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.

The 7th Annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference

May 22, 2009 at 12:31 am

I hope many of you are traveling to southern Germany to particpate in the 2nd International Green Roof Congress in Stuttgart-Nürtingen on May 25-27 – it’s sure to be amazing.   Please send us your thoughts, comments and photos for posting afterwards!  

Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference 2009

First Time in the South

Next up in our Spring line-up of major greenroof conferences is the 7th Annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards & Trade Show on June 3-5, held for the first time in the southern U.S., here in Atlanta at the lovely Hyatt Regency – Atlanta.

It’s hard to believe Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) has put on this event yearly since 2003, debuting in Chicago – a great city with a great visionary mayor in Richard Daley, Jr.   We’ve participated every year by  exhibiting, I’ve sometimes presented papers or a poster session, attended a class (or facilitated one in the case of Portland, OR with the inaugural Green Roof 101 in 2004).   This year we’re really proud to be a Sponsor of the Conference along with The Home Depot Foundation, American Hydrotech, Tremco, Green Roof Blocks  and Sweetwater Brewing Company.   I think the industry has come a long way through the hard, dedicated work of many, and although there is still much to do, I’m confident the greenroof community will continue to  thrive within the eco-friendly world of planning, design, and construction.

The Hyatt Regency - Atlanta

It’s been fun (and time consuming, although I have had to miss some of the meetings) to have  participated on the Local Atlanta Host Committee, specifically the Tours Sub-Committee, but it’s been time well spent at Southface Energy Institute.   In fact, I’m attending the last meeting before the conference this afternoon to go over last minute items, including the tours, which I’ll be talking about in detail in a few days – but you should sign up for one of five guided tours, four on Tuesday, June 2 and one on Saturday, June 6 (another option  is a Walking Tour at your leisure) – and I should point out that I’ll be your host on Tour #2: Goodbye City, Hello “˜Burbs, on Tuesday, June 2, 2009, from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

Tours, Golf and the Launch of the GRP

The varied tours are a great highlight, as is the first annual GRHC Golf Tournament  at the Bobby Jones Golf Course, the many education courses and workshops, not to mention the awesome speaker line-up, and the opportunity to become one of the first to receive your GRP – Green Roof Professional – designation!   The launch of this long-awaited accreditation program will be on June 5, and  I plan to take it, too.

Bobby Jones Golf Course

In fact, I just interviewed Jeff Bruce, FASLA, LEED, ASIC of Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company, who is the Chair of the GRP.   Look for his insightful interview early next week, where I asked him about his company, his involvement with Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, and specifically the lengthy process he and the team experienced – the vision and initial plan; reasons why we need an accreditation program; overall considerations and requirements; how things evolved”¦all leading up to the Atlanta Conference and the inaugural testing.

Internationally Renowned Speakers, Networking, & Classes

Have you looked at the Agenda yet?   It  really is a full line up of experts from across North America and the world.    The three-day conference will consist of plenary and specialized sessions focused on four main topic areas:

1. Policies and Programs to Support Green Roofs
2. Green Roof Design and Implementation
3. Research and Technical Papers on Green Roof Performance
4. “On the Roof With “¦” Networking & Information Forums on Current Green Roof Topics with Industry Experts

Ten Arquitectos Clinton Park

Note:   Make sure to  see the 2009 installment of Haven Kiers, our Design Editor and my Top 10 List of Hot Trends  in Greenroof Design, held on  the morning of  June 5  in Track 1 – Case Studies and Design, SESSION 4, from  8:00 am – 9:30 am in Room: Hanover C – E.  

The 2009 full-delegate pass includes:

“¢   Access to over 50 presentations by green roof industry leaders
“¢   Free pass to the Industry Trade Show featuring more than 75 exhibitors showcasing Green Roof Products and Services
“¢   Access to more than 15 Poster Sessions
“¢   One Copy of the Official Conference Proceedings CD-ROM featuring the peer-reviewed Speaker Papers (retail value $75)
“¢   Browse and Lunch (June 4) and Awards of Excellence Luncheon (June 5)

Missing some classes?   Take your pick here (additional charge):

Wednesday, June 3:   GRHC Training Courses (8:30 am — 5:-00 pm)
Green Roof Design 101: Introductory Course
Green Roof Infrastructure: Design and Installation 201
Green Roof Infrastructure: Waterproofing and Drainage 301
Green Roof Infrastructure: Plants and Growing Medium 401

Friday, June 5: Green Roof Profession (GRP) Accreditation Exam — 4:00 — 6:00 pm

A  Trade Show  not to be Missed!

Also, don’t miss out on the largest industry Trade Show in North America.   Talk to the experts about their products, projects, benefits and solutions for common greenroof and wall challenges.   And please come by and visit us on the Trade Show Floor at Booth #310.

For a complete overview of the Conference program, and to register for any of the events, please visit the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities website at www.greenroofs.org.   For sponsorship and trade show opportunities please contact Jennifer Sprout jsprout@greenroofs.org or (416) 971-4494 Ext 229.   Come join the learning and celebrations of excellence at GRHC’s 7th International gathering!

Pushing the Envelope in Atlanta

More later, Linda V.