GPW: Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central

December 29, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: 11/28/11
Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central
Philadelphia, PA, USA
5,000 sf. Greenroof

Year: 2008
Owner: Free Library of Philadelphia
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Building Type: Library
Type: Semi-Intensive, Test/Research
System: Custom
Size: 5,000 sq. ft.
Slope: 1%
Access: Accessible, Open to Public

Project Description & Details

Consisting of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the Free Library of Philadelphia is one of the most widely-used educational and cultural institutions in the city with more than six million visits annually.

Part of Mayor Michael Nutter’s green initiatives and the first on a city-owned building, the four story Beaux-Arts Parkway Central Library’s green roof demonstration project is divided into two areas flanking the east and west sides of the central roof terrace above the main entrance. 100 cubic yards of  rooflite ® growing media support more than 5,400 plants. Sedums include Murale White Stonecrop, Blue Cadet Creeping Sedum, and Blue Spruce Stonecrop along with grasses such as Blue Grama, Feather Reed Grass, Blue Fescue, and Prairie Dropseed. The accessible green roof offers informative signage and a beautiful view of central Philadelphia from the terrace.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect: Moshe Safdie and Associates
Architect: Kelly Maiello
Landscape Architect: Lager Raabe Skafte Landscape Architects
Greenroof Consultant: Peter Philippi, Green Roof Service, LLC
Roofing Contractor: U.S. Roofing
Growing Media: rooflite ® Extensive MC, Skyland USA
Planting Installation: Galbally Landscaping
Project Manager: Jim Pecora, Free Library of Philadelphia
Lead Project Coordinator: Fredda Lippes, City of Philadelphia
Moisture Retention Mat, Drainage Board, Root Barrier & Protection Fabric: Carlise

Additional Info

The City of Philadelphia is fast becoming a very green-oriented city due to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the efforts of many.  The City is currently working on a $2 billion stormwater plan to rethink  the way the city deals with rain.   And, their Stormwater Management Practices Design Guidelines include specifics on greenroofs.

“The 25-year plan, which has been hailed as a national model, envisions green roofs on office buildings, porous pavement on city streets and parking lots, and plants and trees with tubs of gravel below ground to hold water and stall runoff in a storm.” ~ Philly.com of June 2, 2011

See the most recent version of the Philadelphia Stormwater Management Guidance Manual (Version 2.0 revised 4/29/2011).

Specifically pertaining to greenroofs, the City  offers up to $100,000 in business tax credits.   For more info, download the Business Privilege Tax Application for the Green Roof Tax Credit, Philadelphia Code § 19-2604(8).

The Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central is located on Logan Circle at 19th and Vine Street in Philadelphia and the greenroof project was initiated by Fredda Lippes, RA, LEED AP, Dept. of Public Property and Mayor’s Office of Sustainability for The City of Philadelphia.  The Library’s greenroof was designed by Moshe Safdie and Associates, the Library’s nationally-renowned architect of the Parkway Central Library’s expansion project and numerous other high-visibility living roofs (such as the Vancouver Public Library).  Sustainability and green building practices are being incorporated into the new 180,000 square-foot addition, and the Library is seeking a silver LEED designation for the new building.

“I want to commend all of those involved in making this vision a reality.  This project is another example to cities across the country of what can happen when many different sectors – government, business and non-profits – work in partnership towards a common goal.” ~ Mayor Michael A.  Nutter

Completed at a cost of $200,000, the greenroof is mostly an extensive design with some semi-intensive areas varying from a 6″ to 12″ soil depth range.   Located on the south side of the building and accessible off the 4th floor of the Skyline room, the Library greenroof terrace offers spectacular views of downtown.

Staging for the construction of the greenroof included closing of the streets by police.   Here you see the rooflite ® supersacks of growing media being trucked in:

By the way, rooflite ® says that it takes the crane operator to unload each sack in about 3 seconds!

Monitoring of the roof has included temperature recordings:

“The summer roof temperature prior to the green roof installation was recorded as 128 degrees on the ballasted areas to 170 degrees on the exposed black EPDM – the green roof surface would average approximately 30-40 degrees less than the ballasted area.” ~Delaware Valley Green Building Council

Informative signage was an important factor for The Free Library of Philadelphia to help educate the public on the many benefits of greenroofs:

“Every Great City Needs a Great Library!” ~ The Free Library of Philadelphia

Watch a short (1:51) construction video by The Free Library of Philadelphia below:

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.

Hope to See You @ CitiesAlive 2011 in Philly This Week!

November 29, 2011 at 3:21 pm

It’s hard to believe another year has gone by, but it’s time again for the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’  2011 Green Roof & Wall ConferenceCitiesAlive 2011. Now in its 9th year, the gracious and increasingly green Philadelphia will be the host city on November 29 through December 3, 2011, held at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown.

