: Extensive
System: Custom
Size: 1,800 sq.ft. greenroofs and 300 sq. ft. greenwall
Slope: 2 – 10%
Access: Accessible, Private

Greenroofs.com Project Week October 2 2017 Hedgegate

Greenroofs.com Project Week October 2 2017 Hedgegate

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:

Owner, Architect & Construction: Janet MacKinnon, AE Design
Stormwater, Graywater and Living Roof Design: Paul Kephart, Rana Creek Design
Rainwater & Graywater Systems and Green Roof & Irrigation: Kevin Heston, Project Manager, AE Design
Modular Greenroof System: Janet MacKinnon, sodpodmod
Structural Engineer: I.L. Welte & Associates
Growing Media: Joe DiNorscia, rooflite
Drainage: Enkadrain, BonarBuilt
Greenwall Vegetation: Sedum Mat, Sempergreen
Roofing Membrane: GacoFlex, Gaco Western
Irrigation: DIG Corporation
Architectural Photographer: Jonnu Singleton

Greenroofs.com Project Week October 2 2017 Hedgegate

Greenroofs.com Project Week October 2 2017 Hedgegate

All the Info:

View the Hedgegate PROJECT PROFILE to see ALL of the Photos and Additional Information about this particular project in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Greenroofs.com Project Week October 2 2017 Hedgegate

Project of the Week Video Feature

Watch the Hedgegate Project of the Week Video below or see it on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week 10/02/17 video photo credits: All by Jonnu Singleton and Janet MacKinnon, courtesy of Janet MacKinnon of AE Design.

Did we miss your contribution? Please let us know to add you to the profile.

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Love the Earth, Plant a Roof (or Wall)!

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher & Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit Host

Register now and join us online for our 2017 Virtual Summit through December, 2017.  Extended: Submit your Under 10-Minute Video by October 10th ~ Round #2 starts on October 16th!

Greenroofs.com Project Week October 2 2017 Hedgegate

Greenroofs.com Virtual Summit 2017 Round #2: Call for Short Videos Extended to October 10!

September 30, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Extended Greenroofs.com Virtual Summit 2017 Round #2 Call Short Videos

Due to the wonderful response, we’ve decided to
Extend the Call for Under 10-Minute Videos to October 10th!

Extended Call for Short Videos for Round #2 of Greenroofs.com’s 2017 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit: Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture!

Do you already have or would you like to create an original, under 10-minute video (NOT overtly self-promotional) about: a project you’re working on (or a recently completed one), a short tour you just did, a revolutionary idea, or simply commentary?

Who?

If you’d like to share your experience with our green infrastructure community, the Call for Short Videos is for you!  And as an attendee, you’ll also be supporting our work.

Extended Greenroofs.com Virtual Summit 2017 Round #2 Call Short Videos

Because the internet is open to the world (in theory, of course), with the Virtual Summits people from across the globe can not only watch expert subject matter videos, but have everyone watch theirs, too.

What?

Most noteworthy, we’ll be featuring new under 10 minute videos from our 2017 Virtual Summit attendees – along with our stellar cast of Keynotes and Speaker videos from Round #1.

Where?

Extended Greenroofs.com Virtual Summit 2017 Round #2 Call Short Videos

Completely held online at virtual.greenroofs.com.

When?

October 10, 2017:  New Extended Deadline for sending in the short videos.

October 16:  Virtual Summit 2017 Round #2 will be open, and like Round #1 will run through the end of the year.

Mid-November:  New global social media events start, and once again will be Free and Open to Everyone!

Why a Round #2?

First of all, the potential for readership/audience engagement in our online Virtual Summits is huge – endless, really.  And, participating in the Virtual Summit 2017 is a smart way to promote yourself:

Get your bio included on the Speakers page along with your short video on the Agenda.

How?

Send us a current video (within one year or so) or get out your cameras or smart phones and film!  To participate you must be a registered attendee – if you’re not yet, we’re offering special discounted pricing of half off the regular price of $49 to get your cameras rolling:

Discounted Registration Fee: $25

Extended Greenroofs.com Virtual Summit 2017 Round #2 Call Short Videos

Video Specifics:

  • Must be a completed video under 10 minutes in any film format.
  • After registering, send us: your photo, 2-3 line bio including any of your social media links you’d like to add to your profile, video title and short description, and a photo/screenshot of your video to: linda@greenroofs.com.
  • How to send us your finished video:

1. Share or Transfer your files via any of the available tools online (i.e. Dropbox, Hightail, WeTransfer, etc.) that you are currently using.

