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.

 

2009 Top 10 List of Milestones and Accomplishments

January 21, 2010 at 11:27 pm
Sunbeams at sunset from Webshots

As we continue to ring in 2010 we hope you enjoyed warm holidays with family and friends and celebrated the New Year with renewed hope for the future.   Can you believe we’ve entered a new decade?   Shall we call it 2K10, Twenty Ten, or just good old fashioned 2,010?   In any case, we’re finally out of the 0’s, now we’re into the 10’s.

Our world economy has been through a lot in the past few years, yet with a promising light hovering just over the horizon.   Although development overall has declined, there is continued desire for green buildings from both the public and private sector, and in general our greenroof & greenwall industry has weathered quite nicely.   Many of  us are  taking time to reflect on this passage of time and make New Year’s resolutions (another topic altogether!), and I was thinking of how far  we  have come since the German experience entered our architectural radar and into our collective consciousness in the 1990’s.   Literally thousands of vegetated roofs and walls have been constructed since then in  every continent except for Antarctica, with ever growing support from forward thinking  multidisciplinary professionals: designers, government officials, organizations, companies, universities, students and other  advocates looking to make Earth a little more sustainable.

Sadly, one of those special,  innovative people passed away last November 27,  the indomitable architect Malcolm Wells.   Regarded as “the father of modern earth-sheltered architecture,” he was a staunch advocate  of living architecture, known for his way ahead-of-the-times underground earth designs with living roofs  starting in  the 1960’s, see just one example below.   He leaves a legacy of what he referred to as gentle architecture,  design that would, in his own words, “leave the land no worse than you found it.”

 

Malcom Well's design for an eco-gas station, from MalcomWells.com.

The visionary Malcolm Wells' design for an eco-gas station, from MalcolmWells.com.

 

Many inspirational people and organizations have contributed to our current market,  and I want to highlight just a few success stories from the past year, personal and global.   So in my review, here are my favorite 2009  Top 10 Milestones and Accomplishments for both Greenroofs.com as a company and our international community as a whole:

10)   In 2009 Greenroofs.com celebrated 10 years of being in business!   We’ve seen a lot of progress and change for the good here as well as across the greenroof world.   The fledgling Greenroofs.com – “exploring the ecology of organic greenroof architecture” started out as 60+ pages in 1999 as the result of an independent research study I did at the University of Georgia.

What Greenroofs.com looked like in 1999.

By 2003 we changed our format and grew  into Greenroofs.com – “the international greenroof industry’s resource and online information portal,” and contained 600+ pages  at the end of  2009 (not counting the hundreds of  .php pages from The Greenroof Directory or The Greenroof Projects Database).   At present, each month Greenroofs.com receives more than 160,000 unique visits and about 400,000 page views, and we’ve also expanded our presence in social marketing, too, so now you can stay connected with us on: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, eNewsletter (our monthly eNewsletter consists of 10,000 opt-in subscribers) & YouTube, as well as our Blog.

Greenroofs.com in 2010!

9)   The  proliferation of living architecture is greatly  spreading and permeating into the areas of  design, policy, research  and  education through numerous world  conferences, congresses, expos, trainings, tours, and other events.   For example, the World Green Infrastructure Network (WGIN) – formerly the World Green Roof Infrastructure Network (WGRIN) –  held its first CitiesAlive! World Green Roof Congress in Toronto, Canada,  with the second scheduled for Mexico City this October, 2010.   The International Green Roof Association (IGRA) hosted the 2nd International Green Roof Congress 2009 in Nürtingen, Germany and  the 3rd annual  Green Roofs Australia Conference 2009 was held at the University of Melbourne.   Longevity was evident  with  the 7th National FBB Green Roof Conference in Ditzingen, Germany  and the 7th annual Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards, and Trade Show in Atlanta, Georgia.   By the way, look for the 8th annual GRHC conference to  occur in Vancouver, B.C.  on November 30 – December 2, 2010, rebranded as  “Cities Alive.”   Look for many new 2010 events throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, China, Singapore, India and more under Upcoming Events, where you can also access  Past Events.

8)   For the third year, we published our 2010 Greenroofs of the World™ Calendar.   I’ve already blogged about it, and we’re very proud of our first hard product.   And we thank our Sponsors for their support: American Hydrotech, Barrett Company, Conservation Technology, Express Blower, GREEN ROOF BLOCKS,  GreenGrid,  International Leak Detection (ILD), LiveRoof, Roofscapes, Inc., Saul Nurseries, Tremco, Xero Flor America,  and ZinCo USA.   You can find the Calendar on Amazon.com, but it’s a better deal if you order from us!

