Video & Project of the Week for September 15, 2014: Southface Eco Office

September 17, 2014 at 2:08 pm Project of the Week: 9/15/14


Southface Eco Office
Atlanta, GA, USA
2,000 sf. Greenroof


Project Description & Details

Built by a consortium of construction firms using widely available, off-the-shelf products, materials and technologies, the Southface Eco Office is a three-story structure with a rooftop greenroof. It was officially opened in 2009 after receiving its ENERGY STAR label, as well Platinum LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and EarthCraft Light Commercial certification – a regional green building designation specific to the Southeast. It also meets The 2030 Challenge launched by the non-profit group Architecture 2030. The Eco Office is noted for its average energy cost of less than $25 per day.

Designed by Lord, Aeck & Sargent after an inter-disciplinary design charrette, the Southface Eco Office is an 8,300 square foot environmentally responsible building project showcasing some of the innovative green building technologies available in today’s market. The Turner Foundation Green Roof on top of the third floor expands the office space into a rooftop patio with a spectacular view of downtown Atlanta. It’s home to a custom vegetated roof system using waterproofing from American Hydrotech, drainage from JDR Enterprises, growing media from ItSaul Natural, and a variety of Sedums, Delospermas, Talinums, and Hens and Chicks supplied by Saul Nurseries. It boasts a 6.4 kW photovoltaic array salvaged from a BP gas station, and a 1,750-gallon rainwater collection cistern. For over 30 years, Southface has been the U.S. Southeast’s non-profit leader in the promotion of sustainable homes, workplaces and communities.

Southface hosted the Atlanta Green Roof Symposium on September 15, 2014.

Year: 2008
Owner: Southface Energy Institute
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Building Type: Non-Profit
Type: Extensive, Test/Research
System: Custom
Size: 2,000 sq.ft.
Slope: 4%
Access: Accessible, By Appointment


Designers/Manufacturers of Record:

Architect: Lord, Aeck & Sargent
Landscape Architect: ECOS
Plant Supplier: Saul Nurseries
Growing Media: Mr. Natural, ItSaul Natural
Waterproofing & Green Roof System: American Hydrotech
Drainage: J-DRain by JDR Enterprises
Contractor Consortium: DPR, Hardin, Holder, R.J. Griffin, Skanska and Winter
Irrigation: Rain Bird


Project of the Week Video Feature

Watch the Southface Eco Office Project of the Week Video below or see it on our greenroofs.TV on YouTube:

Click here to see the entire profile and learn more information about this project in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Did we miss your contribution? Please let us know to add you to the profile.

Would you like one of your projects to be featured? We have to have a profile first! Submit Your Project Profile.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.

2014 is the Year of Action – Plan, Engage and Network!

January 30, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Happy New 2014 to everyone in our greenroof and greenwall community, and to your families as well!


While implementing (and breaking) our New Year’s resolutions and planning for the new year, the world has also been dealing with some challenging freak weather lately.

As in other areas of the southern United States, here in the metro Atlanta area we just experienced a devastating near complete shutdown of interstates and highways after Tuesday’s snowfall – in fact, the governor issued a state of emergency for the entire state of Georgia.  Due to the snow, heavy traffic and sheets of ice, motorists were inching by or stranded for hours on hazardous roads, children had to stay overnight at schools (reports say about 8,000 students across Georgia and Alabama woke up yesterday in school gyms or on buses), and we have experienced thousands of accidents.  At present, there are still hundreds of abandoned cars all over the roadways.


“Tennis courts like a sauna” and “extreme heat.” – After 2013’s recently being declared Australia’s hottest year on record, Melbourne experienced three consecutive days of extreme heat above 40°C during the recent Australian Open.  Some spectators, ball kids, and tennis players became ill or fainted during these sizzling hot days when temperatures reached up to 109°F (43°C) .  To avoid heat stress they placed bags of ice on their heads and necks between points and the scorching heat even halted play.


Results of global warming?  Maybe.  At least these are examples of some major temperature extremes in just the first month of our new year!

On Tuesday, here in the U.S. we watched President Obama’s fifth State of the Union address before Congress. Just a couple of his economic proposals regarding climate and energy highlighted working with states and communities on climate change resiliency and cutting pollution plus urging our Congress to end tax benefits for the oil industry and use revenues to invest in advanced vehicles that use cleaner fuels.  Awesome.

Obama says let’s make 2014 “a year of action.”  Certainly we cannot continue to heavily depend on high-carbon fossil fuels but must continue to strive towards a sustainable approach to drive innovation and embrace clean renewable energy solutions.

