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Congrats to all the new GRP’s!

August 4, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Green Roof Professional Designation

After almost seven weeks of intense scrutiny and review, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) has relased the names of their first “graduating class” of GRP’s, or Green Roof Professionals (download the Press Release “First Green Roof Professionals (GRPs) Announced” of July 21, 2009 here.    These hardy  100+ represent the inaugural group of professionals across multi-disciplinary fields to sit for and pass the GRP exam, held in Atlanta on June 5, 2009 at the 7th Annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards & Trade Show.

The purpose of the GRP exam is to establish greenroof professional viability in our growing industrial sector.   Jeffrey L. Bruce, Chair of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, whom I interviewed in May said, “We are very pleased with the caliber of the new GRPs and the fact that they come from both the green arts side, i.e., the living components of a green roof, and the black arts side, i.e., the nonliving components. Industry experts from both the black and the green arts have worked hard over the past six years to develop training materials and a professional exam that covers best practices across the spectrum of professionals, in order to improve multi-disciplinary knowledge and practice in the field.”

Congratulations to the new designees and so many people involved  in the whole process!   Many of our friends, colleagues, and several of our Contributing Editors received their GRP designtion, including Kelly Luckett, The Green Roof Guy; Patrick Carey, The Architecure Editor; and Haven Kiers, The Design Editor.   In fact, Kelly was on the GRHC Training and Accreditation Committee which developed the Green Roof Professional Accreditation program, and he can attest to the countless hours put in by all to ensure quality, integrity  and equity.   But don’t feel too badly for them as, of course, everyone on the GRP Training and Accreditation Committee was grandfathered in and didn’t have to take the actual test!

So what about me?   Remember when I said I was going to take it, too, and to join me?   Yeah, well that never happened.   Long story, but kind of typical for me, I waited too long to actually sign up for the exam and when I tried, it was closed.   It was probably a blessing in disguise, because I hadn’t studied at all and was going to cram for the test at the last minute…   Now I can plan accordingly, study like a normal person and take the GRP exam in any of these North American cities this fall: Chicago (Sept. 18), New York (Oct. 16),  Toronto (Oct. 19), and Seattle (Oct. 30).   And since I am also a greenroof designer, I do think it will be a good thing for me to have, along with my BLA and LEED AP.

So, did you take the test?   What do you think about it?   Share your comments here with us.

See the complete list of Green Roof Professionals in the latest issue of the Living Architecture Monitor online or download a PDF from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities here.   Once again, a job well done to all!

~ Linda V.

Greenroofs.com Announces the 2009 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof Design!

June 8, 2009 at 3:29 pm

2009 marks the third year of our “Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof Design” – download the Press Release here.   Compiled by our Design Editor, Haven Kiers, and I, we presented the Top 10 List on Friday, June 5, 2009 at the 7th Annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards and Trade Show in Atlanta, GA.

Our time slot was changed by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities from 9:30 am to 8:00 am, so if you went by an older Agenda, you missed us!

In 2007, we explored “chic sustainability” and looked at examples of trailblazing and trendsetting greenroof design.   Last year, we turned to greenroof industry professionals for inspiration and guidance and asked them to share their top 10 trends of 2008 with us.   Together we chose “The Influence of LEED on Design Professionals = Pushing the Green Envelope,” “Sky High Cool Green Schools,” and “Eco-Communities & Eco-Cities” for the top three spots.

This year, the projects we have chosen all share a similar concept – the desire to improve their surrounding environment.   The focus of the Top 10 Trends of 2009 is on greenroof design as a means to combat problems in our world of the built environment versus nature, and restore sustainability to the eco-system.

Sandton City Shopping Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa

I feel the common element running through all the categories this year is the increasing shift in viewing the building not as a single physical element to be manipulated, but holistically – integrating the site, building envelope, and roof with cultural awareness – creating vegetated surfaces in 3-D and truly linking nature to human design.

Without further ado, the

Top 10 List

10) Client Specific “˜Boutique’ Greenroofs

9)     Design Competitions: Promoting Future Inspiration

8)     Earth-Sheltering for Sustainable Site Design

7)     Master Plans – Greenroofs in Every Corner

6)     Sustainable Stimulus: Green Buildings Creating Green Collar Jobs

5)     LID Strategies: Celebrating Water with Greenroofs, Rain Gardens, Stormwater Catchment & Beyond

4)     Championing the Green Machine: Policy Driven Ecological Development

3)     Healthy, Efficient & Affordable Green Housing

2)     Sky-High Green Living on the Rise: Condos, Townhomes and Lofts
1)     “Towers of Power” – Mega Vertical Structures Linking Earth and Sky

The Lilypad, a floating ecopolis with greenroofs and greenwalls for future climate change refugees

As usual, we included built projects, those on the boards, and several which are stunningly conceptual, like “The Lilypad” by Vincent Callebaut, above and below, designed to make us really push  our notion of the possibilities of function and design, and to reprioritize  and rethink our global view of our diminishing natural resources.   Actually, The Lilypad is a “Tower of Power” – Mega Vertical Structures Linking Earth, Sky, and Water!