The 2010 Greenroofs of the World Front Cover

7) Green walls are firmly  becoming entrenched in sustainable design, evidenced by  high media attention, as much for their green properties as for their edible  gardening possibilities. We’ve had tons of news articles posted in NewsLinks, our huge database of global articles,  concerning living walls and green façades!   In fact,  they  were listed as #31 in TIME’s 50 Best Inventions of 2009 and  Triple Pundit recently proposed:  “Gardens Grow Up: Are Vertical Landscapes the New Green Roofs?”  – both featuring  the works of  Patrick Blanc.   In our business  you’d have to be living under a rock not to know who the renowned French botanist is; his often fantastical “murs végétalisés” designs stretch the limits of horticulture and design.   Since 1994, he has created over 140 public vertical gardens as well as many private installations,  including his most famous, the  Quai Branly Museum in Paris,  shown below.   Read more about green walls from Treehugger, Daily Telegraph, Daily Commercial News, The New York Times, Times Online and CNN.com, just to name a few.

Quai Branly Museum photo by Jean-Claude Lafarge on www.jeanclaudelafarge.fr

Quai Branly Museum photo courtesy and by Jean-Claude Lafarge on http://www.jeanclaudelafarge.fr/paris.html.

In 2009  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the North American professional association, established greenwall research projects at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland, and GRHC has included an award  category for Green Wall Excellence in Design for a couple of years now.   In 2008 Greenroofs.com added our 8th Contributing Editor, George Irwin –  aptly titled The Green Wall Editor  – to cover this growing vertical gardening field, and new for 2010 we have altered the title of our Greenroof Projects Database to reflect the inclusion of these:   The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

6) Investing in green building and infrastructure makes good economic sense by integrating green building policies into wider economic development goals, and creates a new job market. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) has prompted a gigantic increase in federal green spending, providing new money to all levels of government, aimed at stimulating the economy, promoting job growth, and lowering energy costs, providing an unprecedented opportunity for advancing green building and sustainability efforts in the U.S.    And last December, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported at least 138 U.S. cities with populations over 50,000 people have green building programs in place (compared to only 92 in 2007).   Referring to the economic recession, the AIA said “The downturn has had a devastating effect on construction generally, but sustainable building design continues to maintain and improve its market share.”   Read their 2009 in depth study “Green Building Policy in a Changing Economic Environment” to learn more.

 

AIA 2009 Study of Green Building Programs by Cities

American Institute of Architects 2009 Study of Green Building Programs by Cities

 

U.S. economic stimulus efforts  encompass green energy and construction, including greenroofs along with other forms of green building, and  just one such example of Recovery Act funds benefit Washington D.C., where the Washington Business Journal says “Nearly $4 million would go toward building more than 100,000 sf of green roofs on city buildings, including libraries, firehouses and a demonstration project atop the parking garage deck at University of the District of Columbia.   The stimulus funds would also expand the city’s green roof rebate program to allow residents and small businesses to afford another 20,000 sf of private green roof space.”

And importantly, many green building programs are also creating “green collar” jobs.   In late 2009, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Booz Allen Hamilton conducted a study and stated “Green building will support 7.9 million U.S. jobs and pump $554 billion into the American economy – including $396 billion in wages – over the next four years (2009-2013).    The study also determined that green construction spending currently supports more than 2 million American jobs and generates more than $100 billion in gross domestic product and wages…The full report can be downloaded at www.usgbc.org/greeneconomy, where one can also find other research, resources, tools and information about green building and its role in the economic recoveries of professionals, businesses and the nation.”   According to an analysis by American Rivers and the Alliance for Water Efficiency, the Natural Resources Defense Council reports that a $10 billion nationwide initiative to install greenroofs alone would result in almost 200,000 jobs – the Senate is expected to consider its own version of the bill in early 2010.

DC Greenworks' efforts at the Reeves Center

SSBx with Green the Ghetto participants

Some U.S. leaders offering hope and opportunity by creating greenroof/greenwall-specific green collar jobs through training include Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx) and their various programs,  i.e., “Green the Ghetto”  and “Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (BEST)”;  D.C. Greenworks; Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative, and the  Urban Farming Food Chain.

5) Green Roofs for Healthy Cities launched the Green Roof Professional (GRP) accreditation   for North America.   The GRP is a measure of knowledge of established best practices and although a voluntary program, with the designation professionals can distinguish themselves in the marketplace.   This association milestone was at least four years in the making!   Currently with  more than 250  GRP’s in 2009,  GRHC  hopes to add more professionals in 2010.   Check their website for future  testing dates, and  consider attending one of their Green Roof Boot Camps to refresh and get you ready.   See my interview with Jeff Bruce, president of Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company, Chair of GRHC  and the GRHC Training and Accreditation Committee, which developed the Green Roof Professional program, to learn why the organization felt this accreditation was needed, how it evolved, and where it’s heading.   For more info on the GRP, see “A Video Introduction to the GRP Program” from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.

