GPW: SeQuentials Biofueling Retail Station

May 20, 2011 at 5:08 pm Project of the Week: 5/16/11
SeQuential’s Biofueling Retail Station
Eugene, OR, USA
1,900  sf. Greenroof

Year: 2006
Owner: SeQuential Biofuels
Location: Eugene, OR, USA
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Extensive
System: Custom
Size: 1,900 sq.ft.  
Slope: 17%
Access: Inaccessible, Private

Project Description & Details

SeQuential is an innovative company that produces fuel for vehicles predominately from off season farming of canola oil and agricultural and industry waste.  Completed in September, 2006, the SeQuential Biofuel Station is a demonstration in realistic, feasible, and sustainable technologies featuring examples of real world solutions that reduce energy usage and impacts on local water quality.  These features include solar panels on the fuel pump canopies, passive solar design of the convenience store, and a vegetated roof that is part of a site-stormwater system including bioswales and a detention pond.

The living roof contains over 4,800 individual plants in 5 inches of growing media. The layer of plants and engineered soil reflects sunshine and acts as insulation, keeping the interior building space cooler during the summer months.  In addition to being project managers, Habitats, Inc. staff designed the fuel station site plan, landscape and stormwater features, and designed, installed and planted the vegetated roof.  They researched available grant funding, explored LEED certification and worked with local and state planners to secure permits for the project.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Site and Landscape Design & Green Roof Design and Installation:
Sarah Whitney, Habitats, Inc.
Architect: Susan Hill, Tate Hill Jacobs
Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical: Solarc Architecture and Engineering
Solar Array Design and Installation: Weber Elliott Engineers
Transportation and Sanitation Planning: Branch Engineering
General Contractor: Pacific Northwest Environmental
Solar Array Design and Installation: Vince McClellan, Energy Design
Site Remediation: Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Additional Info

SeQuential Biofuels is a Portland fuel company born in a Eugene garage in 2000 when co-founders Ian Hill and Tomas Endicott were home-brewing biodiesel, and in 2006 became the first all-biofuel station in the Northwest, and eco-friendly to boot.  And it was a huge help that Ian’s mother, Susan Hill of Tate Hill Jacobs, was the architect.

“It is our mission to lead the renewable fuels movement in the Pacific Northwest by expanding the awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of domestically produced biofuels.    It is our vision to offer retail options and promote quality sustainable fuel alternatives to answer consumer’s growing demand for choice. It is our goal to see biofuel regionally produced and regionally consumed.” ~  SeQuential Biofuels

Today, SeQuential’s Biofueling Retail Station is a mixed-use  property that provides biodiesel fuels to a growing fleet of environmentally friendly vehicles but in 2005, along with other programs, SeQuential used an EPA brownfield cleanup grant – the first of this type – to remediate the former gas station.

Many participants were involved, including Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), SeQuential Biofuels, U.S. EPA Region 10, Lane County Property Management, Lane County Board of Commissioners, Oregon Economic and Community Development Department, and the Oregon Department of Energy.  Also known as the “Lane County – Sequential  Biofuels Project,” in 2007 it received the Phoenix Award Special Recognition for Energy Innovation.  Read about the award and  their huge efforts here.

The station offers  five blends of biofuels: E10, E85 (bioethanol), B5, B20, and B99 (biodiesel)- the numbers after “E and B” indicate the percentage mix of ethanol to gasoline, and biodiesel to petroleum diesel, respectively.  A  33.6 kilowatt BIPV canopy with 224 solar modules (some with clear backing to allow the sunlight to shine through)  shelters the pumps, providing up to half of the station’s electricity.  The convenience store design takes advantage of passive solar heat and lighting to reduce energy needs and according to the customers, one of the biggest attractions of the store is the selection of products sold inside the Biofuels Station: a 60-40 mix of natural and conventional foods which include fair-trade coffee, natural sodas, and seasonal organic produce.

“Most people’s perceptions of gas stations are that they are dirty, dingy places, but that’s not always true.” ~ Ian Hill, co founder of SeQuential Biofuels in  Biodiesel Magazine

Obviously, that’s not the case here!  And because the station is just 1,000 feet from the Willamette River, concerns with runoff were great.  The extensive living roof is highly visible with its 2:12 roof slope and is  planted with a mix of Oregon species of low-growing succulents, bulbs for seasonal colors, and wildflowers.  Working in tandem with the greenroof are the vegetated bioswales to further intercept runoff as well as capture pollution and silt.