The Lilypad by Vincent Callebaut. A completely self-sufficient floating city, each is designed to hold around 50,000 people

Missed our presentation?   No problem –  click on  the 2009 PowerPoint here:

Click here to view the Top 10 PowerPoint for 2009

You can also view the 2008 and 2007 PowerPoint presentations of the Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof Design, and the papers, too.   We’ll be posting the 2009 paper – with hyperlinks to each project in The Greenroof Projects Database –  by the end of the month.

Happy Greening!

~ Linda V.

The GRP Accreditation: An Interview with Jeffrey L. Bruce

May 29, 2009 at 12:49 am

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeff Bruce, president of Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company, Chair of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) and the GRHC Training and Accreditation Committee which developed the Green Roof Professional – or GRP – Accreditation program, last week on May 19, 2009.   Jeff and many others have devoted countless hours to developing a rigorous and comprehensive offering to the marketplace, and I wanted to learn more about the program itself as well as Jeff and his company.

Jeffrey L. Bruce, FASLA

Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company has been around for close to 30 years and has a strong reputation with projects involving landscape architecture, comprehensive master planning, site design, recreation planning, urban design and more – offering design and specialized technical support including irrigation engineering and green roof technology.

Linda:   Jeff, please tell us about your Company’s program as a professional firm – its overarching mission and goals, and how sustainability fits in?

Jeff:   Well, we’re a bit of a unique firm in so far as in the past we’ve incorporated scientists and particularly agronomy in our practice area which gave us a bit of a technology focus.   So we supply other landscape architectural groups, as well as architects and engineers, highly specialized services and green technologies, greenroofs and things of that nature.   We have a nationwide practice that helps support that little niche we’ve been fortunate to find.

Linda:   I did notice that you’re definitely national in scope and your company has been involved with many award-winning greenroof projects such as the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, Soldier Field, and more.   Can you briefly describe some of these experiences?

Millenium Park

Jeff:  Yes, they’re some of the more rewarding projects we’ve ever worked on.   At Lurie Garden we were the irrigation consultant and did some soil consulting for Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd., the lead landscape architects.   That was a very beautiful project, as well as the North Burnham Park renovation at Soldier Field where we did all the soil consulting, turf consulting, and green roof consulting for Peter Schaudt’s office.   We’ve also had three other greenroof awards for projects we’ve been fortunate enough to work on, so we’ve been able to find the right clients that allowed us to work on these exceptional projects.

Soldier Field

Linda:   You’ve had a lot of wide array of awards and honors, so kudos to you and your firm.

Jeff:   It’s finding the right client that wants to do the right project and gives us a little latitude to be creative.

Linda:   True, and I always tell people I think that it’s up to us as designers to inform our clients, to let them know all the possibilities that are out there.

Jeff:   We also have a phrase, “You can’t save an owner from himself!”   So having the right combination is certainly a blessing when it comes to assembling a team and getting the right individuals involved in it.

Linda:   The 7th Annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference  is coming up next week, and Atlanta will offer the inaugural Green Roof Professional Accreditation test on June 5.   The ad says that “by 2013, the overall green building market is forecasted to more than double.   Be ready to embrace these changing times and become a recognized professional by taking the Green Roof Professional Accreditation Exam.”   Before we get into the program itself, though, how did you first become involved with Green Roofs for Healthy Cities?

Jeff:   Well, it goes back probably 6 or 7 years –  when we submitted an abstract for the Washington, D.C. conference and the abstract at the time was “The Weakest Link in the Delivery of Green Roof Projects.”   It got the attention of the executive director,  Steven Peck, who at the time was looking for someone to chair an implementation workshop which was the 201, so he tracked me down and asked me if I’d chair that taskforce to write the GRHC 201 Implementation course.

Linda:   Now that you’ve given me the genesis of your participation, how about a little bit of the process you and the team experienced – the vision and collaboration.

