Greenroofs.com’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: June 29, 2012

June 29, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on Greenroofs.com through our “This Week in Review” video. Here is the transcript from June 29,  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 29th,  2012 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–  Our project of the week is the  Banyan Street Manor Rooftop Farm & Vertical Gardens built in 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Located in the Kalihi section of Honolulu, Banyan Street Manor debuted the first USDA Certified Organic rooftop farm on top of an affordable housing project along with three vertical gardens.  A variety of Asian herbs and more than 20 types of produce including tomatoes, lettuce, eggplant, and green beans will be grown on the roof.  40% of the produce will be grown free of charge to building residence and the remaining produce will be sold to Whole Foods Market and other local grocery stores.

Distributors of  Green Living Technologies International, 1st Look Exteriors, will manage and maintain the 790 sf of Green Living Walls and the 2,000 square foot roof top organic garden.  A cooling feature of Banyan Street Manor is a white roof, and photovoltaic panels generate electricity to power the common areas and offset overall operating costs.  It will also feature the largest living wall in the state.

– To learn more about the Banyan Street Manor  Rooftop Farm  &  Vertical Gardens,  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 29: “Closing Keynote Address – Gardens By the Bay, Singapore” by Andrew Grant.

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

–  Guest Feature Article

– Read our Guest Feature Article, “Copenhagen, the Green City for the Third World Green Roof Congress,” by Dusty Gedge.

–  The Greenroofs.com eNewsletter

– Our June 2012 eNewsletter is out!  Check your inboxes for what’s been going on here all month long and if you’re not subscribed, click on the mail icon on our homepage and enter your e-mail address!  (Or  Subscribe  now.)

Advertiser Press Releases:

–  “˜Living Wall’ Is Part of Fashion Valley Makeover Plans installed by GreenScaped Buildings.

Industry News

–  EPA has released a series of six fact sheets on incorporating green infrastructure measures into National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) wet weather programs.  The series builds upon existing EPA authority, guidance, and agreements to describe how EPA and state permitting and enforcement professionals can work with permittees to include green infrastructure measures as part of control programs.

–  Sky Gardens Blog

– Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts:  “Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 29: Closing Keynote Address – Gardens by the Bay, Singapore” and “Greenroofs.com’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: June 22, 2012.”

– “Upcoming Events“

 June 30th: is the Early Bird Registration deadline for the World Green Roof Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

 –  July 6th-8th: is the 2012 Perennial Plant Symposium, in Boston, MA.

– “In the News“

–  Melissa Harris, of the Chicago Tribune reports on “Living green wall planned for InterContinental Chicago.”  The chief executive of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Laurence Geller, plans to add life to the InterContinental Chicago hotel on North Michigan Avenue with a 9,800-square-foot green wall.  If approved by the City Council, this will be the largest wall of its kind in North America.  Chicago is known for its greenroofs but has few green walls, experts say, due to the cost and climate.

The new Rivers Casino in Des Plaines has a small indoor one, and the Chicago Botanic Garden’s new children’s garden has four outdoor walls that cover about a total of 670 square feet.  The team is working with Green Living Technologies International, which has great experience and built the walls at the botanic garden. The plants will be grown indoors and slowly, over several months, be rotated to a 90-degree angle before being planted on the wall.

–  Kevin Ma of the St. Albert Gazette, talks about “Garden experiment takes over Enjoy Centre roof.”  He says, “rooftop gardens bring efficiency and exotic tomatoes,” and that “city residents could get to eat Boxcar Willie in about a month if all goes well at an experimental rooftop garden at the Hole’s greenhouse.”  Volunteers gathered to help plant four rooftop gardens at the Enjoy Centre last week.  The gardens are part of an experiment by the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) to test the effects of plants on Alberta roofs.  The test modules on the four roofs contain custom-made dirt, that has specific nutrient and water-retention levels, sensors and plants.

The team will track heat, moisture, photosynthesis and carbon storage rates in the modules over the next five years.  They are also conducting an experiment with 61 tomato plants on the roof to see if they can grow local food.  These are black, purple, and striped tomatoes with names like Boxcar Willie and Amish Paste.  The team is growing 28 varieties, about 80% of which are heritage tomatoes; and if all goes well, the vegetables should be ready for the Prairie Bistro restaurant downstairs by August.

