GPW: Unilever Corporate Headquarters

May 26, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: 5/23/11
Unilever Corporate Headquarters
Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA
16,000  sf. Greenroof

Year: 2009
Owner: Unilever
Location: EJ, USA
Building Type: Corporate
Type: Extensive
System: Custom
Size: 16,000 sq.ft.  
Slope: 1%
Access: Inaccessible, Private

Google Map: http://goo.gl/maps/7KkH

Project Description & Details

HDR was commissioned to assist Unilever in the relocation of approximately 400 employees to their campus at Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.  A major renovation of the facilities would be required to support the consolidation and maintain the Unilever Headquarters image. The green roof project was an outgrowth of updating the facility and promoted Unilever’s proactive stand on sustainability.

The Unilever Green Roof Project is a 16,000 SF membrane roof retrofit over a 4-story office building.  13,000 SF of the green roof resides over the 3rd floor and the remaining 3,000 SF resides between two open atriums over the 2nd floor.  Specific project challenges involved high visibility from adjacent conference and executive office space; existing railings that did not meet current building codes; existing roof leaks; minimal roof slope; concrete waffle slab structure; and existing load capacity.  A new Hydrotech monolithic membrane system with an extensive LiveRoof pre-vegetated tray system including 15 types of Sedum and one Delosperma was implemented.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect/Engineer: HDR, Inc.
Modular Greenroof System: LiveRoof
Waterproofing Manufacturer: American Hydrotech
Waterproofing Contractor: Grandview Waterproofing Inc.
Greenroof Contractor: Parker Urban Greenscapes
LiveRoof Grower/Nursery: Creek Hill Nursery
Rooftop Pavers: Hanover Architectural Products
Edge Resistant Systems: Permaloc

 

Additional Info

HDR, Inc.’s work included a full renovation of a 1970’s vintage office space, as well as 24,000 square feet of new construction for modern office areas.  They also created a central campus conference center and renovated the 16,000-square-foot 700 Campus cafeteria.

Special emphasis on the design was placed on developing interaction among the various business groups; “engagement areas” allow employees to come together and explore product innovations and marketing strategies; site planning also included  a “vitality trail” around the campus.

See the Unilever roof below before the greenroof, during the waterproofing phase, and after.  Read HDR, Inc.’s case study  here.


This is not the first commitment from Unilever to green architecture.  In fact, their European headquarters located in Hamburg, Germany’s HafenCity on the Elbe River, is considered much more than an office complex. Designed by Behnisch Architects, the vision is for it to act as an extension of a new burgeoning city core.  Envisioned like a vertical village, the huge inside atrium embraces tons of natural light, supplemented by super efficient LED interior lights.  Read more about this at Inhabitat: “Unilever’s Energy Efficient Office is One of the Greenest in Europe.”

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.

 


Greenroofs.com”™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  Greenroofs.com 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 “Greenroofs.com’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 Inhabitat.com 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 (http://www.greenroofs.com/projects/pview.php?id=1116) 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  editor@greenroofs.com.

–   Stay up-to-date with what’s going on at  Greenroofs.com 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  Greenroofs.com.*

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

~ Linda V.

“Greenroofers” at the Greenest of the Green: Greenbuild 2010

November 17, 2010 at 6:43 pm


Lovely Chicago is simply the greenest of the green cities, and there’s no doubt that Greenbuild is the greenest of the green conferences!   See this short and fun video, “Generation Green: Redefining  our Future”  with tons of cool photos around town.   It asks us to “Re: think Chicago” and is all about the merits of the Windy City –  its 25 miles of public waterfront, for example, and how it’s “Re-evolutionizing the Building Industry” by greening everything from to parks and buildings to schools and jobs:

 

Thousands of building enthusiasts and  professionals from across the globe participate at Greenbuild for three days of  informative educational sessions, renowned speakers, green building tours, seminars, and various networking events.   Chicago’s LEED-certified McCormick Place West on  Lake Shore Drive – with its 96,000 sf Green Roof Blocks™ modular system greenroof that retains about 77,812 gallons of stormwater that would otherwise flow into Lake Michigan – is the host for this  exciting annual event.