2. Use this link to upload your files to us: https://www.dropbox.com/request/EhU2RqJptdp4L4zupao6

Register, Contribute, & Support Our Work, Too

Thank you to our awesome Sponsors and Exhibitors, especially rooflite®!

Extended Greenroofs.com Virtual Summit 2017 Round #2 Call Short Videos

NOTE: Sponsorships are Exhibitor Pages ongoing and available through the end of December.  Interested in supporting our work?  Contact us at: aramis@greenroofs.com.

More Info

Follow all the event updates using #virtualsummit2017 on Twitter.  The next Virtual Summit will be held in two years, so we hope to add your voice to our exclusive online production and watch some of your work now!

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof (or Wall)!

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher & Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit Host

Register now and join us online for our 2017 Virtual Summit through December, 2017.  Submit your Under 10-Minute Video by October 10  ~ Round #2 starts on October 16!

 

Designing with Nature and Not against It: Translation of the Spanish Interview with Linda S. Velazquez in El País

September 29, 2017 at 7:47 pm

Diseñando con la naturaleza y no contra ella: Entrevista a la arquitecta paisajista Linda S. Velazquez sobre la necesidad de una arquitectura verde en las ciudades

Spanish interview with Isabel de Felipe in Berlin, originally published by El País on July 17, 2017

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Designing with nature and not against it:

Translation of the Spanish Interview with Linda S. Velazquez in El País on the need for green architecture in cities

Under the header of “Urban Beings” in the “Green Cities” section, here’s my translationOf course, they edited quite a bit and didn’t include all of my answers, but so be it.

NOTE: El País didn’t use any of the photos or graphics I sent, and in fact put one in of an interior courtyard landscape above – is it a greenroof?  I don’t know.  All of the photos below are my own placement!

Q & A Translation by Linda Velazquez

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Here in Alpharetta, GA at Rock Mill Park where I designed the Greenroof Pavilion & Trial Gardens.

Linda S. Velazquez is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), GRP, LEED AP. She is also the founder and publisher of Greenroofs.com (1999) and design consultant at her company Sky Gardens Design (2004). Linda studied landscape architecture at the University of Georgia (2000).

Linda writes and reports extensively about greenroofs and living architecture and has presented across the globe. Linda’s role as Greenroofs.com publisher affords many opportunities to promote the industry.  She has collaborated on numerous books including Green Cities in the World, Vertical Garden City: Singapore, and The Rise of Living Architecture, in addition to journals, magazines and online media.

Q: From your experience as a pioneer in the analysis and dissemination of urban green infrastructure, how do you perceive its evolution in the last few years?

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

SOLARIS, Fusionopolis (Phase 2B), One North Singapore schematic by T. R. Hamzah & Yeang Sdn. Bhd., courtesy of Ken Yeang.

A. In my opinion, I believe our green architecture industry and market continues to grow each year because of the increasing general public interest and acknowledgement of important projects along with their associated multiple benefits – both public and private. We must also recognize the accomplishments of innovative leaders within the industry and design fields, businesses, and government at all levels who have promoted the idea and its progression further.

In the last 20 years we have seen dynamic and avant-garde designs that have drawn great attention to promote the greening of the planet with the integration of green: bioclimatic, biodiversity, biomimicry and sustainability.  Of course, construction follows financial cycles and we had a few years with fewer projects completed, but many people around the world are interested in green technologies, whether renewable energy or low impact development including green infrastructure like greenroofs and walls, and much more.

Q: Who or what are the most dynamic elements?  Architects, designers, entrepreneurs, institutions, NGOs …?

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Vancouver Public Library, B.C., 1995. Currently under renovation, its new greenroof garden will be at grade with the existing maples. The top 2 floors will have a reading room, community event space, theater & public garden. Photo: American Hydrotech.