– 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 editor@greenroofs.com and share your greenroof or greenwall info with the world!

– Make sure to keep up with everything Greenroofs.com 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 29th,  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 Greenroofs.com.*


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

~ Linda V.

Greenroofs.com’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: November 4, 2011

November 8, 2011 at 10:41 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 from November 4th, 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 November 4th on  GreenroofsTV.

–  Project of the Week

– Our project of the week is the  Cuartel de Ballajá Greenroof built in 2011 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Ballajá Infantry Barracks Building was constructed by the Spanish army between 1854 and 1864 and is one of the most impressive structures made by Spain in the New World. Used until 1898 as infantry barracks and permanent housing for approximately a thousand soldiers, it consisted of rooms for officers, solders and their families, storage, kitchens, dining rooms, jail cells and stables for horses. Today, the Ballajá Barracks houses several educational and cultural organizations, namely the Museo de Las Américas, on the second floor of the building since 1992.

The extensive  rooflite ® green roof was part of several “green intervention” projects done to the barracks, including a 151.2 KW PV system with 720 solar panels. Completed less than a month ago, the new 24,000 sf green roof was designed by the architect Edmundo Colon with the help of GRP David Aponte. The green roof also has greenwalls and an artificial wetland built to manage higher roof storm water amounts, which is used on a needed basis as the supplemental irrigation system.

– To learn more about the Cuartel de Ballajá, click on our project of the week photo on our  homepage.

What’s New“

– Over at Sky Gardens, read Linda’s latest posts, “CITYGREEN’s Latest Issue is Available: Parks – Enhancing Liveability in Cities“ and our GPW.

Advertiser Press Releases:

–  Innovations to GreenGrid Green Roof Take Stormwater Retention to a New Level.

Guernsey Residents Enjoy Alumasc’s ZinCo Green Roof.

Sika Sarnafil Roof Recycling Program Recognized by Society of Plastics Engineer.

Nathan Phillips Square Wins 2011 Award of Excellence – LiveRoof ® Hybrid Green Roof System Supports Transformation in Front of Toronto’s City Hall.

Industry News Update

EPA announced a commitment to using an integrated planning process to help local governments.

– “Upcoming Events“

–  November 5th: is the Fall Garden and Home Festival in El Cajon, California.

– November 8th-9th: is the 3rd Annual Retrofitting & Planning Sustainable Suburbs Summit in Toronto, Canada.

– November 9th-12th: is the Greening Cities Conference in Sydney, Australia.

– Also November 9th-12th: is GREEN CITIES at National League of Cities’ Congress of Cities & Exposition in Phoenix, Arizona.

– And on November 11th: is Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Green Infrastructure: Policies, Performance and Projects in New York, New York.

–  Check out our homepage for more Upcoming Events!

– “In the News“

– Joe Eaton of theSF Gate  says “California Academy of Sciences‘ roof is thriving.” The academy’s roof is planted with beach strawberry, bush monkeyflower, and many other species of herbs, shrubs, annuals, perennials, grasses, succulents, and ferns. One “success story” was self-heal, prunella, a purple-flowered mint herb, Frank Almeda, California Academy of Science’s senior curator, said “bumblebees just love it.” Also loving the roof are butterflies, they are really happy with the tall yellow-blossomed Hooker’s evening primrose.

Part of the roof’s message is that a plant and animal partnership is very important. Almeda said, “it’s important to learn that plants don’t just make it on their own…they have a long evolutionary partnership with pollinators.” The roof attracts insects and other creatures like bumblebees and honeybees, white and West Coast lady butterflies, and even a red-tailed hawk. Human visitors love the roof, too – and you can learn more when you take a tour.

– Emma Dutton and Bethany Leggett of Medill Reports: Chicago, report on “Indoor harvest of fresh produce part of new green arrivals at O’Hare.” They say “the latest modernization at O’Hare International Airport includes an aeroponic vegetable, herb and edible flower garden.” Some of the restaurants are using lettuce, cilantro and basil grown from the 26 vertical columns inside the airport.

Tim Blank, founder and president of Orlando-based Future Growing, designed the aeroponic garden for O’Hare and said, “in this particular case, we’re growing all this food crop right here from farm to table. So we’re bypassing the transportation and the chilling and all those components that create a huge carbon footprint to the plant. Water is one of the number one issues that we’re dealing with in this country. There is a water crisis, especially out West where most of this food is grown.” The indoor garden is one of the latest green initiatives by the Chicago Department of Aviation to increase the sustainability of Chicago airports, showcased at the fourth annual Airports Going Green Conference.