Jeff:   It was quite an extensive process in so far as developing the course work and the manuals, all four courses, and then the first step in the GRP process was an occupational analysis by a task force established in 2005.   I believe about 30 professionals met in Toronto and outlined all of the needs, skills and knowledge base that a green roof professional would require, and out of that came the occupational analysis which ended up weighting the importance of each of those pieces of knowledge that a professional would possess in that process.   Then from that was the actual test accreditation exam committee that was assembled, and another 30 or 40 people at the Baltimore Conference sat down for an extra day with the industry experts and wrote test questions for the exam.   Prometric was the group that assisted us with developing the test.   They did a little training and then they reviewed all of the questions for accuracy and appropriate technical formatting.

The pool of test questions was brought back to the committee, and they went through each question one by one; a couple hundred test questions  were narrowed down to the most logical choices.   Final questions went back through another Prometric review.   There was a third review of the test questions with another select group of technical experts, and after about 18 months of development we”˜ve gotten to the point that we’re now prepared to roll out the test and have really become comfortable on the validity of the questions and the type of information being used for the exam.

Linda:   Was there any input from other organizations or associations?

Jeff:   There was a large peer review of all of the course material content, which really serves the basis of the GRP exam.   There was also   a number of individual people in particular expertise areas of the industry that were targeted as independent peer reviewers for us.   We looked at the roofing industry, the roofing manufacturing and landscape contracting, roofing consultants and landscape architects, and assembled a team of peer reviewers that went through the process  and gave us really good input to further clarify the questions and content.

Linda:   I was wondering if it was hard to get buy in from fellow colleagues, or if you encountered any resistance from any particular contingents in the industry?

Jeff:   Believe it or not, not really.   There is always this discussion and debate about accreditation and self-regulation.   I think everyone in the industry recognized the value of education and having a designation that helps the public understand that this particular individual has a certain understanding of the course material that would provide them a qualification in the marketplace.

Left to Right: 1992: Ocean Houses at Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, CA; 1995: Vancouver Public Library (Library Square Building), Vancouver, BC, Canada; 1997: The GAP Headquarters, 901 Cherry, San Bruno, CA

Linda:   Here in North America, we’ve been designing modern greenroofs since the mid 1990’s and as a result we have millions of square feet on roofs greened already.   Some people might say this program is unnecessary, especially to those who have been designing these living roofs, and that it’s simply a justification to promote the professional association and make some money.   I know the GRP is a measure of knowledge of established best practices, and that with the designation we can distinguish ourselves in the marketplace as well.    Why do you believe that the greenroof industry needs an accreditation program now?

Jeff:   Green roofs are somewhat unique as a practice area because they entail such a wide variety of disciplines that it’s very difficult or virtually impossible for any individual to be an expert in every aspect of the industry.

Linda:   I agree!

Jeff:   We’ve sort of coined the phrase that the green roof industry is complemented by two halves of the equation – the black arts and the green arts – and so when we’re looking at the accreditation program, we had to look at those skills and competencies that are required in order to understand the delivery process and not necessarily trying to test a roofer on Latin species of Sedums or a horticulturalist on the melting point of a certain asphaltic roofing compound.   So because of this wide range of knowledge, I think the GRP designation facilitates the ability of the public to understand how to apply these types of green technologies.

Boulevard Greenroof by Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company

Again, it is a voluntary program in that those who choose not to participate will still be able to practice in the field, so it’s not an obstacle for them.   From my perspective, it is a celebration of a technical body of knowledge an individual holds.

Linda:   Well, that’s a good way to look at it.

Jeff:   It is sort of a personal badge of commitment that we value this type of technology to the point that we’re willing to sit for the exam and to promote our understanding of it.   If you look at all other accreditation programs, they’ve run into many of the same criticisms that they’re a self-promotion vehicle and that they are self regulating a minority of individuals.   If you follow other programs over a period of time, you will find that the association side and the accreditation side typically become separate organizations at some point in the future.

We have seen that through ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) and CLARB (Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards), and even with the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council); they’ve migrated to two associations as the accreditation program gained momentum.   Programs also gain sophistication and complexity.   In the beginning the association is a strong support component and nurturing component in order to get an accreditation program on its feet and to get it widely accepted into public domain.

Linda:   Yeah, I agree with you.   What types of companies or professionals would you like to see come on board?

Jeff:   We did not try to restrict anyone that is interested and capable of demonstrating sufficient knowledge about this to sit for the exam and become accredited.   I think it would require a certain degree of knowledge and background about the construction industry and the construction delivery process in order to be successful.   It tends to be a logical choice for architects, engineers, roofing consultants, roofing manufacturers, landscape contractors that have an interest in green roofs – or general contractors, building management, those types of individuals that have an understanding and sequencing of the construction process.