A: I think it has been a combination of experts, visionaries, and multidisciplinary professionals who have spread greenroof technology, at least here in North America.  As for early completed projects, I would have to credit collaboration between architects like Moshe Safdie and landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander with the government of Vancouver, B.C. in Canada with its spectacular Public Library (1995, currently under a major renovation to create an accessible public roof garden space).  Another innovative architect is William McDonough who worked with entrepreneurs such as the GAP in San Bruno, California (1997); the City of Chicago with its City Hall (2001), perhaps the most famous greenroof in the U.S.; and the Ford Motor Company with its River Rouge Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan (2003), which had the distinction of being the largest greenroof in the world for a few years, with 454,000 square feet.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Chicago City Hall, designed by McDonough + Partners and a multitude of multi-disciplinary professionals. Photo courtesy of Charlie Miller and Roofmeadow.

In the United States in 1997/98 the pioneers who helped me tremendously were civil engineer Charlie Miller of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; landscape architect Tom Liptan of Portland, Oregon; and the German environmental engineer Katrin Scholz-Barth who lived at that time in Minnesota.  Also, ASLA began writing on the subject during that time frame and, with thanks, I began to discover and research further, culminating in Greenroofs.com in 1999.

Q. In your presentation at the WGIC Berlin 2017 Congress, you identified the 10 most recent trends in greenroofs and walls. What are the underlying market drivers?

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

A. Each trend in greenroofs and walls has several underlying factors depending on the location of the project: variables such as the needs and desires of the public and governments or the client / owner, what type of buildings are popular or necessary, different uses of a structure, aesthetic tendencies, the weather, the available products or materials, etc.

With Greenroofs.com’s annual compilation of the most popular trends, the “Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design” (since 2007), we try to highlight cutting-edge structures and designers who are outstanding, inspiring, and magnificent – underlined by the exceptional green vegetation covering the building.

Q. What effects can green infrastructure have on the population?

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh: 1st & only building to meet 4 of the highest green certifications: • Living Building Challenge, world’s most rigorous green building standard • LEED® Platinum — tied for highest points awarded under version 2.2 • 1st & only Four Stars Sustainable SITES Initiative™ for landscapes project (pilot) • 1st & only WELL Building Platinum project (pilot). Photo: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

A. Instead of using “gray” infrastructure such as concrete, asphalt, or hiding rainwater in underground pipes, detention ponds, etc., designing with nature instead of against it – using vegetation and natural ecosystem services – offers a multitude of beneficial opportunities and associated effects to improve a city or locale. The integration of nature into the urban fabric produces a wide spectrum of environmental benefits for the flora, fauna and human communities of our planet.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Santalaia in Bogotá, Colombia. Photo by Groncol.

Green infrastructure’s greatest potential lies in the ability to cover impermeable surfaces with permeable plant material. Using plants with engineering systems for stormwater management results in cleaner, fresher water and at the same time reduces the volume intensity that eventually falls on the streets. This immensely ameliorates a city, which is mostly impermeable, during heavy storms, when there may be overflows of the sewer system. Green infrastructure also reduces the urban heat island effect, which can dramatically increase temperatures due to lack of trees, plants, and green areas in cities, affecting the health of many people.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Berry Architecture Office Building Green Roof, Red Deer, Canada. Bumblebee feeding on Gaillardia sp. overlooking downtown, September 2014. Photo by Cynthia Pohl.

We can re-introduce native or sometimes even endangered plants by planting roofs and walls and green facades. At the same time, this attracts wildlife back to our cities like bees, butterflies and birds. We all know that seeing and being in nature is beneficial to human beings because of biophilia, the innate attraction in our biology to connect with nature. For example, nature helps us psychologically, improves the recovery of patients, and we rejoice within its natural and open spaces.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Mashambas Skyscraper, a mobile educational center for Swahili, Africa: eVolo 2017 Skyscraper Competition Winner by Pawel Lipinski and Mateusz Frankowski.