And educational signage informs the visiting public of the many eco features:

Continuing their  commitment to cleaner energy, SeQuential Biofuels added a second station in Portland, Oregon, utilizing a sizable grant from the City of Portland. Oregon’s biodiesel industry has benefited greatly from a wide array of tools and incentives to foster the development of a robust local biofuels market, including Portland’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). As in the case of greenroofs – or ecoroofs –  Portland is a leader in this arena, too, by creating this market mover.  City leaders believe that biofuels offer promising benefits for both Portland and Oregon as whole, including: local and regional economic development opportunities; improved air quality; reduced greenhouse gas emissions; and decreased dependence on volatile oil supplies.

Currently, the RFS requires that all diesel fuel sold in the city as well as the entire state contain a minimum of 5% biodiesel or B5 (and that all gasoline contain a minimum of 10% ethanol, E10) – the first city in the U.S. to do so.  A proposed  City of Portland standard for all biofuel to contain a minimum blend of 10% biodiesel (B10) effective mid 2010 was temporarily suspended by the Portland City Council due to economic and technical circumstances, so it has reverted to B5 for now.  All of the biodiesel sold in the City of Portland must meet  ASTM quality standards.

Biodiesel costs about 50 cents more per gallon than petroleum diesel, but is renewable and better for the environment.  When burned, the fuel produces less carbon dioxide than petroleum and is made in part from recycled materials.  Putting their money where their mouth is, the Portland Water Bureau’s own fleet has used B20, B50 and B99 blends for a few years, which has been a huge incentive for providers like SeQuential Biofuels.

Read more from SeQuential Biofuels here, including the list of awards, and see the case study and more photos  from the designers of the living roof and other stormwater features, Habitats, Inc.,  here.

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

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.

GPW: Aqua

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

Chicago, IL, USA
80,000 sf. Greenroof

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

Project Description & Details

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

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

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.”™s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: May 6th, 2011

May 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on through our “This Week in Review” video.   Here’s the transcript for May 6, 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 May 6th, 2011,  on  GreenroofsTV.

–  Project of the Week

–   Our project of the week is the Growing Up – also known as 131 Queen Street – greenroof built in 2010 in Melbourne, Australia.  Melbourne’s skyline is now a little greener with the completion of the world’s first fully-funded, competition-designed, retrofitted green roof.  The Growing Up project was launched to retrofit a green roof on a Central Business District building and to demonstrate the environmental and social benefits of green roofs on city buildings.  BENT Architecture won the design competition established for the project, and the 10-story office building at 131 Queen Street was chosen as the site.  KHD Landscape Engineering Solutions and Green Roof Technologies were involved in creating the green space as part of the $300,000 project, working together to provide end-to-end design, construction and maintenance services for green roofs.  The Growing Up project won the Melbourne Design Award for Commercial Architecture for 2010.

–   To learn more about the Growing Up (131 Queen Street) greenroof, click on our project of the week photo on our  homepage.

–   “What’s New“

–  Advertiser Press Release:  LiveRoof ® Adds [a] New Regional Sales Representative in Florida.

–   The Winner of our 2011 “Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!” Earth Day Photo Contest is the Aqua in Chicago, Illinois!  Congrats to Linda Smith from Barrett Company who submitted this lovely project which received the most votes from all the entries!  You can learn all about the Aqua at the Sky Gardens Blog.

–   Read Haven Kiers‘ latest Sky Gardens post “American Institute of Architects Select their 2011 COTE (coat) Top Ten Green Projects.”   Now in its 15th year, the AIA and its Committee on the Environment, or COTE, have once again selected their top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment.  See the three great 2011 Top Ten Award Winners that have incorporated greenroofs into their design.

–   Speaking of Sky Gardens, make sure to catch up on all of Linda’s latest posts: “GPW: Growing Up (131 Queen Street),” “The Winner of our 2011 “˜Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!’ Earth Day Photo Contest Is…,” and last week’s script for “’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV.”

–  Industry News

–   There is a New Sustainable Design 101 resource available for students and teachers from the American Society of Landscape Architects.  In addition to the animations, the resource now includes 20 case studies of sustainable projects of all sizes, including master plans, university campuses, urban farms, backyards, and greenroofs!

–   “Upcoming Events“

–   May 10th-12th: is Garden+Landscaping Middle East in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

–   And May 12th-14th: is the AIA 2011 National Convention and Design Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Don’t miss exhibits from American Hydrotech, Bison Innovative Products, CETCO, Colbond, GreenGrid/Weston Solutions, LiveRoof, Sika Sarnafil, Tremco and ZinCo USA.

–  For more Upcoming Events visit our homepage.

–   “In the News“

–   Tafline Laylin of says “It’s Always Play Time at Henning Larsen’s Beautiful Green-Roofed Day Care Center in Denmark.”  Its tall windows let in lots of light while a special climate zone allows the children to play without gloves despite the cruel winters.  Wedged into a hillside, this building keeps energy consumption to a minimum and also features a small herb and vegetable garden for the kids.  As usual, Inhabitat has more stunning photos, so go to the article and browse their gallery.