Co-hosted by the City of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, CitiesAlive 2011 features over 50 expert design, policy, and research presentations, a trade show with the leaders of the green roof and wall industry, the Awards of Excellence, tours, and more!

This year the theme of the  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities‘ Green Roof and Wall Conference is “Restoring Urban Waters” and the City of Philadelphia  has committed to investing $2 billion in green infrastructure solutions to stormwater over the next twenty-five years.

Register here and Walk-in Registration is also welcome onsite!  Your Registration options include:

“¢ Full Delegate Pass: $549 / $449 (GRHC member rate), including:

o Access to all expert speaker sessions;
o Access to the trade show;
o Two cocktail receptions, two lunches, and breaks.

“¢ Best Value Package: $648 / $548 (GRHC member rate)

o Full Delegate Pass + Conference Recordings.

“¢ Full-Day Training Courses (Nov. 30): $449 / $375 (Delegate Rate)

o Green Roof Design 101: Introductory Course
o Green Roof Infrastructure: Design and Installation 201
o Green Roof Waterproofing and Drainage 301
o Green Roof Plants and Growing Media 401

“¢ Half-Day Training Courses (Nov. 30): $299 / $249 (Delegate Rate)

o Integrated Water Management for Buildings and Sites II: Case Studies in Performance (Launch!)
o Green Roof Policy Development Workshop
o Introduction to Rooftop Urban Agriculture
o Green Walls 101: Systems Overview and Design (2nd ed.)
o Advanced Green Roof Maintenance
o Integrated Design Workshop (Launch!)
o Integrated Water Management for Buildings and Sites

For more info on training courses, check out the CitiesAlive Detailed Agenda.  There are also these options:

“¢ One Day Pass (Dec. 1 or 2): $249
“¢ Student Pass: $99
“¢ Trade Show Pass: $45
“¢ And More!

Remember that Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is an approved provider of continuing education through LA CES, USGBC/GBCI, AIA CES and RCI.

We hope to see you this week in one of the many excellent tours, sessions, Networking Receptions, or on the Trade Show floor – for the first time since 2003 that we’ve been participating in CitiesAlive (formerly Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities), Greenroofs.com will not have a trade show booth.

After the success of our inaugural Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011, we’ve decided to go completely virtual!  Of course, since we are a website, we’re a virtual business anyway and all of our information for both readers and potential advertisers can be found online.

So you’ll see us strolling the Trade Show floor so we can visit with old friends and colleagues and get to know new ones, too.  For those of you looking forward to receiving your copy of our 2012 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Calendar, look for it by late next week!  We’ll let you know when it’s ready for holiday purchase.

If you’ll be at CitiesAlive this week, make sure to attend Haven Kiers and my session for our awesome “2011 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design” this Friday, December 2 at the 2:30 – 4:00 pm Session 6 – “6D – From Spiders to Goats: More Extraordinary Projects and Top International Trends” in the INDEPENDENCE CD room.  We’ll be inbetween the lovely Angie Durhman of Tecta America and Louise Clarke of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.

Aramis and I will also be taking in two of the tours here – the Center City Section on Wednesday and Greening the Corporate Campus – Sustainability at Work on Saturday.

See you in Philly, the City of Brotherly Love!

~ Linda V.

CitiesAlive Early Bird Registration Ends Tomorrow, July 29!

July 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Unless you have money to throw away, and let’s admit it – who does? – wouldn’t you like to save $150 off your registration for the 9th Annual 2011 CitiesAlive Green Roof and Wall Conference?

2011 CitiesAlive Conference

Co-hosted by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and the City of Philadelphia, CitiesAlive 2011 will be held in the historic and increasingly green Philadelphia, PA on November 30 – December 3.  This year the theme of the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities‘ Green Roof and Wall Conference is “Restoring Urban Waters” and the City of Philadelphia has committed to investing $2 billion in green infrastructure solutions to stormwater over the next twenty-five years.

2011 CitiesAlive Conference

CitiesAlive Early Bird Registration Deadline: 5 pm EDT,  July 29th, 2011

Early Bird Registration Rate: $299 for GRHC members and $399 for non-members = a  $150 discount on your delegate pass.

  • Included with your full delegate pass is access to:
  • Trade show
  • Poster sessions
  • Technical sessions
  • Opening plenary reception
  • Lunch, cocktails, and Local Host Committee reception on Thursday
  • The Awards of Excellence luncheon on Friday
  • A discounted rate for pre-conference professional development
  • A discounted rate on the entire Philadelphia conference proceedings (streaming audio synched to presentation slides)

2011 CitiesAlive Conference

The Conference takes place at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has arranged a special block of rooms at a preferred rate for CitiesAlive Conference Delegates.  The preferred rate for single or double occupancy is US $159.00 plus local taxes.  Click here for booking information.  The Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel is within walking distance of many of the city’s cultural and corporate attractions including Love Park, the Franklin Institute, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art as well as numerous restaurants and shops.

