GPW: Oregon Health & Science University Center for Health & Healing

March 19, 2010 at 10:12 pm

I’m a little late for profiling last week’s Greenroof Project of the Week (GPW), the stunning Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Center for Health & Healing (CHH)  – because we were in Portland last week for Ecoroof Portland, which I’ll be blogging about next.   I’ve  been a fan of  this project for a few years – in 2008 Haven Kiers and I included it in the #1 category for our Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof Design, “The Influence of LEED on Design Professionals = Pushing the Green Envelope,” and as a judge for the 2009 Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ Green Roof Design Awards of Excellence, I had the pleasure of reviewing it in detail  (unfortunately, it was beat out by the awesome Gary Comer Youth Center).

The Oregon Health & Science University  is dedicated to improving the health and quality of life for all Oregonians through excellence, innovation and leadership in health care, education and research.   One of the largest employers in a city and a state known worldwide for leadership and dedication to conservation and the environment, OHSU’s CHH building represents the state-of-the-art in integrative design, involving the hard work and input of many multi-disciplinary professionals.

Located in Portland’s South Waterfront neighborhood, the award-winning 16-story, 400,000 sf OHSU Center for Health & Healing is one of the first buildings to rise from this former shipyard site and the first building in their new River Campus.   The Center for Health & Healing is the most resource efficient large scale building in the region, and one of the greenest in the U.S.   A mixed-use facility for wellness, medical research, clinics, surgery, classrooms and ground floor retail, in 2007 it received Platinum LEED certification, making it the first medical and research facility in the world to have achieved this distinction.   The integrated design features this building boasts is amazing (see the profile), and as a result is 61% more energy efficient than required by Oregon code.
 

“This is a remarkable achievement given the complex array of uses and systems that were needed in the building.   We had to capture every opportunity to integrate together function, architecture and engineering.   This is really the result of a great collaborative team effort.   We have set a new standard for OHSU and for other projects in Portland.” ~ David Crawford, chief financial officer of the OHSU Medical Group (press release).

The Center is linked to Marquam Hill by the Portland Aerial Tram, which has proved to be a major success. According to OHSU, this highly efficient passenger conveyance between their facilities  is estimated to eliminate 2 million vehicle miles and 93,000 gallons of gasoline annually, and reduce yearly greenhouse emissions by more than 1,000 tons.

OHSU CHH has both extensive greenroofs (or ecoroofs) and intensive greenroofs (roof gardens), with a mixture of public and private accessibility.  

Non-accessible ecoroofs include those found on the 17th floor, and staff-only extensive gardens and office accessible balconies located off the 15th and 16th floors, above.

The accessible areas include the day patient area on the 4th floor (above) which opens out onto the restorative garden and the 5th floor (below) which opens out onto the courtyard, a common area and intensive green roof.

“Both programmed for passive recreation, these rooftop gardens allow patients, visitors, staff and faculty to enjoy scenic views of the region, informal social interactions as well as organized gatherings and events.   The roof gardens incorporate paths through lush plantings and benches for seating, offering fresh air and a green oasis as a seasonal topic for the soul amidst the stressful world.” ~ Walker Macy.

We had wanted to visit  the building, but were unable to due simply to time restraints.   But we did speak with Laura Herbon, Associate  at Walker Macy, the landscape architecture firm who designed the greenroofs (they were exhibiting at Ecoroof Portland).   Walker Macy has broad experience providing dynamic garden design for roof gardens, ecoroofs and courtyards over structures, and their work covers a broad range of sizes and purposes and includes places meant for people to gather and grow gardens as well as sites designed strictly for stormwater management.   The OHSU CHH certainly does both!  

Walker Macy has worked on many ecoroofs in the area, including The Louisa, Mercy Corps Headquarters, Bellevue Towers, and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital –  among about 18 others involving greenroofs of some sort.   Macy Walker shared the following info about OHSU’s CHH:

“The green roofs are reducing the peak run-off volumes to the storm sewer, designed to store a minimal amount of water to keep the soil saturated, since the region’s climatic pattern””extremely wet winter and extremely dry summer””generate the volume of stored water that cannot equal the demand and supplemental irrigation that is needed. The stormwater  network connects all rooftop gardens and the fertilizers used contain no phosphorous. The OHSU building incorporates both rainwater and groundwater collection systems on the roof and underground, which get mixed with the building’s own gray water and sent to the basement treatment system. Reclaimed water is stored in cisterns before being pumped upstairs or sent outside to irrigate the building’s grounds and rooftop gardens. Excess reclaimed water is piped into the nearby Willamette River.