4) Within the U.S. industry, major contributions were made in the area to develop best practice  wind and fire standards for greenroof design.   Since 2007, leaders from various organizations have been working hard on prescriptive standards, and  in 2009 standards were inserted into the International Building Code from members of  GRHC and Single Ply Roofing Industry (SPRI).   Read “Green Roof Wind & Fire Design Guidelines: After Three Years, Half the Battle is Won,” written by one of our Contributing Editors, Kelly Luckett, The Green Roof Guy, to learn about this winding road’s development of RP-14 and VF-1.    And stay tuned for updates with  his column  here on Greenroofs.com.

 

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) Wind Tunnel Testing in June, 2009.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUe) Wind Tunnel Testing in June, 2009.

 

3)  The global Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database surpassed the 1,000 mark in December!   So where are all these greenroofs and greenwalls anyway?   Let’s continue to work together to grow, update, and share valuable case studies for our communal benefit, for free.   Even in today’s openly transparent society (think Google Earth), some people worry about confidentiality issues, and we only post information that is submitted to us by owners/project principals or that which is openly available through  various media channels, and we always list owners as “private” when requested.   The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database is now searchable by  24 fields, including specifically for green walls.   After our Home Page, the Projects Database is the next visited page on Greenroofs.com – make sure your projects and valuable  experiences are included here.

2)    My  albeitly biased personal favorite, Greenroofs.com inaugurated our first  episode of the Sky Gardens ~ Greenroofs of the World WebTV series.   Premiering  at Boston GreenFest in September, our new venture followed  on the GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube, and next on our own greenroofs.tv, where you can now see it in its entirety at just under 37 minutes.   By the way, you can also view our video offshoot,  “Greenroofs 101 from Greenroofs.com” (4:50) in Greenroofs 101 or directly below, which is a great way to  introduce the concept to newcomers.   Coming soon is episode 2, highlighting the gorgeous Cook+Fox Architects corporate offices in Manhattan, NY.   Our third episode is in the works, and more are being scheduled, so stay tuned!

1) 2009 saw some serious support for greenroofs, championed by professional organizations and governmental bodies alike. Global industry support has grown over the years, and many advocates continue to actively promote them worldwide.  For example, the City of Chicago, certainly the U.S. leader in greenroofs, now has over 7 million square feet of vegetated roofs completed or under development.   New support in 2009 includes:

North America:   In addition to offering eco-incentives for greenroofs,  currently Toronto has the most progressive policy in North America – last May  Toronto became the first city  here to adopt a bylaw to require and govern the construction of greenroofs.   The new bylaw will be required on all new development above 2,000 m ² (about 21,530 sf) of gross floor area and have a graduated coverage requirement ranging from 20-60%.   Working with a program budget  of $800,000/year, owners of industrial and commercial buildings can apply for grants worth up to $100,000 (Canadian) to build a greenroof.    Mayor David Miller predicts the rules and incentives will create 50 to 60 green-roofed buildings per year, in addition to their current 135 vegetated roofs.   Green Roofs for Healthy Cities supported the by-law against pressure from developers opposed to the policy.    See more details under Industry Support and at the City of Toronto website.

Toronto City Hall

Here in the U.S., in late 2009  ASLA, the American Society of Landscape Architects, worked with Congress to include the Green Act into the House-passed climate change legislation.   The Act would require the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to employ greenroofs, tree canopy coverage, and other site planning techniques to help reduce heating and cooling costs in certain HUD facilities.   Still pending before the Senate Finance Committee,  last January Senator Maria Cantwell (WA) introduced the Clean Energy Stimulus and Investment Assurance Act of 2009 (S.320), legislation geared toward creating high-wage green-collar jobs and revitalizing the economy through clean energy investments.   ASLA worked with Senator Cantwell’s office to ensure that a section of the bill was dedicated to green roof tax incentives, and  GRHC  provided technical support.   Under section 506 of the bill, residential and commercial property owners will receive a 30% tax credit for qualified greenroof expenditures.

As you may recall, Congress enacted Section 438 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) to require federal agencies to reduce stormwater runoff from federal development projects to protect water resources and in October of 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 on “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance” calling upon all federal agencies to lead by example and address a wide range of environmental issues, including stormwater runoff.   Federal agencies can comply with Section 438 by using a variety of green infrastructure / low impact development techniques including living roofs.   Prepared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in coordination with other federal agencies, the “Technical Guidance on Implementing the Stormwater Runoff Requirements for Federal Projects under Section 438 of the Energy Independence and Security Act” PDF is highly detailed and  instructive.