Held from November 17 through November 19, 2010, retired U.S. General Colin L. Powell kicked off Greenbuild 2010 this morning at the Greenbuild Opening Plenary:  

General Powell inspired the packed room – filled with roughly 12,000 Greenbuild attendees – with messages of leadership and optimism – and a great sense of humor! ~ Greenbuild 2010

Showcasing the latest in innovative products and services, the Greenbuild International Expo is the world’s largest expo hall devoted completely to all forms of green building, including greenroofs and greenwalls!   We try and attend at least the Expo every year, but weren’t able this  time because of our heavy travelling schedule (Mexico City in October and Singapore at the beginning of November), but if you’re there you can:

Support Greenroofs.com’s Advertisers by visiting them on the Trade Show floor:

Advanced Building Products, Inc. – Booth# 595
American Hydrotech, Inc. – Booth# 1345
Bison Innovative Products – Booth# 280
CETCO – Booth# 2254
Colbond Inc. – Booth# L1919
Conservation Technology – Booth# 2182
Green Innovations LTD – Booth# 1631
Green Roof Blocks – Booth# 413 – See President Kelly Luckett, also one of our Contributing Editors, The Green Roof Guy
GreenGrid / Weston Solutions, Inc.
– Booth# 939
International Leak Detection (ILD) – Booth# 2222
LiveRoof, LLC – Booth# 2279
rooflite / Skyland USA, LLC – Booth# 1588
Sika Sarnafil – Booth# 930
Tecta America Corp. – Booth# 378
Tremco – Booth# 423
VAST Enterprises – Booth# 2094
Xero Flor America – Booth# 781

And Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has had a booth there for several years now, promoting the North American Green Roof Industry Association.   Make sure to visit them at Booth # T24 and pick up a Green Roof Tour Map showing all their members’ booths, and get ready to attend the 8th  Annual Green Roof and Green Wall Conference – CitiesAlive! in beautiful Vancouver, B.C. on November 30 – December 3, 2010.

 

Of course, the International Expo is just one great component of this great green show of shows, so for more information about this wonderful city, the line up of speakers, educational programs and activities for 2010 Greenbuild, please visit: http://www.greenbuildexpo.org/

Happy Greening in Chicago! ~ Linda V.

GPW: The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Headquarters

May 7, 2010 at 1:16 am

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Headquarters  in Washington, D.C. was our Greenroof Project of the Week (GPW)  from April 25 through last Sunday, May 2, 2010.   When I asked  ASLA  for some updates on the roof, they explained they were in the midst of midyear meetings, so I knew I would be a bit late reporting on this beautiful rooftop space, but here we go!   I chose this particular project to end April, aptly befitting since it was Landscape Architecture Month.   Founded in 1899, ASLA chose April  because it is the birth month of the “Father of Landscape Architecture,” Frederick Law Olmsted, and in any case it’s certainly a perfect  example of thoughtful, sustainable design to end Earth Month on a positive note, too.

Being an associate member of ASLA (I’m not full ASLA because although I have a degree in landscape architecture, I’m not licensed as a landscape architect –  aka LA), I was very proud that our professional organization became a greenroofing pioneer when they decided to retrofit their headquarters with a living roof back in 2004.   Under the leadership of landscape arcitechture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.  (MVVA) and in typical LA fashion, a creative, design-focused team of practitioners was  established to determine functionality and design intent with all the stakeholders. Multiple charrettes  afforded an open invitation to collaborative feedback and re-design.   One of the main priorities was for the roof to provide educational, viewing,  and recreational opportunities to employees and visitors – in effect, a landmark demonstration project to showcase the many benefits of greenroofs and  what landscape architects contribute to this project type.

Since weight was a potential  issue on the older building as well as accessibility, the project began with a structural assessment to ensure that the roof could accommodate the additional load of a greenroof, around 40 lbs/sf for an extensive roof.   Limitations became opportunities for creative design:

“The designers made maximum use of the structural capacity of the building, varying soil depths and plantings to take advantage of differing load capacities. For example, the elevator shaft has the greatest structural capacity and could accommodate 21 inches of soil; plantings on the elevator shaft include sumac trees, which may grow as tall as 30 feet at maturity.” ~ ASLA Green Roof Demonstration Project Fact Sheet

The ASLA greenroof is unique in so many ways!   As stewards of the Earth,  landscape architects promote native plants, which always positions a plantscape – whether on land or roof – to  accurately portray  its genius loci, or sense of place.   And yet as we all know, greenroofs most certainly are not set in native environments – the “soil” is not native as it is a highly engineered growing medium designed to  supply drainage and retain moisture, secure and anchor plant roots,  and provide aeration and nutrients in a highly unnatural environment – a rooftop usually separated from the ground plane by many feet.

