Greenroofs.com’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: March 18th, 2011

March 18, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Our daughter, Anjuli Velazquez, has been writing, filming and editing our “This Week in Review” video since August, 2010 and each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on Greenroofs.com.     She’s become quite popular, and we thought it would be a great idea to start posting her transcript, too, to make things easier to research.   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 March 18th, 2011 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–   Our Project of the Week is The Department Store, Stephen Marr Hair Salon Greenwall built in 2009 in Takapuna, New Zealand.  In 2010 The Department Store was named top retail concept store in the world by Monocle magazine.   One of the centerpieces of the store is the lush interior greenwall on the top floor.  The double-sided greenwall, designed and installed by Natural Habitats Landscapes, is New Zealand’s first interior greenwall.   The wall is 10 meters long by 2 meters high and boasts well over 1,000 individual plants.  It divides the upper level, promoting unique spaces that can be used for presentations like fashion shows.  The building has had skylights installed to ensure the wall is given as much natural light as possible, and so the use of supplementary man-made lighting is kept at a minimum.   This greenwall is an original and breathtaking piece of artwork, but also offers some incredible environmental benefits, like: increased thermal insulation to buildings, noise dampening, and creating cleaner and better quality air, which means healthier buildings and people.   From a commercial perspective, the greenwall increases the building’s value and has also been found to raise employee productivity.

–   To learn more about The Department Store, Stephen Marr Hair Salon Greenwall, click on our project of the week photo on our homepage.

–   “What’s New“

–   Check out Linda’s latest Sky Gardens Blog posts about the New Zealand greenwall, and the “CitiesAlive 2011 Call for Paper and Poster Abstracts.”   Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is pleased to be working with the City of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society as co-hosts for CitiesAlive, the 9th Annual Green Roof & Wall Conference to be held later this year in Philadelphia from November 29th to December 3rd.   GRHC says they’re looking for papers that display novel ideas on taking a green approach to storm water management through the use of green infrastructure, indoor greening and residential green infrastructure.   All applications are due by April 15th, and for more information you can visit this blog post and/or e-mail Luna Ghose at lghose@greenroofs.org.

–   Do you think green walls can’t survive in the cold; they don’t look good in the winter, they are only viable in the south or indoors”¦ well, think again!   Contributing Editor George Irwin writes about Winter Interest with Green Walls in his latest column and shows some pretty interesting photos of various looks.

–   Advertiser Press Release: Irrigation Water Technologies America, Inc. recently signed an exclusive agreement with Australia-based Irrigation Water Technologies to manufacture and distribute the revolutionary water conserving KISSS product in North America.

–   Green Roof Jobs:   Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect is seeking resumes for a Landscape Architect/Designer with 5-6 years experience for their busy Buffalo, NY office, so make sure to check this job and many others in JobLinks if you’re looking to work in our industry!

–   “Upcoming Events“

–   March 18th – 27th: is the WMG Water Harvesting Certification in Phoenix, Arizona.

–   March 22nd: is the 2011 Green Roof Technology Workshop in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

–   March 23rd – 27th: is the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show in San Mateo, California.

–   March 24th – 27th: is a Green Roofs for  Healthy Cities – Green Roof Boot Camp in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

–   March 25th – 26th: is the GreenScaped Buildings Spring Open House in San Diego, California.

–   March 25th – 27th: is the Better Living Show – Home, Garden & Lifestyle in Portland, Oregon.

–   And don’t forget that on Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 8:30 PM (local time, wherever you are), lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour and people will commit to actions that go beyond the hour.   With Earth Hour almost upon us, the organization’s thoughts, as well as ours, are with the people of Japan during this incredibly challenging and sad time for their country.

–   “In the News“

–   Kathleen E. Carey of the Delaware County Daily Times reports on “Green LEEDs to platinum: SAP America earns distinction for utilizing environmental sources for newest building.”  The Newtown Square campus of SAP America Inc. in Delaware County is holding one of the highest environmentally sustainable distinctions in the world with its new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum level construction.  Just some of the features that have led to its LEED Platinum certification are: its entry to the building – the passageway features a floor comprised of recycled materials, including seashells and pieces of crushed bottles and glass; glass panels surrounding the building with the goal of directing 90 percent of daylight to reach 75 percent of the employees; underneath the floors are tubes that transfer the natural temperature of the Earth which is generated from the 10 geothermal wells in the rear of the property to the inside of the building; and a rooftop garden that spans more than 1 acre which features lavender, rosemary, sedum and butterfly bushes.