This knowledge base that we’re looking at is really specialized applied knowledge, so it’s an overlay of what an individual might already need to understand about contracting law, projects, understanding critical path of construction sequencing and how to measure performance and success in the field.   So, although we didn’t limit who takes the exam, we tried to work off some industry assumptions and direct the materials so that it was specifically for unique aspects of green roofs in the construction market.

Linda:   Getting back to landscape architecture, the profession encompasses a broad field, embracing a wide range of interests, with many of us gravitating towards one particular area, greenroofs, for example.   As a landscape architect, do you feel specialization will eventually kill or possibly dilute our profession?

Jeff:   I’ve been involved in ASLA as a trustee for many years, and have a long involvement in ASLA.   I understand the dichotomy involved in specialization.   Over the years landscape architects have always struggled to define their identity because we are so diverse and we practice in so many different phases in society.   In a technologically increasing community and environment, it is absolutely necessary that landscape architects and other professions maintain higher levels of specialization as certain aspects of the industry get more and more complex.   I think that’s a natural aspect.   When I look at landscape architects, I am very hopeful that because of their common basis of understanding and education, they’ll still be able to maintain a dialogue and a connection with landscape architecture even as the specialties continue to get more granular and complex.

909 Walnut in Kansas City, MO by Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company

I view landscape architects collectively as contextualists in that we, in solving problems, seek out other professions.   We seek out connections with the past, seek out connections with ecology, place culture and try to mend and heal places.   This reaching out as a popular culture facilitates us working as teams and embraces a recognition of diversity within the profession.

Actually, 30- 40% of our consulting work is with other landscape architects, and it is probably the most rewarding work we do because there is an affinity of understanding.   There’s a similar basis of attempting to resolve the project.   Specialization is the way for us to get better at what we do but still maintain a common core of landscape architecture.   I’m hopeful, so very hopeful, that we will be able to continue to embrace other specializations and keep our identity under the umbrella of landscape architecture.

Linda:   Well, I have to say that was very eloquent!  I can’t think off the top of my head like that!

Jeff:   The way I got to be fellow (FASLA) is I got involved in Missouri licensure of landscape architects, and we fought a very, very tough battle that took close to 12 years to get the legislation passed.   As a result we learned every tactic in the world, politically, every backroom maneuver, and we got so good at it that I was appointed to the registration assistance team at ASLA national.  As part of the registration assistance team, we travelled around and gave legislative workshops for other states.   I was involved with six states that gained licensure.   We dealt with turf battles, strategy of defining work, specializations, and tiered accreditation of licensing.   I’ve been thinking about it for about 25 years.   So my elegant statement has been constructed over a long time.

Linda:   Then you have a good memory!

Jeff:   Well, yeah, and there’s a few things you’d like to forget about that process – I always equated it to getting your cuff caught in a piece of machinery and it just dragged you through the machinery.   During the process it was like I never thought if I’d joined this committee it meant a 25-year commitment.

Linda:   Right, it kind of takes over your life.   I know people on various GRHC committees who would say the same thing!

Jeff:   Exactly.   What attracted that organization to me, I think, was the interesting perspective about licensure and accreditation and what that might mean.   The whole opportunity to look at not a singularly educated vocation, but a very multi-disciplinary organization to establish a knowledge base of information was intriguing to me.   It’s very similar to the USGBC model but not as expansive.

Linda:   What unique attributes do you think landscape architects will offer as a Green Roof Professional?

Jeff:   Good question.   Well, I alluded to it a little bit previously, which was their propensity for team management and team building, working with other professionals.   The rooftop is an extremely hostile environment in which to try and grow vegetation, and more realistically in trying to create sustainable, restorative ecosystems.   I think the landscape architects’ skill set is perfectly aligned with those unique challenges that occur on the roof, working with constructed materials, working with natural systems, working with water, harvesting soils, and all of those things provide very unique attributes for landscape  architects.

Seapointe North Plaza, by Jeffrey L. Bruce and Company

I think each of the professions that we have targeted and involved in the process also provide those very unique but different attributes.   Roofing consultants – there is an enormous amount of technical data and expertise required in waterproofing of structures, and roofing details and flashing/counterflashing details, for example.

Linda:   Right, and that’s going to be my hardest area to take – the 301!

