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First Greenwall in New Zealand Makes Sustainability Sexy

December 29, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Sexy Hair in a Sexy Green Environment at Marr Salon

Did you see that the Auckland-based  Natural Habitats Landscapes  recently designed and installed NZ’s first commercial interior greenwall?     Sexy, too, imagine getting your hair done with living, clinging, luscious  plants breathing down your neck…

Very cool reality coming from the land of so many fantastical landscapes (sorry, I just couldn’t help the reference to Lord of the Rings, among so many other incredible, breathtaking vistas: natural, man-, Hobbit-made, or  otherwise)!

Bilbo & Frodo Baggins' Hobbit Home in The Shire, Middle Earth,from the Lord of the Rings Movie, 2001.

Pip Patterson, of Natural Habitats Landscapes, tells us that Takapuna is now home to New Zealand’s newest and most innovative venture, The Department Store, providing a multi-dimensional fashion, art and beauty experience across three floors, now featuring a dramatic greenwall.

The Stephen Marr GreenwallCompleted in mid November, 2009, one of the greenest triumphs of the new store –  which is  also a New Zealand first – is the large, vertical, interior garden or “˜Green Wall’ in the Stephen Marr Salon on the top floor.  

Spearheaded by Stephen Marr, Karen Walker and Dan Gosling from Black Box,  the Green Wall was designed by Katie Lockhart and installed by Natural Habitats Landscapes.   The Department Store showcases the very best of fresh, creative New Zealand brands, and has embraced an international level of retail thinking by designing this unique space with emphasis on our environment.

The Green Wall is a natural extension to Stephen Marr’s environmental commitment and is unique in that it is double-sided and measures 10 metres long by 2 metres high, boasting well over 1,000 individual plants.

The Soothing Marr Greenwall

The Green Wall divides the upper level, promoting unique spaces that can be used for presentations such as fashion shows.     The building has had skylights installed to ensure the wall is given as much natural light as possible and the use of supplementary man-made lighting is kept at a minimum.   Although already stunning, the green wall is initially sparse as the plants adjust and dig in to their newly created habitat, full coverage is expected within six months or so.

Note:   We get a lot of press releases claiming to be “firsts” in  many respective fields – and we rely upon readers like you to set the record straight if this is not the case.   Do you know of another green wall in New Zealand that came before this beautiful one?   Let us know!

Taking in the green vertical sights at the Stephen Marr Salon in NZ

In any case, visit  Natural Habitats Landscapes  to learn more.   See the greenwall profile in The Greenroof Projects Database here  – and after many green wall entries to date,  do you think it’s time to adjust the name of this database to perhaps “The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database”?   Stay tuned in the New Year!

Happy Greening! ~ Linda V

National Roof Over Your Head Day

December 4, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Roof Shark

Did you know that yesterday, December 3, was “National Roof Over Your Head Day?”   I didn’t, but now I’ll put it on my calendar for 2010.    Similar, I guess, to Thanksgiving, on this  day we are supposed to appreciate the things we have, starting literally with the roof over our heads.   For most of us, a roof over our head  means living in a home that protects us from the elements, keeping us warm, dry, safe, and cozy.    Lots of us take this basic necessity of life for granted, forgetting that so many people in the world are homeless with no shelter.   We’re all about greenroofs here, but of course we have to have a roof first before we can green it!   As we enter the holiday season, let’s remember those less fortunate by contributing our time, goods, or money to those in need.

Ben from Listicles  says we should be doing things to help others who aren’t so fortunate, like making a donation to a shelter.   But on a lighter note, he writes, “We should also be thankful for things we don’t have, like unwanted and inappropriate objects on those roofs over our heads.”   So they compiled some such examples of “10 Odd Things on Roofs” that you probably don’t want over your head, either, and I just had to share more of these:

Roof Ninja Rock

Roof Surfing

Roof House

Roof Cactus

See the rest of the Listicles photos here.   So how about a National Greenroof Day?   You never know, it could be coming one of these years!   Here’s one of my own favorite Odd Things You Don’t Want on a Roof:

 Cows on the Roof, from Mindscape, 2008

~ Linda V.

The Making of the Greenroofs of the World™ Calendar Series

December 1, 2009 at 5:45 pm

An exclusive of Greenroofs.com, we’re now in our  third year of publishing the “Greenroofs of the World™” 12-Month Wall Calendar series.   The 2010 version is now available  and it’s filled with beautiful living roof projects and even more green building events from around the world than the previous last two years.  

The 2010 Greenroofs of the World Front Cover

I thought it might be interesting to some of you to learn about the design process, why and how we choose the highlighted projects – the ideology behind the product, which is our first.   Although I’ve been wanting to write a book (or two) for the last nine or so years, prior to the calendar all our “products” have been intellectual property offerings.   And as you probably know, all of the information on Greenroofs.com is free and  without subscription, following an open source philosophy of information sharing.

I  had  been wanting to do a calendar for years as it was an obvious add on to The Greenroof Projects Database as well as complimentary to our Upcoming Events  section where we list conferences, workshops, presentations, etc., from around the world.   So, voilá!   2008 marked the first year of the Greenroofs of the World™ 12-Month Wall Calendar series.   How do we select our featured projects?    From our website Sponsors, which is the highest level of advertising we offer on Greenroofs.com.   It’s our way to highlight fabulous examples of sustainable roof design and thank these  companies who back us up  by marketing their ecologically friendly products and services with us.   Each chooses their desired month on a first come, first serve basis.   I ask for two of their favorite projects each along with several shots each.   Then the fun starts!   I try and represent different types of greenroofs, sizes, and geographic locations within the U.S. and the world – and of course, the quality of the photo is a huge factor.    This is what is most time consuming!   We include a short description under each photo, and do our best  to list all major designers/manufacturers of record, including the Sponsor.