–   Katie Kosier of Care2.com talks about “Removing Barriers to Green Building.”  With the help of Philadelphia based Re:Vision Architecture, Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility company, PECO, installed a 45,000-square-foot vegetated green roof on its headquarters in central Philadelphia.  It’s the largest in urban Pennsylvania and the roof absorbs more than 1.5 million gallons of rainwater runoff annually, it reduces air temperature in the summer and   it also provides a beautiful habitat for wildlife.   Principle Scott Kelly of RVA, says “For us, it’s about removing barriers to green building.”   You can find more information about the PECO Greenroof in our International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database by typing in Project ID number 851.

–   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.

–   By the way, did you know that now you can watch YouTube videos just like this one on DirecTV?  That’s fun!

–   Still haven’t picked up one of our 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World 12 Month Wall Calendar yet?   Go to greenroofs.com/calendar.htm and order some today!   Thanks to George Irwin for this great photo!

–   This has been This Week in Review for March 18th, 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.

GLT in NYC: A Weekend of Training, Education, & Fun

January 21, 2011 at 7:10 pm

By Caroline Menetre

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre

Hi all – Linda and I have just returned from Green Living Technologies‘ Professional Installer Certification Training in New York City this past weekend, January 15-17, 2011.

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline MenetreWe were guests of George Irwin, Chairman / CEO Green Living Technologies LLC (GLT).  George is also known to most of you as the Green Wall Editor here at Greenroofs.com.  George wanted  us to see firsthand how their green roof and green wall training can benefit underprivileged youth and under-served adults getting into or returning to the work force, providing practical hands-on experience resulting in green collar jobs.  And as designers ourselves as well, we really wanted to learn more, too.

Part of the GLT Institute, the training certification is backed by the future degree track diploma being developed by The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education for the new Hunts Point High School for Sustainable Community Initiatives in the Bronx, New York City.  This four-year high school degree track centers on green technologies including a base curriculum around the GLT technologies.  Supported by the New York Department of Education as part of a CTE (Career Technical Education) program, the GLT Training is the precursor to its core curriculum, and aligns with New York State and National Learning Standards.

This course was obviously also developed to meet the preliminary objectives for professionals to become a Certified GLT Installer, and provides the intellectual property and know how to receive more advanced hands-on supervision for their patented products.

So far, GLT has trained over 750 representatives around the world and in seven countries.  George says the certification course is unlike any other green roof or wall training available since it encompasses extensive knowledge about all aspects of green roofs and walls – waterproofing, urban agriculture, edible walls – and provides hands-on learning, continued support, and much more.

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre

The training was held at the Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School and led by George.  His dynamic personality and commitment to learning, developing, and teaching the latest technologies in the field are a direct testament to the success of his company.  Their recent project with Impacto Verde (their licensed South American manufacturer and distributor), is the Hotel InterContinental in Santiago, Chile, which boasts the world’s largest modular Green Living Wall at 17,000 sf (maybe the world’s largest overall? I’m not sure).

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre

Green Job Training

The certification was attended by industry architects, landscape architects, designers, general contractors, landscape contractors and installers, educators from the U.S. and abroad, and also about 30 students, including several from Discovery High School in the Bronx, NY.

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline MenetrePart Bronx activist and part youth advocate, these students are fortunate to have Steve Ritz of Discovery High School as their classroom teacher.  The Teacher/Administrator says, “Green is the new black!”  The older ones were the first student class to have graduated from this GLT course last year, and are now helping with the younger group.

Mr. Ritz’s enthusiasm for the program – and passion for teaching his students – is infectious, and it was inspiring to hear him speak on the opportunities and rewards of the program.  The success of his classes is what has has propelled the GLT program into the core degree track for the new Career Training School in the Bronx, to open later in 2011.

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline MenetreWe learned that Steve met George on the set of Good Morning America last June when GLT products were featured along with Steve’s outstanding students.  Their innovative public-private partnership started when George later taught a 40-minute class at Discovery High School.

This led to a GLT-funded scholarship program that took the students from the Bronx to Boston for formal training with GLT affiliate Cityscapes, Inc.  Following their graduation from this intensive training, they returned to the Bronx extremely excited!  After receiving their certifications from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the students and faculty had the opportunity to meet New York Mayor Michael  Bloomberg and celebrity chef Rachel Ray, who praised their work and commitment.  The best part is that while the students are growing fresh organic vegetables they had grown from seeds in their classroom using GLT walls (and taking them home), they’re actually getting paid real living wages as installers while learning practical job skills outside  a traditional classroom setting.