Jeff:   Well, I can tell you that the trepidation is equally split – if you’re part of the green arts, you fear the black arts, and if you’re part of the black arts you equally fear the green arts.   But I sincerely hope that everyone that comes out of the exam really feels that the material has been well vetted, has been well thought out and then represents a reasonable representation of the skill set we need in the generalist form.   I think we’ll strike the appropriate balance between those two divergent areas of specializations.

Linda: Getting back to the Accreditation Program, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is basing the GRP exam on the four Green Roof Courses, the 101, 201, 301, and 401, but is it a requirement that people have taken these classes already or can anyone just walk in and wing it?

Jeff:   Anyone could, in fact, sit down and take the test if they so desire.   We recognize that some people may not have the opportunity in their schedule to sit for all the courses throughout the year, so the course manuals are also available for purchase if you wanted to read through them.   As part of the legal defensibility of the exam, we had to have citable references for each of the questions and all of the questions came out of the course materials.

Linda: Can you give us some of the specifics of what to expect on the exam, like the number of questions and how it long it might take?

Jeff:   There will be 100 questions, and we’re allowed 2 hours.

Linda:   And Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is using the exam from the launch here in Atlanta as the benchmark of sorts for future tests, is that correct?

Jeff:   Yes, part of the process that we will go through with Prometric is a validation of the test questions by the first hundred or so exam takers.   So there would be, again, another quality assurance process whereby we would look aggregately at all the exam questions and see if there’s an anomaly in answers and responses so that we can make it again as fair and as defensible as possible.

Linda:   Can you give our readers any pointers or last minute advice before we take the test?

Jeff:   Well, I think, again, we tried to focus on those pieces of information that are most valuable for the professional as they facilitate teaming and delivery of green roofs.   One of the very important aspects of that was certainly the best management practices that were called out in each of the manuals.   So the best management practices are areas where we focused importance on, and you’ll see a number of questions that emerge from those particular recommendations.

Linda:   Very good, I haven’t signed up yet, just because I’m always late for everything!

Jeff:   Well, there’s always a percentage of the population that are like that so we’re looking at a really good representation of “first adopters” we’re calling them that are going to come out and represent the profession.   It should be noted that there are going to be three additional exams that will be given around the country. You can check the GRHC website for the locations and times of the other exams.

Linda:   Anything else?

Jeff:   I would just encourage everyone to come down to Atlanta and the conference –  we’ve got some extraordinary tracks that we’re looking at, one of which is food production on rooftops – rooftop agriculture – which I think is going to be a significant emerging market for us and it should be a lot of fun.

I appreciate the opportunity!

Linda: Very good, Jeff, and it really has been my pleasure to speak with you today!

For more info on the GRP, visit the FAQ’s section from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.   I hope many professionals from multi-disciplinary fields take the challenge and get their Green Roof Accreditation – I’ll be there, too:

The Green Roof Professional (GRP) Accreditation Exam will be held on Friday, June 5, 2009   at the 7th Annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at the Conference venue, the Hyatt Regency Hotel, in the Hanover Room, C-E.

Happy Greening and Test Taking!

~ Linda V.

Tour Exclusive Metro Atlanta Greenroofs!

May 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Atlanta Greenroof Tours 2009

As you should know  by now, I’ve been involved with the Atlanta Local Host Committee for the  7th Annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards & Trade Show on June 3-5, 2009.   Janet Faust, LEED AP, Environmental Horticulturist and Greenroof Product Manager with JDR Enterprises, and I are the Co-chairs of the Tour Sub-Committee, and along with a bunch of others we’ve put together a mighty fine line up of a very diverse group of greenroof projects for the guided tours on June 2 and June 6 – many of these are private and not usually accessible and open to the general public, so take advantage!

It was really hard for us to determine which projects to include on the various tours – the Atlanta area has so many  types of intensive and extensive, retail/commercial, industrial, municipal/corporate, educational, single family and multi-family residential, multi – use, you name it!   We tried to keep each varied within a common theme with  examples of conventional built-in-place, modular, custom, and  by different system providers, too.   By no means do our tours represent all of Metro Atlanta, but it will give the visitor an all-around flavor.   To see more of Georgia’s many living roofs, search The Greenroof Projects Database by Location: State: Georgia.