So, if you’re going anyway, why not register now and save some cool cash?  Again, the Early Bird Registration rate for the CitiesAlive Green Roof and Wall Conference ends tomorrow, Friday, July 29!  Register now at www.citiesalive.org.

2011 CitiesAlive ConferenceAs usual, we’ll be there with a Greenroofs.com booth at the Trade Show and I’ll be presenting along with Haven Kiers our “2011 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design.”  We’re really looking forward to exploring all that the City of Brotherly Love has to offer her visitors!

~ We hope to see you at CitiesAlive 2011!

Linda V.

Greenroofs.com”™s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: June 10, 17 & 24, 2011

June 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on  Greenroofs.com through our “This Week in Review” video.  After a summer vacation, here’s the transcript from June 24 which also covers the weeks of June 17 & 10, 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 this week, June 24th 2011, as well as for the past two weeks since I was gone for a little summer break, on  GreenroofsTV.

–  Projects of the Week

–   Our project of the week is the Hotel Ushuaïa Low-Tech Vertical Garden built in 2011 in Ibiza, Spain.  Situated in the Hotel Ushuaïa de Ibiza, the four panel eco.bin greenwall acts as a sound barrier between the open air disco, which is located in between the hotel’s central courtyard and the surrounding guest rooms.  The garden wall consists of rows of ceramic terra cotta containers whose circular openings are individually filled with growing medium and planted. Each interconnected planted ceramic has its own substrate and vegetation, and works together to create this sound-absorbent garden space.  This is the first such type of greenwall garden system in the world.  Also, the designers have selected a variety of native plants which can adapt and thrive in these Mediterranean conditions; and as you can see, they provide a multitude of colors during the year.

–   Our project of the week last week was the NYC Parks Five Borough Administrative Building built in 2007 in Randall’s Island, New York, New York. In response to Mayor Bloomberg’s visionary 2007 PlaNYC initiative, the Five Borough Technical Services division began a program of installing green roofs of various designs, realizing that they could contribute significantly to the city’s sustainability effort.  To date, the division, together with Parks’ Green Apple Corps and others, has installed 24 systems covering over 29,000 square feet of roof on the west wing of the building including Green Paks, GreenGrid, BioTrays, Bioroof, Xero Flor, and many custom designs. Five Borough’s is the only known green roof in the U.S. to feature such a vast array of distinct systems side-by-side, which vary by types of growing medium, depth of growing medium, and plant selection.  And there are also other non-traditional green roof systems here including a green wall, container systems, a “walkable” atrium system, as well as planters on top of parapet walls.  By the way, look for a very in-depth look at this roof as our Guest Feature Article coming very soon!

–   Our project of the week for June 10th was the Ruthven Garage built in 2010 in Tacoma, Washington.  In 2010, Jenny Ruthven was a horticulture student at Oregon State University, and after graduating found employment within the green roofing industry and wanted to design and install her own greenroof, and her parents’ garage was the perfect spot.  With the help of family and friends, they had to first add some additional structural support to the garage and replace the 29+ year old shingles. Then, they used a custom made blend of soil which ended up consisting of about 52% inorganic and 48% organic.  Inorganic was all pumice, with a bit of perlite thrown in. Half of the organic component was cedar grove compost, and the rest was coconut fiber, peat moss, mushroom compost, chicken compost, and steer compost. They planted 432 plants, with about 60 different species and varieties total.  Looking back now, Mom Sandra says that she  figured that she’d really like her greenroof, but had never   anticipated how much.

–   To learn more about the Ruthven Garage greenroof, type in project ID #1150 in our Projects Database, the NYC Parks Five Borough Administrative Building greenroof, project ID #787 and as always for our current project of the week, this week being the Hotel Ushüaia Low-Tech Vertical Garden, click on our project of the week photo on our homepage.  And, you can also always go to our Sky Gardens Blog and read Linda’s expanded post about our project of the week every week!

What’s New“

–  Advertiser Press Releases:

–  LiveRoof ® Adds an Architectural Specialist, Michael R. Selleck, in Chicago to Support Sales of the LiveRoof ® Hybrid Green Roof System.

–  Tremco Headquarters Completes Comprehensive Green Renovation, Becomes a Showcase of Sustainable Construction Technology.

Registration is now open in Ottawa, Canada – for a Green Living Technologies International (GLTi) Green Wall Seminar.

–  Skyland USA is pleased to announce the launch of a new rooflite ® certified growing media website.

–  Joblinks:

The University of Sheffield is looking for a Hydrologist or Urban Drainage Marie Curie More Experienced Researcher in Sheffield, United Kingdom.

–  You can go to  greenroofs.com/joblinks.htm more information on this job and other Green Roof Job postings.