By the way, the O’Hare Aeroponic Garden is featured in the Greenroofs.com 2011 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design.  If you missed our inaugural Virtual Summit, the next time you can see Linda and Haven’s Top 10 presentation will be next month in Philadelphia for the 9th annual Cities Alive Green Roof & Wall Conference!

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  editor@greenroofs.com and share your greenroof or green wall info with the world!

– Make sure to keep up with everything  Greenroofs.com 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 November 4th, 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.

Greenroofs.com’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: October 28, 2011

November 5, 2011 at 10:31 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 from October 28th  and 21st, 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 October 28th, 2011 as well as last week, October 21st  on GreenroofsTV.

–  Projects of the Week

–   Our project of the week is the PECO Main Office Building built in 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The rooftop garden, on the top of an eight-story section of the building, holds growing media up to 8 inches thick, and the vegetative covering will reduce rainwater runoff by up to 70 percent and provide better insulation. With an anticipated investment of $15.3 million, the initiative also includes the opening of PECO’s first green building in West Chester, replacement of the landmark Crown Lights messaging system atop the company’s Center City headquarters, energy efficiency upgrades at many of the company’s offices and service centers across the region to comply with LEED certification, as well as community and customer support for energy efficiency and environmental benefits. Mayor Michael Nutter has recognized the roof as a step forward in his quest to make Philadelphia the greenest city in America. In the effort to encourage a critical mass of enlightened Philadelphians to support the development of urban roof top landscapes, the PECO green roof is proving to be a key player. Roofmeadow and the Philadelphia Horticultural Society closely track the native plants to identify those that are best able to endure the harsh conditions of a windy, riverside rooftop.

– To learn more about the PECO Main Office Building  greenroof, click on our project of the week photo on our homepage.

– Our project of the week last week was the Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Vertical Extensive Green Wall Testing Facility built in 2009 in Singapore. The Landscape Design and Horticulture programme from the School of Life Sciences and Chemical Technology at the college embarked to develop simpler green walls for high rise buildings where 90% of residences are dwellers. Then they evaluated shallow rooted plant species for their growth habit, disease susceptibility, nutrient deficiencies and maintenance requirements. The 2-year research on sustainable plant species for the green wall involved 40 students from the Landscape Design and Horticulture programme and the outcome was a 12m x 2.5m vertical extensive green system uniquely designed for the climate in Singapore.

– And to learn more about the Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Vertical Extensive Green Wall Testing Facility, search project id number “1330” in our Projects Database and/or check out Linda’s blog post about it at Sky Gardens.

What’s New“

Industry News Update

-The next round of ecoroof incentives is now open & the City of Portland is again offering FREE technical workshops.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ Awards of Excellence Winners Announced – congratulations to all the great projects and winners, in particular to one of our Contributing Editors, Patrick Carey of hadj Design as the Green Roof Designer, who won in the Green Roof Extensive Residential category for the Hood Canal Project, a private residence in Quilcene, WA.  The greenroof on this coastal residence is a perfect example of a small-scale project with an even smaller development impact.

– The EPA asked ASLA to collect case studies on projects that successfully and sustainably manage stormwater. ASLA members responded with 479 case studies from 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada – by the way, one of the projects where Linda was the greenroof design consultant is included – Rock Mill Park in Alpharetta, Georgia.

– The NY State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection reached a draft agreement to reduce combined sewer overflows into area water bodies. The agreement modifies New York City’s approach to improving harbor water quality, under which the city will invest an estimated $187 million in green infrastructure projects by 2015, part of a planned $2.4 billion public and private investment over the next 20 years.

– Guest Feature

Read “Welcome to the 9th Annual CitiesAlive Green Roof and Wall Conference: Restoring Urban Water: Philadelphia Takes the Lead“ by Steven Peck.

-Contributing Editor

– Also, read Christine Thuring‘s latest article “GREEN ROOFS ON THE CURVE Virtual Conferencing: WOW it’s NOW!“

Advertiser Press Release:

LiveRoof ® Hybrid Green Roof System Selected for Five New Green Roof Projects in North Carolina.

– Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts: “Vote for Colombian Greenroofs in “˜Innovadores de America’ – Innovators of America by November 7!,” “GreenRoofs in Australasia’s Greening Cities Conference 2011 in Sydney,” “Are You Going to the International Green Technology Symposium in India?,” “Fall 2011 Portland Ecoroof Opportunities,” “GREEN ROOFS ON THE CURVE 2011,” “Watch the Highlights Video of the ,” “Greenroofs.com’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: October 14th, 2011,” and our GPWs  for the  PECO Main Office Building and  Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Vertical Extensive Green Wall Testing Facility.

– “Upcoming Events“

– Today is the last day to participate in our Archived Mode of the  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011, so be sure to watch whatever video you haven’t watched yet or you’d like to watch again as well as download info from our sponsors Tremco and American Hydrotech and all of the exhibitors and associates!

– October 26th-29th: is the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association Conference Rosemont, Illinois.

– October 28th-30th: is a Green Living Technologies – Green Roof/Green Wall Installer and Maintenance Technician Certification Training in Penfield, New York.

– October 29th-30th: is a Green Roofs Course, Brighton Permaculture Trust in Brighton, United Kingdom.

– October 30th-November 2nd: is the ASLA 2011 Annual Meeting & EXPO in San Diego, California.

– October 31st-November 2nd: is WGIN’s International Green Technology Symposium 2011 in Indore, India.

– November 3rd-6th: is a GRHC Green Roof Boot Camp in San Francisco, California and on the 4th, there’s a GRHC Advanced Green Roof Maintenance in Chicago, Illinois.

–  Check out our homepage for more Upcoming Events!

– “In the News“

– Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announces that the “Tamachi Building Co. Invites Kindergarten Children to Potato Dig At Company’s Rooftop Garden.” They are offering a fun learning opportunity about the environment as a corporate social responsibility activity. They say, “Within the rooftop garden, a 21.5 square meter vegetable garden has been used for potato cultivation. Sweet potato was selected for planting because during the summer season it offers a high green coverage ratio, thereby providing excellent heat insulation; also, sweet potatoes offer good opportunities for children to dig and taste. The remainder of the garden is being utilized primarily for planting grass, flowers and evergreens.”

–  AnnMarie Costella of the Queens Chronicle, reports on “Queens gets a bit cooler with another green roof.” She says the “Jamaica Wastewater Treatment Plant is [the] latest location [to] be outfitted.” A variety of large and small flowering plants have been planted on this 6,000 square foot building, which will be able to absorb up to 13,000 gallons of rainwater and lessen the amount that gets dumped into the sewer system that leads to the Jamaica Bay. This green roof is part of the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan, which calls for $2.4 billion worth of green projects over the next 20 years in order to reduce combined sewer overflows and increase buildings’ absorption of ultraviolet light. Green roofs also improve insulation, interior cooling and energy efficiency.

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 editor@greenroofs.com and share your greenroof or green wall info with the world!

– Make sure to keep up with everything  Greenroofs.com 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 October 28th and 21st, 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.

Rainwater Harvesting on Greenroofs?

May 13, 2011 at 12:14 am

By Steve Williams

I am responding to the January 31, 2010 Texas Water Development Board  article “Effect of Roof Material on Water Quality for Rainwater Harvesting Systems” that has been resurfacing around the Internet lately.  I am glad the article has been covered so well, because it brings concerns to the quality of rainwater and stirs up questions about materials used in each system.  I feel the article from Texas Water Development Board is very good, and I saw a short presentation on it at the ARCSA (American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association) Conference 2010 in Austin, TX.  I also heard a presentation by Dr. Peter Coombes of the University of Newcastle in Australia who has been studying first flush and rainwater harvesting for 10 years.

Roof material is important when  harvesting  rainwater and many of the guides discuss this.  For example, wood, copper and treated asphalt are only good for irrigation purposes.  Slate, concrete, metal coated or painted, and most vinyl/rubberized are excellent for all uses.  Asphalt shingles are acceptable as long as they are not treated with a chemical.