In our greenroof and wall world we all, too, must take a look at how we conduct business and how we can make it better – more profitable, more sustainable, more inclusive.  What are you doing within your organization to lower costs, increase sales or open up areas of debate?  Share your 2014 stories and strategies with us – we’d love to share your experience through a Guest Feature Article or blog post here on Sky Gardens.


Here at we have been brainstorming ourselves.  We sat down to plan: our activities for Earth Hour and Earth Day (should we bring back our Love the Earth, Plant a Roof Photo Contest?), which conferences we will attend (possibly Grey to Green in Toronto in June; World Green Infrastructure Congress, Sydney in September; Qingdao International Ecocity & Green Roof Conference in China in October; CitiesAlive in Nashville in November), and think about what we want to accomplish and how can we best maximize our time, serve our community, and continue to change to reflect the evolving needs of our readership.


We are convinced that information sharing and open communication are key to a vibrant, growing living architecture industry.  As markets continue to open up across the world through private and public support, opportunities abound – locally and globally.

Along those lines I just wrote a chapter in the upcoming book entitled Green Cities around the World to be published soon by PRONATUR (a Spanish rooftop agricultural group head by Dr. Julian Briz and Dr. Isabel de Felipe, member of the World Green Infrastructure Network or WGIN) and WGIN itself.  It’s entitled “Greenroofs & Greenwalls in the New Millennium: The Influence of the Age of Technology through Online and Social Media.”

I present an overview of how the advancement of greenroof and wall design, construction, and the industry itself has flourished since the turn of our new 21st century with the advent of the widespread use of the Internet, through its innate entrepreneurial spirit, and the continuing rise of information technologies.


Did you know that, according to Internet World Stats, by December 31, 2000 the Internet had 360,985,492 users worldwide and by June 30, 2012 the amount had exploded to 2,405,518,376 users?  Our views of culture, social relationships, and how we interact in the world of e-business have forever changed through electronic media and smart devices.   The Internet has altered the way we do business forever – surfing the net has become a way of life around the world.


And, as most people know, social media is no longer an emerging new world in cyberspace, but an exponentially growing online reality of fantastical proportions.  The impact and importance of social media and how it is changing the landscape of both the personal and professional worlds cannot be overstated.  Here are some recent figures of the most widespread social networking websites used to create new online business contacts and friendships with people who share similar interests:

Facebook  (1.26 billion users as of December, 2013);
LinkedIn (259 million users as of October, 2013;
Twitter (500 million total users as of October, 2013):
Google+ (540 million monthly active users as of October, 2013):
Pinterest (70 million users as of July, 2013;
Tumblr (216.3 million monthly visitors as of May, 2013):
Flickr (87 million users as of March, 2013);
and Instagram (more than 75 million monthly active users as of December, 2013).


This brings me to planning for our third virtual conference, the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2015: Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture.  We firmly believe this platform is the future, a synthesis of technology and social media – education, entertainment, and social networking – interacting directly with people across the world in our highly targeted community.  We’ve been searching for a new, lower cost medium to be able to broadcast the amazing video content provided by so many brilliant individuals and hard working organizations and further engage everyone in lively video, audio and text chatting.


While strategizing new relationships and collaboration partnerships, we continue to investigate out-of-the-box ideas and certainly welcome your input for an even greater, fun and vibrant virtual summit in 2015.  Next month we’ll start airing our 37 videos from our Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2013.  We hope these keynote, panel sessions, and individual videos will inform and inspire you!


2014-AnjuliandNickyinSnowLet’s make 2014 a year of taking new actions: plan your business and marketing strategy along with your educational and personal growth goals; engage your friends, associates, and peers to help you execute your plans; and network with new social endeavors, online and in real life!  If you’re not already connected with us, do so.

Stay warm (or cool), and try and have fun, no matter the circumstances.

I hope to see you at a physical conference or chat online soon!

~ Linda V.’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: June 8, 2012

June 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on through our “This Week in Review” video.  Here is the transcript from June 8,  2012 from our daughter, Anjuli – click on the photo below to see the video, or here.  Enjoy!

– Hello, I’m Anjuli Velázquez and welcome to “This Week in Review” for June 8th,  2012 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–  Our project of the week is the  Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House, built in 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. This popular seafood and raw bar has two locations in Atlanta, one in Grant Park and the other in Westside. The Westside location boasts a lush plant storefront, but the main curb appeal is their small custom-designed green roof pavilion structure in front of the restaurant where patrons can sit and relax. Also, you can go upstairs to the roof patio/bar and catch the terrific views of the city from above the green roof. The airy wood deck has a long bar and ample umbrella-covered seating, and the long colorfully planted flower box with shrubs and vines surrounding the deck provides beautiful blooms, and a peek over the edge reveals the pitched greenroof, colorful in various seasons.