–   Another article with beautiful pictures is “House Ocho with a Lively Green Roof.”  Preston Koerner of Jetson Green talks about this project in Carmel, California designed by Feldman Architecture, whose most notable detail is its dynamic greenroof that blends in with the hillside of the Santa Lucia Mountains.   House Ocho has additional green aspects which include the integrated photovoltaic skylights, custom windows to optimize passive solar heating, thermal mass in the form of concrete floors, radiant heat floors, recycled denim insulation, and sustainably harvested wood floors.  You can read more about this project in our Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database at the link below ( or just type in Project ID # 1116 on the Projects Database search screen under Keyword.

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

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

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

–   This has been This Week in Review for May 6th, 2011 on GreenroofsTV.  I’m Anjuli Velazquez and I’ll see you next week!

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

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

~ Linda V.

GPW: Growing Up (131 Queen Street)

May 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm Project of the Week: 5/2/11
Growing Up (131 Queen Street)

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2,906 sf. Greenroof

Year: 2010
Owner: Private
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Extensive, Test/Research
System: Custom
Size: 2,906 sq.ft.  
Slope: 1%
Access: Accessible, By Appointment

Project Description & Details

Melbourne’s skyline is now a little greener with the completion of the world’s first fully-funded, competition-designed, retrofitted green roof.  The new Growing Up project was launched to retrofit a green roof to a CBD (Central Business District) building, and demonstrates the environmental and social benefits of green roofs on city buildings.

BENT Architecture won the design competition, and the 10-story office building at 131 Queen Street was chosen.  The design revolves around the central landscaped hill, from where the circulation zone expands and contracts to create a number of vegetated gathering spaces of varying scales and orientations.  Traditional garden structures, such as a folly, gazebo, and terracing, create diversity along the journey.  Growing Up (131 Queen Street) is home to over 1,300 predominantly indigenous, drought-tolerant plants.  University of Melbourne scientists assisted with the plant and growing media selection; KHD Landscape Engineering Solutions installed Elmich drainage and soil containment materials. Growing Up won the Melbourne Design Award for Commercial Architecture for 2010.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect and Greenroof Design: BENT Architecture
Project Manager: Better Projects
Waterproofing Contractor: Polyseal Group
Growing Media: Debco
Soil Blower: We Blow
Drainage: Elmich Versicell
Drainage and Growing Media Installation: KHD Landscape Engineering Solutions

Sponsored by Melbourne Water, Sustainability Victoria, VicUrban, City of Melbourne, and Australia Post, the Growing Up Competition was the initiative of the Committee for Melbourne’s Future Focus Group.  Landscape architects and architects were asked to design greenroofs for one or more of three short listed buildings, and the most sustainable and innovative greenroof design would then come to life on the winning building: 131 Queen Street – by the winning firm: BENT Architecture.  They also held a student competition, and the winning entry received $2,000 (Australian).
“A principle objective of “˜Growing Up’ was to demonstrate that the design challenges associated with retrofitting a green roof are not insurmountable and that the benefits that green roofs provide to the environment and building owners alike far outweigh the challenges associated with their construction.”    ~  Melbourne Design Awards 2010

Located in the commercial/financial area of Melbourne’s CBD, Growing Up is owned by an Owners’ Corporation comprising commercial occupancies.  The rooftop is deemed a garden oasis within the city, drawing upon considerable financial and in-kind industry support and designed as a best-practice example of how public and private organizations can partner with industry, business, and research institutions to create innovative solutions, such as vegetated roofs, to combat climate change.

The greenroof isn’t the only environmentally friendly feature – many of the building materials are recycled, including glass and river pebbles for the permeable paving, timber cladding for the planter beds, expanded polystyrene formwork for the hill, and salvaged tiles for the seating.  Rainwater is harvested from adjacent roof structures and gravity fed to water cisterns at roof level.  Permeable paving and drainage systems filter and reduce stormwater flows into the broader storm water network.

And, Growing Up includes a dedicated research area for Melbourne University scientists to investigate plant species and substrates most suitable for city’s unique climate.  You can see the short and fun video “The start of GREEN ROOFS in Melbourne” from KHD Landscape Engineering Solutions with time lapse film  here, and read more at the  Melbourne Design Awards 2010 website.

“˜Growing Up’ is a place to escape to, a place of surprise, a place to meet, a place for quiet contemplation, a place to read a book, a place to hold a class, a place for BBQs, a place to exhibit, a place for meetings, a place to gain distance and reflect on life; an engaging and vibrant multipurpose outdoor living space activated by its inhabitants and contributing to the city, both socially and environmentally.” ~  Melbourne Design Awards 2010

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

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.