 

Balancing this responsibility, ASLA decided to inform the public regarding  both options and the roof contains both native and introduced plant species – the more proven,  non-native greenroof  plant material, which for the most part has been the true survivors of the harsh effects of wind, frost, heat, and drought found on a roof, and various native selections researched to perform well under this stressful conditions.   Here’s a look at the changing aesthetics of nature, even on designed spaces – the two  photos  above show the South Wave in bloom: the top photo is from early May, 2007, and the bottom from June, 2009, which sports its current look.

[The] “desire to make the green roof feel like a garden also guided MVVA’s approach to planting the space. The idea was to use the roof as a kind of laboratory for identifying species, beyond the typical green roof sedums, that could thrive in shallow soil, and under the harsh environmental conditions typical of many urban rooftops, without extensive maintenance or watering.   We were particularly interested in plants that might offer increased environmental and experiential value.

“In addition to a variety of succulents, therefore, the plantings included flowering perennials like Goldenrod, Spiderwort, Black-eyed Susans, Artemesia, and Butterfly Milkweed, as well as a variety of grasses, including Blue Gamma Grass, and Virginia Wild Rye.   For the first two years during the establishment of the plants, we had a member of our staff make periodic visits to evaluate the success of the planting, making adjustments to the plans based on our observations.” ~ Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.

So their design features two different but equally stunning elevated  “waves” featuring a 6″ deep semi-extensive system with both native (flowering herbaceous perennials and grasses) and non-native plants on the North Wave, 6′ high,  and non-native plants (mostly sedums)  on the 4.5″ deep  extensive South Wave system, 5′ high.    From the central viewing platform, plants are brought up to eye level and an aluminum grating was added so sedum is literally blooming at  visitors’ feet from another extensive greenroof system underneath.

The waves  also act as  noise insulators from the a/c units and the roof provides an urban habitat for birds, pollinating insects and butterflies.   Completed in 2006 and open to the public almost  five years now, visitors have come from around the world to view the 3,000 sf greenroof, including past First Lady Laura Bush.

MMVA provided the axonometric drawing (thumbnail) at left of the various layers of the greenroof which  shows how the design uses typical green roof materials, but in a way that is layered and exaggerated to create a space that is visually engaging and multi-functional (originally posted in the April, 2006 USATODAY.com article “Green roofs swing temperatures in urban jungles” by April Holladay  under “Anatomy of a Green Roof“).    Rachel Gleeson, Senior Associate with MVVA, explains that the  spatial innovation of the design is an extreme vertical exaggeration of the roof insulation (Styrofoam) to create the two large sloping landforms that are the “waves,” rising to heights up to six feet.   Covered with only a thin soil profile, they create a rare kind of rooftop topography that has a profound influence on the space.

 

Yet the waves posed technical challenges.  After the application of the Styrofoam, a perforated soil retention membrane was added to allow water to stream through but still   hold the plants in place.   A cable was then run through the system to prevent it from becoming airborne.   Rachel continues:   “Strong winds on the small roof threatened to shear the lightweight foam from its anchors, and the shape and angle of the landforms’ walls compounded this threat. Robert Sillman Associates, the structural engineer on the project, devised an ingenious solution that used the arcing steel frames of the landforms as armature.    [The cable] elegantly secures the two foam objects to the roof trusses below, preventing the foam from blowing off the building.”

“One of the things that MVVA felt was important with the ASLA Green Roof was to establish a precedent for a hybrid green roof garden that celebrated the unique pleasure of an urban rooftop garden without sacrificing the utility and low weight of a typical green roof.   Some of the most exciting aspects of the ASLA Green Roof are the ones that demonstrate ways that the human uses and the green roof functions could really support each other – most notably the “waves” of raised planting and also the grating that allowed for open walking surfaces above planted areas.” ~ MVVA

 

Each wave is distinct and beautiful at different times of the year and serves double-duty by not only offering all of the ecological, environmental, aesthetic and psychological benefits pertaining to greenroofing, but showing the public options for creating a living roof of their own.   And the innovative metal grating walkway system over the middle greenroof plantings allowed ASLA to utilize 90% of the greenroof by planting sedum and other succulents below the grates!  