State and municipal  governments also provided policy support:   Former  Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine signed three bills promoting incentives in 2009: HB 1975 and SB 1058 authorize localities to grant regulatory flexibility and incentives to promote the construction of vegetative roofs on private homes and businesses.  The incentives or regulatory flexibility could include a reduction in permit fees, a streamlined process for the approval of building permits, or a reduction in any gross receipts tax on greenroof contractors as defined by the local ordinance.   The third bill, HB 1828, allows water authorities to offer rate incentives for vegetative roof construction, based on the percentage of stormwater runoff reduction.   In late fall, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSDGC), and the Office of Environmental Quality created a Green Roof Loan Program utilizing money from the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund.   OEPA has made $5,000,000 available for linked deposit, below market rate loans to install green vegetative roofs within the service area of MSDGC on residential, commercial and/or industrial buildings.

Built Ecoroofs in Portland as of 12-09

Already a city offering several greenroof incentives, in October Portland‘s city commission approved a Climate Action Plan which calls for a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and an 80% reduction by 2050.   According to the Portland Business Journal, “The Plan calls for the city and county to take 93 actions over the next three years.  City bureaus must immediately begin implementing 15 of the new climate-related initiatives, such as establishing a tax credit for businesses that install ecoroofs and solar panels together.”   And last month, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District invited governments, organizations, school districts, and businesses within the 28 communities it serves to participate in their 2010 Regional Green Roof Initiative Program.   Among other prerequisites, proposed projects must minimize impervious roof area and maximize the reduction in the rate and/or volume of stormwater runoff.

The World:   Singapore is targeting 50 hectares of skyrise greenery by 2030 and its Urban Redevelopment Authority launched  the LUSH Programme (Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises) in April of 2009.   Offering financial and planning incentives to developers to provide greenery at the upper levels of high rise buildings, their goal is to make 80% of all buildings in  Singapore green by 2030. Quezon City, Phillipines has a new law requiring private and government-owned buildings to green part of their rooftops.    New commercial/residential buildings, under the Green Roof Ordinance (Ordinance 1940) signed into law by Mayor Feliciano R. Belmonte, Jr. last September, should  allocate at least 30% of their roof area for plants and trees.   In Australia, the Queensland Government signed a “Memorandum Of Understanding” with the Singapore National Parks Board late last year to trial vertical gardens and greenroofs in various cities in an effort to benefit from Singapore’s experience with skyrise greenery.

A splendid Sky Terrace at the One George Street building in downtown Singapore; source: The Star.com

Dubai Municipality launched a greenroof initiative in line with a Dubai law on green building specifications.    The Municipality’s strategic goal is to raise per capita green area to 23.4 square meters by the end of 2011,  with the green building project coming under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, United Arab Emirate Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.   A public awareness  campaign  for greenroofs was announced  last month, committed to the “development of laws and regulations to keep pace with international standards in the field of sustainable development by planting green roofs and facades in the Emirate of Dubai.”   Traveling display models and educational publications will circulate residential neighborhoods and shopping centers and markets for a 12-month period.   Read more on the Dubai Municipality Portal.   One spectacular greening project currently on the boards in Dubai is the self-sustained system “Food City” below, designed by Green Concepts Landscape Architects (GCLA):

Dubai Food City; photo source: Inhabitat

The proposed Dubai Food City, conceptualized by landscape architecture firm GCLA.

 Well, those are my thoughts on the  important  highlights of 2009, and while on the topic  of Top 10 lists, Haven Kiers – our Design Editor – and I are compiling our 4th annual Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof Designs for 2010, and we welcome your input with  ideas and project example submissions, as usual!   Send comments to Linda@greenroofs.com or DesignEditor@greenroofs.com.

So here we are at the start of a whole new year – we hope you’re excited and optimistic about it, just as we are!     Whatever 2009 offered you, we hope you embraced new friends and opportunities and experienced great personal and professional growth, and we thank you for your readership.   What’s in store for our new decade?   We’ll see, but as the green building industry continues with positive signs of sustained growth, let’s also continue to collaborate and create a more sustainable world with eco-architecture embracing greenroofs and greenwalls as part of the overall green living architecture strategy.

“I woke up one day to the fact that the earth’s surface was made for living plants, not industrial plants.”   ~ Malcolm Wells

Here’s a gentle toast  to continued  health, love,  and  prosperity  for you, your families, and all of our  greenroof associates in 2010!

Happy Greening ~ Linda V.