The tours are filling up fast, and if you’re considering joining us, you need to sign up quickly!   They are $35 each, and you can register here.   See the tri-fold Tour Brochure  – the outer side here and the inner here, designed by Caroline Menetre – our Student Intern, environmental horticulturalist and graphic artist extraordinaire –  who did a great job, by the way!   These are the details with some photos to get you inspired:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009:

TOUR # 1: Cooling It in Hotlanta
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Tour Coordinators: Greg Harper, GreenGrid  and Ernie Higgins, ItSaulnatural
Tour Hosts: David Floyd and  Greg Harper

Midtown Atlanta is vibrant and exciting with a dynamic mix of cosmopolitan retail, restaurants and entertainment.   Join us at the epicenter of the Atlanta cultural scene as we stroll through midtown touring contemporary multi-use corporate/office buildings, commercial/institutional complexes and multi-use retail/condominiums.   Midtown boasts the area’s most concentrated number of intensive/extensive greenroofs and even a stunning green wall at the luxurious W Hotel.   Many living roofs are within a mile radius; you will not be disappointed with the projects and a great opportunity for spectacular views of the city.   Guests will use the MARTA rapid trail system and should expect a good amount of walking, too!

Viewpoint, Photo Courtesy Scott King of ERTH products  1. Viewpoint:  855 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta.   Twenty-six stories high, the Viewpoint offers luxury condo residences and over 50,000 sf of eclectic retail located in Atlanta’s trendy Midtown district.   From here you can see amazing views of the city and other greenroofs, including those on the equally stunning Spire Midtown (as well as their green walls)  and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Building  greenroof, too.

2. 1010 Midtown:   1010 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta.   Neighboring Piedmont Park, the High Museum, and the Fox Theatre, 1010 Midtown is the first phase of 12th & Midtown, a massive 4-block master-planned development located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta.   The property also features a lush “Park in the Sky” with a signature swimming pool, cabanas, and manicured gardens.

1010 Midtown

The W Hotel, Green Wall by G-Sky  3. The W Hotel: 188 14th Street, NE, Atlanta.   This Green Wall  in W Hotel’s new Midtown Atlanta property is the showpiece of the exterior design.   Showcasing stylish LED lights interspersed throughout the wall, the architects successfully married the trademark chic W style with a beautiful green feature wall that greets guests at the hotel’s main entrance.

4. 1180 Peachtree: 1180 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta.   1180 Peachtree, also known as the Symphony Tower, is a Gold LEED-CS 41-story skyscraper (24 floors of office in main tower,  three podium floors on top of the parking deck, 12 levels of parking incorporated into the structure and a 2-level, 40-foot high lobby).   The plaza level has an intensive over structure garden roof and where the garden tower steps back at the 18th level, a  non-publicly accessible greenroof was installed as well.

1180 Peachtree

High Museum and Woodruff Arts center; Photo Source: Picasa, by Mike

5a. Woodruff Arts Center:   1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta.    The Woodruff Arts Center is the heartbeat of Atlanta’s arts community.   Located in midtown, the large over-structure Center offers Atlantans a bold variety of performing and visual arts – both traditional and avant-garde.   For 30 years, Woodruff Center has set the arts standard for Atlanta and the Southeast.

Frances Bunzl Administration Center of the High Museum of Art; Photo Courtesy GreenGrid5b. Bunzl Administration Center of the High Museum of Art:   1280 Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta.   This greenroof  is the largest modular system installed to date in the metropolitan Atlanta area.   The 6,680 square foot greenroof sets an example of how vegetated green roofs would benefit the City of Atlanta by cleaning and reducing stormwater runoff, reducing the urban heat island effect, reducing energy consumption, extending roof life and improving air quality.

TOUR # 2: Goodbye City, Hello “˜Burbs
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Tour Coordinator:  Linda Velazquez, Greenroofs.com/Sky Gardens Design
Tour Hosts: Jeannie Hunt, Linda Velazquez, Terry Porter, Alan Wieczynski
and Bobby Saul

Southern hospitality is also found in the suburbs of Atlanta.   Travel north of the city as we visit some of metropolitan Atlanta’s oldest and newest vegetated roofs.   Referred to locally as “˜the building with trees growing on the sides of it’ Northpark 400/500 is a flagship commercial/office park with strong geometric design, combining fully landscaped garden roofs, outdoor dining terraces and walkways and two 56-foot dome skylights.  Also on the northern corridor is Rock Mill Park, an award-winning municipal park with Cherokee heritage.   Rock Mill Park is a showcase for stormwater quality treatment and includes constructed wetlands, sand and bio-filtration ponds, vegetated swales and the Greenroof Pavilion/Greenroof Trial Gardens, all set within the 100-year floodplain.   We end the tour at Saul Nursery; for 22 years, Saul Nurseries has introduced many new plant cultivars and has supplied thousands of plants for greenroofs in the southeast.   You will see a variety of extensive greenroof plants including Sedums, Delospermas and other succulents alongside a diversity of flowering herbaceous perennials, and Saul’s own test greenroof and green wall.