Owner Tad Mitchell was intrigued by green roofs, and wanted to create an appealing cool space for his customers while outside. The restaurant is doing its part to reduce their carbon footprint; for example, the windmill at their Westside location reduces the amount of greenhouse gas electricity that they use and helps to feed the power grid. In addition, Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House: recycles compostables, paper and cardboard as possible; uses and maintains energy-efficient equipment; uses compact fluorescent, linear fluorescent or LED lighting; powers up & powers down; does not use plastic water and soda bottles; uses takeout packaging to include corn starch to-go cups, takeaway utensils made from potato starch and recyclable paperboard takeout containers; and uses only recycled paper.

– To learn more about the Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House,  click on our project of the week photo on our homepage (or on the above photos).

What’s New

Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Video

– Watch our Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011  Episode #26: “Keynote Address Right Plant, Right Place”  by  Ed Snodgrass.

And find the rest of the videos in this series on our GreenroofsTV page and/or our greenroofsTV YouTube channel.


–  Apex Green Roofs is looking to fill a Maintenance Position in Somerville, MA.

–  Sky Gardens Blog

– Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts: “Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 26: Right Plant, Right Place” and “’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: June 1, 2012.”

– “Upcoming Events“

– June 10th: is the Deadline for the “Show Off Your Green Thumb In The PHS City Gardens” Contest, in Philadelphia, PA.

– “In the News“

–  James West and Tim McDonnell of The Atlantic Cities, take us on “An Interactive Journey Through New York’s Roofscape Makeover.”  Green roofs and reflective roofs are becoming more popular in New York City since the 2008 city rule that requires new roofs to be more environmentally-friendly.  Also, NYC is making it easier for solar panel installers to help their rooftops to become a bigger and better energy provider.

Climate Desk, a journalistic collaboration with The Atlantic, Mother Jones, Slate, and others went to the city’s rooftops to see first-hand how the roofscape of New York is adapting to our changing climate.  Click on each image “go GREEN” for greenroofs, “go SOLAR” for solar panels and “go WHITE” for reflective roofs to watch videos about what they saw.

–  Zoe Settle of the Huffington Post Blog, talks about “A Yacht With A Conscience.” Swiss designers Milena Cvijanovich and Denis Muller of MCM Design Studio have come up with a sexy sustainable luxury mega-yacht.  Island(E)motion will have a green roof, solar panels, wind turbines and a rainwater collector.  Cvijanovich is the daughter of Dr. George B. Cvijanovich, the inventor of one of the first solar panels, and she’s made environmental awareness and sustainability key components in her design.

Island(E)motion features over 700,000 square meters of flexible photovoltaic solar panels on the flat roofs, which will supply enough energy to cover basic electricity. Thermal panels provide hot water and small wind turbines will run the rest of the electrical needs with bio-diesel electric backup generators on hand.  The recycled-steel hull was designed to reduce fuel consumption, a brand-new propeller system captures the best of hydrogen and LNG fuel cell technology and, it also boasts rainwater storage and grey and black water reuse.  Also, the MCM team planned for the traditional yachting needs, including a helipad, massage rooms, a sandy beach and a dining room that seats 24.

– To learn more about these stories and new ones posted daily, go to our In the News or Newslinks section of our website.

– Send us your green articles, videos and images to and share your greenroof or greenwall info with the world!

– Make sure to keep up with everything by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, being a member of our network on LinkedIn, and subscribing to our greenroofsTV channel on YouTube!

– This has been This Week in Review for June 8th,  2012 on GreenroofsTV.  I’m Anjuli Velázquez and I’ll see you next week!

*This week’s episode is sponsored by The Greenroof Directory, brought to you by*

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

~ Linda V.

GPW: Southface Eco Office

June 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm Project of the Week: 5/31/11
Southface Eco Office
Atlanta, GA, USA
2,000 sf. Greenroof

Year: 2008
Owner: Southface Energy Institute
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Extensive
System: Custom
Size: 2,000 sq.ft.
Slope: 4%
Access: Accessible, By Appointment

Google Map:

Project Description & Details

Southface is the U.S. Southeast’s non-profit leader in the promotion of sustainable homes, workplaces and communities. Built by a consortium of construction firms using widely available, off-the-shelf products, materials and technologies, the Platinum LEED Southface Eco Office is a three-story structure with a rooftop green roof open to the public for educational tours. Also holding an ENERGY STAR label and EarthCraft Light Commercial certification, as well as meeting The 2030 Challenge, the Eco Office is noted for its average energy cost of less than $25 per day.