“For the most part, sedum and green roof plants cannot be walked on, which often times creates a trade-off between having a green roof and creating an occupiable space for people.   The experimental system used in the ASLA Green Roof floats a super lightweight aluminum grating, low in heat conductivity, 3″ over a thin green roof system of sedum.   The sedum selected usually reaches about 6″ in height, so the plants are not hidden, but can poke up through the aluminum grating a bit.   In the areas of high traffic the plants that emerge through the grate get trampled a little, but this results in regeneration, rather than destruction.” (MVVA)

One more  unique feature of the project is the buy-in received from not only members of ASLA who  contributed money, but also the greenroof industry  – the majority of the products and services were donated.   Major donors include:   American Hydrotech and their Garden Roof Assembly;    Emory Knoll Farms/Green Roof Plants for vegetation; and St. Louis Metal Works for edging and drains, to name a few (see  the complete list  here).

ASLA also received a $25,000 Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grant from the Chesapeake Bay Program, a partnership between Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the federal government.

Keith Swann, Special Assistant to the Exec. VP, American Society of Landscape Architects, shares the following info with us:

The American Society of Landscape Architects Green Roof Five Years Later

The ASLA green roof still continues to amaze all who visit it. And those visitors have come from as far as the Middle East, Far East and Australia to witness its beauty. With its wide variety of soil depths and diverse plant selection, this green roof offers many microclimates for the plants to thrive. From the terrace level with three inches of growing medium, the sedums have thrived under the innovative grating system as well as the in the other areas. This grating, aluminum, light-weight and recyclable, allowed a maximum planting area and walkable space on the roof. The bonus is the sedums bloom at your feet in addition to on the “waves” bringing a wide abundance of plants and color to eye level for everyone to enjoy.
 
In addition to the terrace level and waves, the newly added staircase, which makes this a popular public project, has 12 inches of growing medium and flourishing shrubs of fragrant sumacs, Pasture rose, and New Jersey tea. The elevator shaft has 21 inches of growing medium and houses the Flame sumac and the trumpet vine that is covering the trellis for additional shade as you enter the green roof.

By using the Hobo temperature monitoring system, the green roof has shown a maximum temperature difference of 43.5 degrees lower than from a nearby tar roof.   As the plants have matured, this temperature has risen from the initial reading of 39.5 degrees lower. The expectation is that as the plants mature even more over the years, the temperature difference between the two roofs would continue to increase.   As a demonstration project, this type is data is very useful in determining the just one more attribute of how green roofs are healthier for the environment than conventional roofs.

The roof has been monitored for stormwater runoff, water quality (to determine the concentrations of contaminants of concern leaving the greenroof), and air temperature  and is  compared with data from the conventional roof on the building next door.   See a synopsis of comprehensive water monitoring data from the first year of the ASLA Headquarters’ greenroof here  or the full briefing report (both .doc files).

The ASLA is  very committed to promoting the work of landscape architects and greenroofs, so much that they have a  section of their website  devoted to the subject – Green Roof Central, where you can learn all about greenroofs in general as well as their own.    There’s a webcam showing the HQ greenroof and a page for educators and students – the ASLA Green Roof Education Program, The Roof is Growing!   The program provides print and web-based educational materials geared to a middle-school age audience (grades 6 –  8) and their teachers.   Key goals of the program are to raise awareness of environmental issues and the role green roofs can play in reducing storm water runoff, mitigating the urban heat island effect, improving air quality, and providing important biohabitat for birds and insects.   (In 2007 I  was one of the expert reviewers of the four segments of the  “The Roof Is Growing!” web component.)

Advocacy  is a also a big item for the ASLA – they focus on  state and federal issues that impact the profession of landscape architecture.  Advocacy efforts are organized around these key issues: economic recovery, transportation, sustainable design, livable communities, water & stormwater, and historic landscapes.

 

Greenroofs.com highlighted the ASLA HQ greenroof in our 2009 Greenroofs of the World™ Calendar for the month of August with the photo  above (but we Photoshopped out the ad on the brick wall per their request), and as familiar as I am with this roof, I haven’t yet visited this lovely, warm green space created with humans and nature in mind – but I promise, I will!   See a one and a half  minute video of the ASLA Green Roof from the organization  below for a quick visual of this beautifully designed, ecologically inspired, showcase of responsible architecture:

The  American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Headquarters  is located at 636 Eye Street NW, Washington D.C. 20001.   Tours of the ASLA greenroof are available for groups or individuals on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm by calling ASLA at 202.898.2444 or filling out a form.

 ~ Linda V.