“OHSU had to obtain a number of special permits to install its state-of-the-art water system, which includes a membrane bioreactor in the basement that basically is a small scale sewage plant. The result is that the building uses 60% less water than most buildings its size, and its outflow to the city sewage pipes is virtually nonexistent. Through the installation of a bioreactor on site, the building cleans 15,000 gallons of wastewater a day. Constructing the water system was expensive, despite a $50,000 grant from the Portland Office of Sustainable Development and more than $500,000 in system development charges the city waived because the building does not outflow into city sewage. OHSU estimates the system will not pay back its initial costs for at least 10 years. Meanwhile, the building’s $12,000 annual water bill is considerably less than the $80,000 to $100,000 bill OHSU estimates it would have paid without the water reclamation system. The CHH generates 2.1 million gallons annually in potable water savings.

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

“After deducting tax credits and other financial incentives, the green premium for this building was a mere 1.13% of the total project cost. The facility’s return on investment will be just over one year, after which the energy savings are projected to be $600,000 annually.”

Wow!  The Oregon Health & Science University  Center for Health & Healing  embraces all that a green building should be: energy and resource efficient and good for the soul, all while providing beautiful and peaceful aesthetics.   For additional information on this LEED Platinum building and how the greenroofs tie into the whole system, review this thorough case study document produced by OHSU design team member Interface Engineering  (you can also see the LEED Scorecard) or contact Walker Macy.

~ Linda V.

 

GPW: Heinz 57 Center/Gimbels Building Restoration

February 27, 2010 at 12:51 am

heinz57-h

Formerly the Gimbel’s Department store, the Heinz 57 Center  in Pittsburgh, PA, is a wonderful example of  urban renewal.  Closed and neglected for about 14 years starting  in the late eighties, the  now restored building has been put to reuse not only in a sustainable, but beautiful  way.   In 1998 architects Burt Hill Kozar Rittlemann Associates (now Burt Hill) were brought on board to redesign the historical but ailing structure.

heinz57-lamagAlong with McKnight Development Partners, the architects incorporated a dramatic 50′ diameter octagonal atrium which runs from the roof down through seven floors.   Suddenly flooded with natural light, the Heinz Corporation was  enticed to occupy the top seven floors for their North American headquarters.   Yet curiously, environmental concerns were not driving factors for  the greenroof then; aesthetics, however, definitely were.

Although the building itself was  surrounded by  a spectacular city panorama featuring  a soaring cathedral  amidst an eclectic mixture of towering skyscrapers,  the views from the lovely floor-to-ceiling windows of the fourteenth-floor  penthouse suite  were less than exciting or acceptable: a hot black rubber roof under an equally unappealing  nine-foot-high  brick parapet wall greeted Heinz occupants.   So the architects decided a pleasing landscape atop the roof would do the trick.

The Heinz 57 Center; Photo Source: The Post-GazetteCompleted in the fall of 2001, the Heinz 57 Center was the first vegetated roof in downtown Pittsburgh,  where executives  enjoy sweeping meadow vistas wrapping their offices and blanketing the thirty-foot-wide terrace.   Four informal seating areas constructed with high-density recycled plastic lumber decking and concrete paving blocks provide informal gathering spots;  by all accounts the colorful corporate roof garden is a hit!

Last year I was interviewed by Carmen J. Lee who was writing for h – The Magazine of the Heinz Endowments, reporting how “Pittsburgh roofs are the new fertile turf for environ-mentally sustainable construction projects that aim to dig in and blossom” in her article “Top Soil” (pages 24-31).   The Heinz 57 building was, of course, one of the sites featured and you’ll see I was quoted  with more  of an inspirational bent rather than specific to the project.   Carmen also profiled the local environmental group, 3 Rivers Wet Weather, which is responsible for utilizing $525,000 in federal funding plus a $125,000 Heinz Endowments  grant to sponsor a 2005 project to create more greenroofs here.

Heinz 57 Center; Photo Courtesy of Roofscapes, Inc.

Photo Courtesy Roofscapes, Inc.

In a city with an over-burdened sewer system with frequent overflows, Pittsburgh officials and researchers cite the greenroof project often as a fine example of sustainable redevelopment.   Situated within a pedestrian-friendly mixed-use business district with shops, restaurants and businesses, the Heinz 57 Center is worker friendly as well as eco-friendly, providing their 800+ employees with a variety of alternate forms of transportation.   Although Heinz executives may not have initially specified the extensive greenroof for ecological reasons, they certainly appreciate the many noticeable environmental benefits, such as  the cooling respite from the city canyon and the reduction of stormwater runoff; it’s estimated that the roof retains 55% of  yearly rainfall.

Heinz 57Center; Photo Courtesy of Roofscapes, Inc.