The creation of green spaces in a city is extremely important but sometimes there is no where to build a park or vegetable garden. Why not put it on top of a public building? And we must not forget that sometimes the green infrastructure costs much less than the gray infrastructure because we are using natural systems. If the cost of building a greenroof, for example, is more expensive at the outset, it has to be understood that life-cycle costs will reduce the final cost because of lower replacement costs because it will last double, triple, or perhaps even longer. Also, the use and energy costs of the building will decrease while at the same time a fifth facade has been created for the building – a new roof or wall space previously not utilized for the use of the owner or the public.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

J.R.R. Tolkien’s vision of the idyllic Middle-Earth village home in The Shire.  Frodo’s Home, Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand, October, 2014. Photo by Linda S. Velazquez.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

The World’s 1st & largest Double LEED Platinum Museum: California Academy of Sciences (CAS) Living Roof in San Francisco. Photo by Tom Fox, courtesy of SWA Group.

Finally, using a variety of low impact development techniques can reconnect people with nature. When all the environmental, aesthetic, emotional, and economic benefits are added, we can see that green infrastructure offers sustainability benefits to many. Implemented on a local or intermediate scale, green or biophilic architecture can improve the health and well-being of a community, country, and our planet Earth.

Q: With your international vision, what are the most dynamic cities in the implementation of green infrastructure and what are their drivers?

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Potsdamer Platz in Berlin – a glowing example of green infrastructure! Photo by Linda S. Velazquez, June 2017.

A: It is impossible to talk about the most dynamic cities and not start with Germany in general, since many cities like Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, and others have been leaders for the last 50 years. At least 48 German cities provide financial support for greenroofs. Around 35% have integrated greenroofs as part of their regulation, establishing around 86 million m2 of greenroofs which represent 14% of the total roof area of Germany. And they have established professional associations and organizations for the study of materials and best practices, such as the FLL (Forschungsgesellschaft Landschaftsentwicklung e.V.), FBB (Fachvereinigung Bauwerksbegrünung e.V.), and DDV (Deutscher Dachgartner-Verband), to name a few.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Oasis d’ Aboukir in Paris full bloom, one year after the plant installation, early April 2014. Photo courtesy of Patrick Blanc.

There are other numerous cities in the world that stand out with integrated green construction including Chicago, Basel, Portland, Toronto, New York, Linz, London, Paris, Mexico City, Shanghai, Washington, DC and the area, Milwaukee, Bogotá, and lately Madrid and Barcelona. American states like California and Pennsylvania have also done many projects. My favorite leader is Singapore, an island nation that currently has more than 720,000 m2 of greenroofs and over 50,000 m2 of green walls with plans for 2 million square meters of skyrise vegetation by 2030.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, by Grant Associates, Wilkinson Eyre Architects plus many more. Photo by Grant Associates.

Q: Could you provide some advice on measures we can take to improve urban dwelling?

A: We need to find or identify local leaders to talk about the topic of greenroofing and other greening opportunities and how to implement policies and strategies to encourage project stakeholders to build with green infrastructure. We still need to inform the public and various governments of the benefits so they understand the importance of protecting the natural environment and improving our construction practices using green infrastructure. As designers and other project principals we need to inform our customers why and how to do achieve this. And, we have to find ways to lower the prices of greenroofs and walls, either through industry or with the support of governmental incentives, tax exemptions, subsidies, etc. Green infrastructure should be considered first, whenever possible, within our built environment.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

1. Munich development: Connected to large park. 2. Community garden allows people to grow flowers & vegetables. 3. Most roofs covered with greenroofs, most buildings have greened balconies. 4. Open space for socializing, typically above underground parking garages. 5. Solar Garden Roofs combine to max-out environmental benefits. 6. Houses are entirely covered with PVs. Photo courtesy of Green Roof Service.

Q: The well-being of city dwellers requires action in different fields. Could you give us your opinion on the importance of biodiversity, food security, a healthy environment, water management, energy savings, and creation of green spaces and recreation?

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall by Emilio Ambasz & Associates, a perfect integration of green over gray.

A: My academic background is landscape architecture. We recognize that our Earth is limited in its natural resources, and we have to protect all of us: animals, plants, and humans. We are as one, living and sharing an ecology that is this planet. We must bestow the heritage of a healthy and sustainable land to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The Earth is not ours to plunder, but our planet to sustain and protect for generations to come! With all my being, I believe that, in part, this is possible with architecture and design that is ecological and sustainable. Urban greening diminishes the effects of the built environment and promotes a strong and beautiful green infrastructure, flourishing and healthy.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

NAUTILUS ECO-RESORT Biophilic Learning Center: Zero-Emission, Zero-Waste, Zero-Poverty by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, Palawan 2017, Republic of the Philippines.