1a. Northpark 400: 1100 Abernathy Rd NE Atlanta, GA.   Part of the award-winning Northpark Town Center, Northpark 400 is an 18-story, 581,000-square foot office tower connected to unique garden office suites, and atop the suites is a 2-acre park, complete with a restaurant and cascading waterfall.   Northpark Town Center anticipates receiving LEED certification in the second quarter of 2009.   Northpark is one of our oldest greenroofs, planted in 1994, and the mature trees and vegetation are flourishing, including maples, hollies, crepe myrtles, grasses and more.

Northpark 400

Northpark 5001b. Northpark 500: 1100 Abernathy Rd NE Atlanta, GA.   Although Northpark 500 has been around since 1989, the garden roof was newly waterproofed and a new greenroof system was applied in 2007.   The $6 million rehabilitation project involved removing the building’s 56,000 square-foot green roof and replacing it  with a high-performance waterproofing membrane combined with lightweight, low profile, green roof technology.   A fully landscaped roof garden with outdoor dining terraces and a walkway connection to the office tower is one of the many unique features at the 18-story 500 Northpark office tower.

2. Rock Mill Park Greenroof Pavilion & Trial Gardens: 3100 Kimball Bridge Road, Alpharetta GA.    The award-winning City of Alpharetta’s Rock Mill Park is open and inviting and connects to the popular Big Creek Greenway path system.   The original owner of the site back in the early 1800’s was “Sitawake,” a full-blood Cherokee, and design features include the cultural significance of the Cherokee ownership.   The Greenroof Pavilion uses many native and non-native plants, including succulents, grasses, and flowering herbaceous perennials.   Funded in part by an EPA Clean Water Act Section 319 Grant and the recipient of greenroof material donations from many companies, the Pavilion and Trial Gardens offer respite and educational opportunties through hand-on models and interpretive signage.

The Greenroof Pavilion and Trial Gardens of Rock Mill Park; Photo c 2008 by Harris Hatcher Photography

3. Saul Nursery,  “˜The Swamp’: 1115 W. Nancy Creek Drive, Atlanta GA.   Saul Nurseries  in Atlanta and Alpharetta, Georgia, produces over 1200 varieties of  plants and has supplied thousands for area greenroofs, both extensive and intensive, including the Atlanta City Hall.   The owners wanted to install a small test greenroof to trial appropriate plants for the hot, humid climate, and it has been featured many times on television.   We’ll stroll through the Nursery greenhouses and outdoor aisles, see and feel the numerous succulents they’re growing, and learn which herbaceous plants will work on greenroofs in the South.   Come meet Bobby Saul at the Swamp!

Saul Nursery Test Greenroof at

TOUR # 3: Green, Greener, Greenest
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Tour Coordinator: James Johnson, Emory University
Tour Hosts:    James Johnson and Michael Vaughn

Visit two forward-looking “˜campuses’  with tour emphasis on green achievement.   Emory University was the first building on a university campus to earn gold-level “LEED-EB” and is now home to 11 buildings (including several with greenroofs) that have been, or are being designed “˜LEED.’   In addition to LEED buildings, the university boasts many environmental initiatives, including an extensive alternative transportation program, the creation and continued development of a core walking campus, and a nationally recognized recycling program.   The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) founded in 1894, is an international organization.   Their newly renovated corporate headquarter campus has applied for LEED Gold Certification and truly reflects how ASHRAE standards and guidelines, put into practice, result in high-performance buildings.   The Foundation Learning Center also boasts an 1,800 square foot greenroof.

1. Emory University:   201 Dowman Drive, Atlanta GA.   Completed in October, 2008, The Emory University Department of Environmental Studies installed 420 square feet of greenroof on the Math and Science building with the intent to conduct pilot studies on the modular greenroof.   Three other test greenroofs on another demonstration roof will also be visited.   A mix of Sedums and Delospermas are planted to assess a variety of greenroof plants in the Atlanta climate.

One of Emory's University Test Greenroofs

ASHRAE Atlanta Headquarters2. ASHRAE Headquarters: 1791 Tullie Circle, N.E., Atlanta GA.   The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers  advances technology to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world.   Their newly renovated headquarters provides a healthy and productive environment for the staff and showcase ASHRAE technology while demonstrating the organization’s commitment to sustainability.   The Daikin Sustainability Garden is a vegetative roof garden above the new ASHRAE Foundation Learning Center.