–   Make sure to check out our latest Guest Feature Articles and Blog Posts:

–   Christine Thuring gives us her latest report on the 1st International Green Roof Students Conference in Sheffield, UK.

–   And Steven Peck fills us in on a Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ 2011 CitiesAlive Conference update.

–   Over at the Sky Gardens Blog, catch up on all of Linda’s other posts about Chris Wark’s 2011 7-part Green Roof Energy Series is now available on PDF, and the Greenroofs.com’s “TWIR” on GreenroofsTV for June 3rd, 2011.

–  Industry News

–   Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway announced the 15 winners of Department of Environmental Protection’s 2011 Green Infrastructure Grant Program. Selected from a total of 52 applications, the 15 winners will share approximately $3.8 million of funds to build green infrastructure projects that will reduce combined sewer overflows and improve water quality in the New York Harbor.

–  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities announces co-host agreements with the City of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for its 9th Annual CitiesAlive Green Roof and Wall Conference November 30th – December 3rd, 2011.

–  The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) has selected 13 educational and cultural facilities for this year’s CAE Educational Facility Design Awards.

–   “Upcoming Events“

–   June 21st-25th: is the 2011 APGA Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

–   June 27th-29th: is the 48th International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) World Congress in Zurich, Switzerland.

–   And on June 29th-30th: is Greenbuild EXPO Exhibition & Conference of Sustainable Building in Manchester, United Kingdom.

–  For more Upcoming Events visit our homepage.

–   “In the News“

–   Julia Johnson of the Ottawa Citizen reports on “Old film treasure preserved in federal news archives building.”  Earlier this week, Library and Archives Canada unveiled its new $14.7-million preservation facility for nitrate film on the government’s Shirleys Bay campus.  The new building now houses 5,575 reels of nitrate film dating back to 1912.  Archivist and librarian of Canada, Daniel Caron says that the new facility was also designed to be environmentally friendly, including efficient mechanical systems, insulated walls and a greenroof.  And Mario Gasperetti, the archives’ manager of strategic accommodation adds that the greenroof helps with keeping the vault cool by reducing heat exchange and instead of using manicured grass on the roof, it is designed to look exactly like the meadow landscape surrounding the building.

–   Julie Young of the Richmond Times-Dispatch talks about “Burnt-out home goes from ashes to awesome.”  She says a few years ago, the 1920s row house on Grove Avenue was an “architectural corpse.  Its skeletal remains consisted of a disfigured facade, broken bones and devastating internal damage.”  Then along came Dr. Susan Miller and her husband Dr. Kenneth Kendler to the rescue.  In 2008, they signed on to breathe life back into this burnt down home.  Over the next two years, “The Phoenix” was reborn and filled with green eco-friendly sustainable features like their own greenroof, the 25 foot tall green wall located in the home between the dining room and great room, thirty photovoltaic  roof panels, solar panels, concrete countertops flecked with reclaimed glass and rocks their now-adult children collected as kids, and much more.  The living wall ecosystem was designed by Scotty Guinn Dilworth of SG Designs and installed by Capitol Greenroofs who also installed the roof-top garden.

–   Ted Kortan of NewsNet5.com announces “Tremco Incorporated headquarters dedicated in Beachwood.”  Tremco Incorporated, a building products and solutions company, and subsidiary of RPM International, dedicated its renovated 40-year-old corporate headquarters last week.  Tremco said the project has resulted in a “high performance” building that is substantially more efficient, cost effective, and sustainable than the previous headquarters, with features like their vegetated roof with almost 1,600 plants and the area’s first solar powered electric car charging station.  Joining with company officials at Tremco’s Green Road campus for the dedication were Ohio Governor John Kasich, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, U.S. Congresswoman Betty Sutton and Beachwood Mayor Merle Gorden.

–   Sandy Bauers of Philly.com says “A tiny step forward for green roofs in Philadelphia” includes “a cheerful puff of plant life atop a bus-stop shelter.”  Tiffany Ledesma Groll, the project’s coordinator said, “We basically see this project as an opportunity to inspire homeowners.  A lot of the green roofs that are really fabulous and gorgeous are on high-rises” – which most people never see.  She goes on to say, “We thought it would be fun to bring it down to eye level.”  Last week, workers from Roofmeadow, a Philadelphia green roofs company that did the installation pro bono, were busy topping the shelter with its “mini-oasis.”  They planted a fuzz of pink dianthus, multicolored portulaca, and sedum and Roofmeadow also has committed to maintaining the roof for its first two years.  Charlie Miller, president and founder of Roofmeadow, said the roof “will give people a sense of familiarity…how it contributes to the quality of life.”  His son, Ari, designed the installation so it could be replicated as a “kit” for other bus-stop roofs in the city.

–   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 June 24th, 2011 as well as June 10th and 17th 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.