Author Isabel de Felipe

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

I’m honored to have been interviewed in Spain’s #1 newspaper, El País, by Isabel de Felipe, PhD and thank her for the opportunity!

Isabel is Professor Ad Honorem Polytechnic University of Madrid, on the Board of Directors for the Center for Innovation in Technology for Human Development, and has published numerous articles and books on urban greening and agriculture for development. Most importantly, she is a dear colleague of PRONATUR and WGIN.

Isabel and her husband Dr. Julian Briz participated in our second Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2013 in the Spanish-language Panel “La Agricultura Urbana en Iberoamérica y España” – “Urban Agriculture in Iberia-America and Spain” along with Dr. José María Durán-Altisent, Tanya Müller García (Moderator), Dr. Gilberto Navas, and Joaquin Sicilia Carnicer – watch it on our 2013 Virtual Summit playlist.

If you’re a Spanish speaker, you can read Diseñando con la naturaleza y no contra ella yourself at in El País.

Contact Isabel at isabel.defelipe@upm.es.

The Best Green Roof Solution… by Jörg Breuning, the Green Roof Patroller

September 28, 2017 at 6:11 pm

The Best Green Roof Solution Jörg Breuning Green Roof Patroller

The Best Green Roof Solution: Education & Experience

In my opinion as the Green Roof Patroller, the best green roof solution can only come from well-educated practitioners with a very long experience in selected horticultural and landscaping fields.  Over the many decades, Green Roofs have been developed from a mixture of high performance natural materials to a combination of engineered elements with natural components.

The Best Green Roof Solution Jörg Breuning Green Roof Patroller

Case in Point: “Classic” Roof Drain Cover.

Since North America was introduced to modern Green Roof technology much later than Europe, I believe only a few people understand the real basics and the evolution of this amazing landscaping/ horticultural practice on ground-remote locations.

Trial and Error System

Without understanding the basics, the North American Green Roof market is still like a kid who learns by trial and error – on the back and costs of building owners.  One problem is that every few months “new,” “revolutionary,” and “optimized” Green Roof systems are introduced.  Made of all kinds of materials that may sound good, many hardly withstand the biological activity of plants or the harsh environment on the roof for as long as the structure lasts.

The Best Green Roof Solution Jörg Breuning Green Roof Patroller

Brilliance – we don’t know what we are doing but when we mix all kind of different materials, double up drainage, and weigh it down with pavers, there should be no problem, right?

Something that may have been tested by NASA or firefighters isn’t automatically good for the plants or the environment.  The engineers or technicians behind such reinventions of the wheel might have fancy degrees.  However, many have hardly installed their own developments with their own hands on a large scale.

Long Term Research Lacking

Additionally, they never evaluated their inventions or innovation over a long enough time (more than 5 or 10 years) before making them available for the market.  I have seen people coming into this industry with a big bang and quietly leaving after a while to move up in the hierarchy of a different industry – to do the same there?

Who You Gonna Call?

The Best Green Roof Solution Jörg Breuning Green Roof Patroller

Erosion Blanket – is eroded and takes the soil down.  Sometimes a belt, suspenders, duct tape, super glue, and a nail in the belly button don’t help to hold the pants.  Buy pants in your size!

All of a sudden, the kid falls into the water well (a/k/a the Green Roof is not performing), then the building owners call for practitioners who are supposed to fix the engineers’ problems.  Building owners don’t usually call the original engineers or technicians because they can be vain.

And, when later problems or questions arise from the building owner, the engineers behind the design of the green roof don’t necessarily feel responsible anymore.  Perhaps they don’t always know the answers without Google, and these are hardly right.  In some cases they call a practitioner later; and even then, they don’t always provide the entire picture.

The Best Green Roof Solution Jörg Breuning Green Roof Patroller

The beauty of engineering – a squared box doesn’t follow a radius.

Engineers are typically not seeking for answers that discredit their efforts.  However, they try to suck out every piece of information they can get from practitioners and simultaneously avoid valuing the source because of being afraid of scratches to their polished image.

Plants vs. the Bottom Line

An additional problem is that most engineers (even at universities) are on the payroll of large corporations that are pressured to develop profit-maximizing solutions.  These solutions are typically against the needs of plants – because plants don’t care about money and the stock market.