Tour # 4: Lessons Learned Along the Way
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
 Tour Coordinators & Hosts: Bourke Reeve, Southface Energy Institute
and Bill Brigham, City of Altanta

Learn the ins and outs, and lessons learned along the way, of two very community centered greenroof projects.   Since 2003, the 3,000 square foot patio outside Atlanta City Hall’s fifth floor cafeteria has been home to the first city-owned greenroof in the Southeast.   The project was completed with the assistance of more than 10 companies and has been a model to downtown businesses.   Another “˜it takes a village’ greenroof project is located at the new LEED Platinum certified Southface Eco Office.   Southface has spent the last 25 years promoting “real-world” solutions for environmental living, and their new Eco Office showcases state-of-the-art energy, water and waste-reducing strategies and a 2,000 square foot greenroof.   Expect MARTA-hopping as well as moderate walking, here, too.

1. Atlanta City Hall Greenroof:  55 Trinity Avenue, Atlanta, GA.   The City of Atlanta is setting an example of sustainable and ecological design for its citizens with the investment of a 3,000 square foot greenroof on Atlanta City Hall.   By implementing this  vegetated roof project, the City of Atlanta hopes to generate reliable technical data on greenroof performance in areas such as energy efficiency, stormwater retention, the extension of roof membrane life span, and plant survival.   In 2009 the City installed an additional  100 square feet of two types of test modules looking at  plant material growth in 4″ and 8″ depths.

City of Atlanta Test Greenroof: Photo by Bill Brigham

2. Southface Eco Office: 241 Pine St. N.E., Atlanta GA.   One of the targets established during the initial  inter-disciplinary design charrette was a 60 percent reduction in energy use below that of conventional design and construction practices, with a goal of achieving all 10 LEED Energy Optimization credits.   The greenroof area on top of the third floor expands the office space to a rooftop patio with a spectacular view of downtown Atlanta.

The Southface Eco-Office Greenroof in late May, 2009: Photo by LSV

Saturday, June 6, 2009:

Tour # 5: “˜Wow’ in the Woods
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Tour Coordinator: Janet Faust, JDR Enterprises
Tour Hosts: Steve Cannon and Janet Faust

“˜Wow’ is the word you will hear exclaimed as you tour the largest sloped greenroof in the southeast.   The LEED Gold certified Gwinnett County Environmental & Heritage Center sits amid a 233-acre wooded natural park and has approximately 12 miles of paved greenway and mulched trails.   Part science and nature center, part energy institute, and part history center, it is a premier living and breathing model of educational opportunities.   The tour will highlight the uniqueness of the natural pine facility, the acre oxygen producing vegetative roof, and allow time to enjoy the hands-on science exhibits or trails.   The GEHC is a multi-sensory experience and “˜wow’ a great way to spend a leisurely Saturday morning.

1. Gwinnett County Environmental & Heritage Center:  2020 Clean Water Drive, Buford.   As a result of the award-winning Gold LEED Center’s sustainable design strategies, there is: no additional stormwater runoff; improved indoor air quality; 35% energy-use reduction; 50% water-use reduction; and demonstration of best management practices.   Some of the most important LEED features of the building include pervious paving, bio-swales, wetlands and the largest sloping greenroof in the Southeastern U.S.   The 40,000 square foot greenroof is planted with a variety of succulents.   A smaller roof on the premises is being tested exclusively with native plants, both succulent and herbaceous plant material.

 Gwinnett County Environmental & Heritage Center; Photo Courtesy Janet Faust

TOUR # 6:   Downtown Atlanta by Foot   – Anytime
Tour Coordinator: Southface

This is a free, unguided sightseeing tour,  but most of the venues require an entrance fee.   The  Georgia World Congress Center/Georgia International Plaza, Centennial Olympic Park, CNN, Philips Arena, World of Coca-Cola and the The Far Coast Pavilion, the Georgia Aquarium,  and the Fairlie Poplar Historic Dristrict are just some of the attractions you can visit with some good walking shoes.   Some either have greenroofs or are greenroofs, as many of these large venues are built over-structure!   See the Brochure for details.

All Green Roof Tours depart from the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Hotel Lobby at 265 Peachtree St., NE, Atlanta.   By the way, you do not have to be attending the Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference to  participate in  a tour.   Thanks to the many people on the Atlanta Local Host Committee for all their hard work, and especially to those on our Tours Sub-Committee!

Thanks to Caroline Menetre for the beautiful graphic art!

I do hope you choose one of these tours and take advantage of some of these secret, and not-so-secret greenroofs in Atlanta – see you around  town!

~ Linda V.