The Turner Foundation Green Roof on top of the third floor expands the office space into a rooftop patio with a spectacular view of downtown Atlanta. The growing media is about 4″ deep, and was planted by staff and volunteers with a variety of Sedums, Delospermas, Talinums, and Hens and Chicks. It’s also home to a 6.4 kW photovoltaic array and a 1,750-gallon rainwater collection cistern. Waterproofing was supplied by American Hydrotech, J-DRain by JDR Enterprises, Mr. Natural growing media by ItSaul Natural, and plants by Saul Nurseries.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect: Lord, Aeck & Sargent
Landscape Architect: ECOS
Plant Supplier: Saul Nurseries
Growing Media: Mr. Natural, ItSaul Natural
Waterproofing & Green Roof System: American Hydrotech
Drainage: J-DRain by JDR Enterprises

Additional Info

For over 30 years, Southface Energy Institute has promoted sustainable homes, workplaces and communities through education, research, advocacy and technical assistance.  Driven by the Atlanta area’s growing need to save energy and water, and to preserve our natural resources, Southface proactively encourages responsible solutions for environmental living.  For example, all paved surfaces on the site are constructed of porous concrete to reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff, and the rooftop cistern below, collects rainwater from the building’s solar photovoltaic array.

I first visited Southface in the early ’00’s, when I was initially involved with the Atlanta City Hall Pilot Greenroof, and it was very green then.  They used to host the monthly Cool Communities meetings there with government, industry, academic and other non-profit stakeholders.  Then I became involved a bit with the volunteers who designed and provided materials and services for the new Eco Office.  It has always been an enlightening and rewarding place – they do great work!  Once the Eco Office was finished in 2008, it was over-the-top green!

Speaking of great work, for over 10 years now Southface has been involved with the Greenprints Conference and Trade Show.  Co-hosted by Southface and the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA), Greenprints is a two-day, high-impact educational event that addresses forward-thinking strategies for sustainable planning, policy, design and construction.  Living here in the Atlanta area, I’ve been several years, and spoke there in 2009 – it’s extremely informative and interactive.

Below is a view of the Southface Energy Office seen from the south at dusk, 2009:

“The Eco Office presents a striking profile against the evening sky and provides an appealing location for an evening soiree. Greenroof on right, and adjacent is the Southface Resource Center which was completed in 1996 to show off the best of residential green building design,” ~ Photo Courtesy Southface, Photo By and Copyright Jonathan Hillyer Photography

At 10,100 sf, the Southface Eco Office is the same size as about 74% of all commercial buildings in the U.S., but it uses 84 percent less potable water, primarily by using captured rainwater for all sewage conveyance and irrigation therefore significantly reducing its need for municipally provided potable water.  It also uses 53 percent less energy than a comparable building!

Fully instrumented to measure its resources on a 24/7 basis, you can check out performance results in real time daily, while it stores historic data for later analysis.  You can do this online via Lucid Design Group’s Building Dashboard, screens above and below, or at the touch screen located at their office.

Some other cool features you can learn about online are the tubular skylights on the Eco Office’s greenroof that provide natural daylighting with minimal solar heat gain eliminating the need for artificial lighting during the day:

Southface has a redesigned website that’s pretty awesome, and have an amazing virtual tour showing features of the exterior, interior, and systems.  Make sure you visit it to learn more.  But if you’re in the area on Wednesdays, read here for real tours.

“The Eco Office proves that effective green building by firms like Lord, Aeck & Sargent can result in designing and constructing buildings that live up to energy efficiency expectations. The firm’s Director of Sustainability, Jim Nicolow, states “The green building movement needs to move beyond intuition to validation. A necessity of high-performance design is the use of quantitative analysis to inform design decisions.” ~ as seen in TriplePundit

In 2009, Southface received the Conserve Georgia Natural Leaders Award for Water Conservation for its LEED Platinum-certified Eco Office.  By the way, if you’re in the market, you can rent The Turner Foundation Green Roof, with its spectacular, panoramic city views and capacity for up to 50 people!

It’s a model of sustainability, new technologies, educational resources, and aesthetically striking – what more could you ask for from an eco-office?

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.