As you know, greenroofs can be used at any scale, and in the past our smallest featured  vegetated roof came in at 52 sf here in Atlanta, Georgia (2008), and the largest was  a whopping 765,000 sf in Zaragoza, Spain (2009). For 2010, Calendar projects range from 1,000 sf in Manhattan, New York to 113,000 sf in Minneapolis, Minnesota, see below:

April, 2010:  The Target Center in Minneapolis, MN

In addition to displaying eye-catching greenroofs, we also desired an eco friendly product, and I feel like we do create a truly eco-chic calendar!   Our 11″ x 18″ full-color glossy 12-month wall calendars are printed on 50% recycled paper with 25% post consumer waste using soy inks.   We use The Messenger Press  of Carthagena, Ohio where Randy Heitkamp does a great job of printing  excellent quality work – and we recommend him highly.

This year we decided to go global, and you can purchase the 2010 Calendar on Amazon.com as well as from us directly.   But I will say that you’ll save money by ordering through us at only $12.95 each, with free shipping in the contiguous U.S. and Canada (contact us for international shipping rates).   And there are quantity discounts, too.

The 2010 Greenroofs of the World™ 12-Month Wall Calendar will make a great inexpensive  Christmas/Holiday gift or stocking stuffer (well, if you have a really wide stocking!) for all you greenroof aficionados out there.   See  our Press Release here, where you can view each project highlighted in The Greenroof Projects Database.   And find out the details for ordering here.

The 2010 Greenroofs of the World Calendar Back Cover

 Happy Holidays!   ~ Linda V.

The (Award-Winning) Green Wall Editor in the News

November 28, 2009 at 10:22 pm

In all the hustle and bustle of editing feature articles,  posting news stories, upcoming events, industry news and project profiles, amid other publisher duties, I sometimes forget to acknowledge the outside accomplishments (from Greenroofs.com) of our contributing editors…   This oversight will be addressed as one of my upcoming New Year’s resolutions, but for now let’s start with George Irwin, our Green Wall Editor:

George and the GLT A-Frame Assembly; Photo by James Rajottefor the New York Times

George Irwin, C.E.O. of Green Living Technologies, discusses the design of an A-frame planter his company makes.

George was recently interviewed for  the “Business of Green” article by Ken Belson titled “The Rooftop Garden Climbs Down a Wall” that appeared in the Energy & Environment section on nytimes.com of November 18 and the New York Times print version on November 19, 2009.   One of his Green Living Technologies‘ living wall products was featured when NYC  architect Brad Zizmor had an edible wall installed on the backyard deck  of his first-floor Manhattan apartment.  

The article really delves into the “Business of Green” – costs are included and Barthelmes Manufacturing Company, the sheet metal fabricator, was also  highlighted as well as Kari Elwell Katzander,  a landscape designer who designed the  3-panel green wall.    Although the author points out that these small greening solutions can be costly, he refers to another of George’s collaborations, the Urban Farming Food Chain green wall project in Los Angeles, and  says:

“Mr. Irwin has shown that edible walls can work on a larger scale. At four locations in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles, there are walls with more than 4,000 plants growing: tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, spinach, leeks, even baby watermelon. At one location, a homeless shelter, residents tend to a six-foot-high, 30-foot-long wall, eating some food they harvest and selling the rest.

The project, urban farming advocates say, is just the start of something larger.”

Make sure to also click on the slide show “Edible Walls of Green” – there are 12 awesome photos of the Zizmor wall, a living wall at the College of Applied Sciences and Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology, and cool manufacturing shots, with just a few below:


Owner Bradley Zizmor and designer Kari Elweell Katzander working on the installation of the

A close-up of the Zizmor Green Wall by James Rajotte of NYTimes.com

Oh yeah, while I’m am it, I should tell you that George Irwin won the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Award of Excellence in the Green Walls category this year.   Presented on June 5, 2009 at the 7th Annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards, and Trade Show at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, he won for his involvement  and contribution to the Urban Farming Food Chain green walls, truly a dedicated community affair of residents, manufacturers, students, professors, activists, and designers.   We were very proud of him, of course, and I should have blogged about this very prestigious accomplishment after the conference, but somehow didn’t.

The Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Award of Excellence for Green Walls

You can read more about this  award from the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities website, and see each of the initial four  green wall sites of the Urban Farming Food Chain in The Greenroof Projects Database:   Skid Row Housing Trust’s ‘The Rainbow’; The Weingart Center Association; Miguel Contreras Learning Complex and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank Green Wall.

Volunteers at the Urban Farming Food Chain Skid Row project in 2008; Photo Courtesy George Irwin

I should also probably mention that because of his work with this project, George has also been on Good Morning America and invited to the White House, too.   I am a forgetful editor, indeed!   George writes about this exciting, worthy,  and humbling experience in his upcoming Green Walls column, which should be up very soon.   Kudos, George!

 George Irwin accepting his GRHC award at the 2009 ceremony; Photo GLT.

~ Linda V.