The Best Green Roof Solution Jörg Breuning Green Roof Patroller

Plants are “only” the key player on green roofs.  No happy plants = no Green Roof = no happy client.

Underperforming Green Roofs

I estimate that around 50%-60% of all Green Roofs in North America are underperforming, failing, or have been renovated, replaced, or will be going under a major renovation soon.  For Germany I would estimate this number at around 5%.  At the same time, in Europe an extensive Green Roof costs around $5/sf and in the US closer to $20/sf.

My Concerns within the North American Green Roof Industry Besides the Odd Engineering Practices?

The Best Green Roof Solution Jörg Breuning Green Roof Patroller

Ingenuity – when polystyrene plastic materials fall apart before they are installed.

1. No solid, full time practical training over more than two years before getting a professional in this field.

2. Students are not being paid during practical education – they actually have to pay a few 1,000 bucks to get a certification, like buying a certificate or a title at Walmart.

3. No innovative and large scale research over 5-10 years.  Just baby step copies and mail stamp-size research (typical research areas in Europe are 10-50 times bigger than in the US).

4. Green Roof contracts are coupled with roofing contracts (it is like buying a dryer only in combination with a fridge).

5. Low roofing quality, materials and/or inverted roof membrane assemblies (IRMA).

6. Repurposing materials that were never engineered for green roofs (e.g., in my opinion, there is no American-made drainage board that would meet my criteria and the full needs for plants).

7. Worthless single source warranties.  If you choose your own microwave, you don’t get a warranty on the fridge.

8. Greed for quick cash and/or fame.

9. Not understanding the big difference within the horticultural trades (a carrot grower is not automatically a green roof expert and a beekeeper doesn’t understands all plants).

10. Huge deficit in experienced and reliable hands-on installers and maintenance for Green Roofs.

11. Often, hands-on installers/practitioners are treated dismissively from architects, GCs (general contractors), roofing companies, or engineers.

The Best Green Roof Solution Jörg Breuning Green Roof Patroller

This makes a worried customer and a happy landfill.

Green Collar Workers

Practitioners are not Blue Collar workers, they are not White Collar workers.  We are Green Collar workers who stand above the traditional collar thinking and who have had the patience to monitor this unique living environment for decades to learn how to go beyond what is written in books or on the internet.

All the above problems have a great potential to damage the Green Roof business in the long term.  Building owners don’t want to be ripped off and each project that causes problems will change their opinion about Green Roofs in general.  While many building owners don’t want to commit to owning up to a problem on their green roof, others will spread the word among other building owners.

The Best Green Roof Solution Jörg Breuning Green Roof Patroller

The nature of nature – growing media below a plastic box with stressed Sedums. When you hire a butcher: Edging with hardly any slots; slots are too big and too high.

Ultimately, all the nice colorful brochures and great write-ups from environmental associations won’t help to change the opinion of a dissatisfied building owner, nor will it change the quality of Green Roofs.

As a practitioner I approach things very practically:

If I want a good loaf of bread, I am simply not going to the butcher.  So why do you let the butcher engineer your Green Roof?

Jörg Breuning, the Green Roof Patroller

The Best Green Roof Solution Jörg Breuning Green Roof Patroller

Jörg Breuning is the founder and owner of the advisory, engineering, and design firm Green Roof Service LLC / Green Roof Technology. He first came in touch with modern green roof technology, or ecoroofs, in 1980 as an employee at a German landscape and green roofing company in Stuttgart. While continuing to practice his hands?on education, Jörg attended the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany earning his degree in Horticultural Science. In 1985 he started his own company focused on ground remote vegetation, extensive green roofs and the establishment of vegetation on extreme locations. Since then his company has overseen countless projects, introduced many green roof innovations or installation techniques, and received many awards.

Contact Jörg at info@greenrooftechnology.com or 443-345-1578.  Or post your opinions here.

Past Green Roof Patroller Articles

The opinions expressed by our Guest Contributors may not necessarily reflect the beliefs of Greenroofs.com, and are offered to our readers to simply present individual views and experiences and open a dialogue of further discussion, debate and research.  Enjoy, and please share your comments.