However, gutters, sealers, pipes, components and the tank material are as important for potable water and other uses.  All of the materials in contact with the water should not contain material that could taint the water.  The design of the system is important as well, but the first flush cleans the environmental residue that lands on the roof and is washed off during the beginning rain.  A first flush water diverter is a simple downpipe attachment that collects the first “flush” of rainwater most likely to carry contaminants (and mosquito larvae for that matter) from the roof.  This is a very important step in removing contaminates that will spoil the water and reduce it uses.

Graphic Source: infonet-biovison.

Most contamination comes from the local environment such as construction sites, industry, agriculture, trees, birds… if properly diverted few organics or contaminates end up in the tank.  When the summer heat raises the water temperature in above ground tanks the water stays clean.  Underground tanks stay cooler removing the algae problem, but the water can still be tainted from contaminants.

As for collecting water from greenroofs, there are three reasons I suggest not to do it.  First, as the Texas study pointed out there can be organic material that could taint the water as well fertilizers or pesticides which may be used.  EPA has studied the water runoff as well in this study:  Green Roofs for Stormwater Runoff Control, 2009 by Robert D. Berghage, David Beattie, Albert. R. Jarrett, Christine Thuring, and Farzaneh Razae, exerpt below:

Stormwater runoff samples were collected from green and flat asphalt roofs and analyzed for water quality parameters.  Twenty three samples were evaluated for pH, EC, color, turbidity, and nitrate.  A limited set of five samples was evaluated for additional nutrients, hardness, salts and metals.  This small sampling of green roof runoff indicated the runoff was similar to what might be expected as leaching from any other planted system in the landscape.

I believe in storing the water as cleanly as possible, eliminating health risk and expanding the amount of uses for the water including emergency uses.  Properly stored rainwater can be used as potable or easily treated when no other water is available.

Graphic Source: Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

Second, the amount of water that can be collected is significantly reduced, because of the storage capacity of the roof when the soil is dry.  Greenroofs are a best management practice in reducing and delaying stormwater runoff.

By using greenroofs as rainwater capture areas, the amount of water will be reduced, making the system cost less efficient and difficult to gauge water collection.

Retention and runoff from green roofs (percentage of average monthly precipitation) from  Green Roofs for Stormwater Runoff Control.
(Note the higher retention in the summer months.)

Finally, there are new plumbing codes being written to guide designers and installers to put systems in correctly.  The IGCC code (International Green Construction Code from the International Code Council), seen below, does not allow for water to be collected by greenroofs for potable water use:

707.12.1
Collection surface. Rainwater shall be collected only from above-ground impervious roofing surfaces constructed from approved materials.  Collection of water from vehicular parking or pedestrian surfaces shall be prohibited except where the water is used exclusively for landscape irrigation.  Overflow and bleed-off pipes from roof-mounted appliances including but not limited to evaporative coolers, water heaters, and solar water heaters shall not discharge onto rainwater collection surfaces.

707.12.1.1
Potable water applications. Where collected water is to be treated to potable water  standards, wood or cedar shake roofing materials, roofing materials treated with biocides, and lead flashing is prohibited on collection surfaces.  Painted surfaces are acceptable only where paint has been certified to ensure that the toxicity level of the paint is acceptable for drinking water contact.

Lead, chromium or zinc based paints are not permitted on rainwater collection surfaces.  Flat roofing products shall be certified to NSF P151. Rainwater shall not be collected from vegetated roof systems.

As for collecting rainwater from greenroofs, if used for irrigation it would be fine, but it should be kept separate from other uses.  I feel it might be better to pipe it to a rain garden or other landscaping needs.

In conclusion, my goal is to collect potable quality rainwater and be able to use it for a variety of uses gardening, cleaning, drinking as well as emergency needs when municipal water is not available.  It makes sense to collect the most water from the cleanest sources for multiple uses and less maintenance.

Steve Williams


Since 2006, Steve Williams, ARCSA AP, LEED AP, has been researching and testing rainwater harvesting products from Australia, Germany and the USA to come up with the best products for each system he designs. Besides his research in rainwater harvesting, Steve has been studying water usage, municipality water management and the natural water cycle. He has sat in on meetings and committees with the Georgia State Water Plan, Metro Water District, Georgia Rainwater Guide and the Georgia Plumbing code. His presentations on rainwater harvesting and green infrastructure have been seen by local, state, regional, national and virtual audiences.

Contact Steve Williams at: 404.234.1358 or therainsaver@me.com and visit: TheRainsaver.com and SavingWithRain.info.