Charlie Miller, P.E., and his company Roofscapes, Inc.  have been responsible for a large number of award-winning greenroof projects, including this one.   His private and public portfolio runs the gamut from municipal to corporate, institutional to retail, and even includes some single-family residences.    Charlie won the 2005 Green Roof Award of Excellence  with the Heinz 57 Center/Gimbels Building Restoration in the Extensive Industrial/Commercial category, and we featured  it in the 2009 Greenroofs of the World Calendar™ by Greenroofs.com for the month of March:Heinz 57 Center in June of 2007, as illustrated in The 2008 Greenroofs of the World Calendar  

Over 18,000 plants were selected by Roofscapes, who used their Type III: Savannah Roofmeadow ® system.   Landscape architect Steven L. Cantor researched this project in depth, and you can read  his extensive case study including complete plant lists on pages 139-142 in the excellent book  Green Roofs in Sustainable Landscape Design,” 2008, available for purchase on Amazon.com.

The Heinz 57 Center; Photo Courtesy of Roofscapes, Inc.Steven  relates how  the Heinz 57 Center plant selection encompassed “32 xeric species from nineteen plant genera, including six North American natives; approximately one-third of the plants are sedums, and the balance  is a range of herbs, meadow grasses, and meadow perennials that provide differences in plant height, texture, and bloom color.”

It’s hard to believe, but the roof is not irrigated and has flourished with minimal maintenance, which includes  twice yearly  weeding and an annual light application of fertilizer.

Pittsburgh has really come along way from its gritty  industrial Steel Town roots, emerging as a  leader in green building.   According to the Green Building Alliance, as of July, 2009 the City of Pittsburgh is home to 39 LEED-certified buildings, ranked eighth in the United States for overall number of projects.  meadowsheinz

About two dozen more eco-friendly  greenroofs are found within metro Pittsburgh; read the May 19, 2009 article  “More city buildings cultivate savings by covering roofs with plants” by Sally Kalson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to learn about additional living roofs in the area.

We only have  a handful  of those references listed, so remember to send us case studies of these other projects so we may share it with all of you in the greenroof community in The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Kudos to the designers, corporate leaders and all the stakeholders of this inspiring city-core  Heinz 57 Center  renovation  for their foresight –  environmental, aesthetic, or otherwise –  to successfully integrate a greenroof into the overall design for the benefit of the building’s occupants!

Heinz 57 Center, Courtesy of Roofscapes, Inc.

~ Linda V.

GPW: Vancouver 2010 Olympic Village, Southeast False Creek (Millennium Water)

February 17, 2010 at 5:18 pm

2010 Vancouver:The Civic Centre's Greenroof on 10.27.09; City of Vancouver

What’s GPW?   I’m starting a new blog feature here on Sky Gardens ~ where cool green meets lofty blue, to go along with Greenroofs.com’s “Greenroof/Greenwall Project of the Week” – or GPW.   I’ll note back stories for each selected project and include updates,  new photos, etc.,  and  share why I feel this is a noteworthy and interesting case study.

Olympic and Paralympic Village aerial of December 17, 2009; City of Vancouver

Also known as Millennium Water, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Village at  Southeast False Creek (SEFC) will eventually become home to 16,000  residents and commercial users after the Winter Games with  250 affordable housing units in its first phase, a 45,000 square foot community center, three child care centers, an elementary school, community garden, public plaza, and much more.   The 32 hectare (80 acres) SEFC community is a former industrial site on the shores of False Creek near downtown Vancouver, B.C.   More than half of the land is owned by the City, while the remainder is owned privately.  

2010 Vancouver on 10.27.09; City of Vancouver

Millennium Development Corporation  developed the $1-billion-plus waterfront property, and the master plan for the sustainable community provided a unique opportunity to develop an urban center for residential, commercial and public use.   The City of Vancouver is to be recognized as a governmental trailblazer and recommended for dictating 50% greenroof coverage for the entire area!

Mayor Gregor receiving the LEED Platinum plaque for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Village, via CTV

Dubbed “The most sustainable neighbourhood on Earth,”  on Tuesday the Olympic Village in Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek was awarded LEED ® Platinum ND certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for a variety of factors, including its proximity to the downtown core, mix of uses, affordable housing, green buildings and habitat restoration.   And the Canadian Green Building Council announced the Gold certification of all residential buildings on the Millennium Water site.

 “This should be a source of pride for residents and an example to the rest of the world.”   ~ Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson

 Millennium Water model; photo by Danny Singer, courtesy NATIONAL

Back in 2007 our Design Editor, Haven Kiers, and I included the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Village (Millennium Water) in our inaugural Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof Design, as a current example of trendsetting sustainability efforts on a  city scale.   We showed it as an example of the #1 category  on our 2007 list for  “Visionary Proposed Projects”  – see the PowerPoint here.   NATIONAL, Millennium Development’s public relations firm, provided these images of the various models for our presentation and the  profile in The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Millennium Water model, north view; photo by Jonathan Cruz, courtesy NATIONAL

Last October at the inaugural 2009 CitiesAlive! World Green Roof Infrastructure Congress  in Toronto, I attended Dr. Karen Liu of Xero Flor Canada‘s presentation, “Special Green Roof Projects in B.C.” where she shared the company’s design and engineering  experiences for their part in the Olympic Village’s  extensive greenroofs.   In the  Master Planting  Plan (see below) the landscape architect, Durante Kreuk,  had  created  vegetated silhouettes of Olympic sports figures atop the buildings, so to achieve this, a combination of various planted Sedum plugs, annuals and lightweight red lava rock  were used.   Shallow aluminum edging helps define the different color and plant zones:

The Master Planting Plan by Durante Kreuk

Detail of a skiier by Durante Kreuk landscape architects using Xero Flor products

Olympic & Paralympic Village 2010: City of Vancouver

To update the profile, I relied on the excellent case study by The Challenge Series entitled “Millennium Water: The Southeast False Creek Olympic Village –  Vancouver, Canada.”   The story of the development is told in  a seven-chapter book that documents the decisions and challenges involved  in creating such a showcase and world-class example of green  development strategies.   You can access the entire book online above, order printed copies, or subscribe to their newsletter.   Referring to the recent LEED awards, Roger Bayley of  The Challenge Series stated:

“This esteemed certification reflects the dedication to sustainable community development that is found throughout the Millennium Water: SEFC community, and is a truly commendable achievement for all those who were a part of the planning, design and construction process.” ~ Roger Bayley

Athlete's Recreation Centre using LiveRoof modules, Courtesy and by NATS Nursery

Of course Vanouver has many beautiful greenroofs and greenwalls, and just one of numerous  other great buildings with a spectacular greenroof not to be missed is the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project, which we’ve  previously highlighted as our “Greenroof Project of the Week.”

Completed just last November, 2009, it will be interesting to see how the Olympic Village rooftop vegetation fills in and greens up after a few seasons, and we certainly look forward to visiting this beautiful city with many eco-friendly projects  in November, 2010.

2010 Vancouver Olympic & Paralympic Village close-up; City of Vancouver

Kudos to the people of Vancouver, B.C. and all involved in the many years of making the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Village at  Southeast False Creek a wonderful, welcoming place for  the athletes, officials,  and visitors, and for designing Millennium Water as  a future sustainable home to Vancouverites!

The Vancouver 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Village at sunset

~ Linda V.

Roland Appl’s CitiesAlive! Photo Tour

November 22, 2009 at 12:29 am

Last month’s Cities Alive!  Congress  offered many  opportunities to tour many examples of Toronto’s various  green infrastructure  practices, including greenroofs, green walls, and green streets.   Christine and I both shared our experiences on two different “sustainable tours,” and now we  invite you on a visual photo tour of six  locales visited  from a German colleague of ours.   Roland Appl, International Green Roof Association  (IGRA) President   & ZinCo‘s Technical Director,   joined the guided walking Tour A: “Spectacular Green Roofs in Downtown Toronto” and shares these photos with us from October 21, 2009:

University of Toronto – Trinity College – St. Hilda’s College Residence:

St. Hilda's College Residence Greenroof; Photo by Roland Appl

St. Hilda's Greenroof Garden; Photo of 10.21.09 by Roland Appl

The Metro Toronto YMCA:

The Metro Toronto YMCA Greenroof, newly planted on October 21, 2009; Photo by Roland Appl

A View of the runningtrack at the Metro Toronto YMCA

The Drs. Paul and John Rekai Centre; Photo by Roland Appl on 10.21.09

The Drs. Paul and John Rekai Centre:

The Drs. Paul and John Rekai Centre; Photo by Roland Appl on 10.21.09

The Drs. Paul and John Rekai Centre; Photo by Roland Appl on 10.21.09

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC):

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) on October 21, 2009 by Roland Appl

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) on October 21, 2009 by Roland Appl

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) on October 21, 2009 by Roland Appl

401 Richmond:

401 Richmond by Roland Appl

401 Richmond on a beautiful fall day in 2009

Photo by Roland Appl of Zinco and IGRA

The Robertson Building, 215 Spadina:

The Robertson Building, 215 Spadina Green Wall

The Robertson Building at 215 Spadina Greenroof; Photo by Roland Appl

Thanks, Roland!   I’ve created some initial profiles of each of these projects for The Greenroof Projects Database, and we’d appreciate if you have additional information and you’d like to share with us and the international greenroof community!   Please send additional text, designers/manufacturers of record, greenroof area, and photos to: projects@greenroofs.com.

~ Linda V.