Hands-on and More Hands-on

Friday centered on greenroofs and their different systems and options, and the highlight was the mock installation of the GLT modular panel greenroof system.  All the young people (and anyone else who wanted to participate) formed groups of five and collaborated to ensure safety, preparation of the job site, good communication skills, and quality control while installing the green roof materials.

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre

On Saturday we covered a lot more material on greenwalls, and then received more hands-on work.  We placed the proprietary growing medium (GLT bioSoil) into several stainless steel greenwall units, and then planted them with a variety of vegetable seeds including different types of lettuce, radishes, carrots and chives.  This edible greenwall will be placed in Steve Ritz’s classroom in the Bronx as part of their urban crops learning – they not only cook their freshly grown vegetables for the school cafeteria on special events, they also sell their harvest at the local farmer’s market and then reap the profits, too.

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre

Steve incorporates GLT’s philosophy of “zero miles” – from farm to table with indoor and outdoor edible walls for growing fresh fruits and vegetables in urban environments.  The new GLT Mobile Edible Wall ® (MEW) Urban Food Production Units (pictured at left) and commercial A frames are designed to advance urban food production and edible wall technology, and work great in schools because they are on wheels and can be rolled from classroom to classroom as needed.

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre

But the day’s highlight was the actual hands-on installation for the greenwall at the school where attended the class – the Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School.  Everyone gathered around as George took us through the installation process, step by step.  The students eagerly participated and took turns wearing safety goggles, measuring, using a level, pre-drilling, drilling  and installing the modules.  The easy drip irrigation that is part of the modular system had been discussed previously, but here it wasn’t necessary because this greenwall will be hand watered from the top, with excess water falling into the catch basin at the base.

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre

These GLT greenwall units were donated by GLT and pre-grown at Parker Nursery and have a selection of gorgeous tropical plants.  A total of six units were installed to create this living tapestry, and the end result was fantastic.  What a great sight to see when you come through the school lobby!

On Monday, we heard from Tom Walsh, GRP, of Parker Nursery and Parker Urban Greenscapes, licensed GLT distributor, who spoke to us about many important items to consider about design and maintenance – from water needs to plant health, he covered variables such as irrigation, plant selection, light, temperatures, and a rigorous maintenance schedule.

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre

Great People

We met such great people from all over, who all share the same passion in this exciting field.  Here Linda and I are proud to be pictured with some new friends – all great professional, inspiring, talented women in their own right.  Below we are from left to right: Lynn Torgerson, Liz Holloway, Caroline, Linda, and Naomi Person at Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School:

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre

Some extra-curricular activities of the conference weekend included some excellent New York food (of course) at nearby restaurants, and a great evening out after class on Sunday at a neighborhood jazz-supper club with George and friends.  We saw the fantastic KJ Denhert and her band at Smoke, below.

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre

It was great to meet Mike Bucci and Angela DiPrima-Bucci, too, the talents of G-Space, a Philadelphia architecture and design/build firm.  Perhaps you have seen their spectacular PNC Bank greenwall in our 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World Calendar™ – featured this month for January.  They shared stories about the trials and tribulations of erecting the 10-story high green wall in Pittsburgh – the largest in North America at the time in 2009, at 2,380 sf:

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre
Also we enjoyed the visiting after hours with Chris Wark, Energy Editor at Greenroofs.com, and his lovely wife, Wendy.  On Saturday, Linda and I enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres with them in their beautiful Manhattan home and then out to dinner afterwards.  Below is the incredible view from our gracious hosts’ apartment.

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre

They even took us up on their rooftop for equally spectacular views of the city, below.  There’s nothing better than having New Yorkers show you around their city, and hearing all their great stories about the area – things you could never know as being just the occasional tourist to the city.  It was such a treat to meet them!

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre

Our flight was soon after our final half-day class on Monday, but Linda and I crammed in a quick trip to the NBC Experience Store to see that much talked-about green wall that Steve Ritz’s students had installed last November (visit NBC’s Green is Universal website for more information).  It was beautiful, and I’m glad that we had just enough time to see it before heading out to the airport.  (I rather liked that greenwalls took precedence over shopping in NYC.)

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre

See this fantastic YouTube video from NBC – it’s all about corporate and personal passion and commitments, showing Steve Ritz’s for his students, George Irwin’s for this private-public relationship, and NBC’s overall belief that Green is Universal!  You can see the students (many of whom who were in our class) installing the NBC Experience Store greenwall, too.

 GLT NYC Weekend of Training Education Fun Caroline Menetre

All in all, it was a wonderful learning experience – really invaluable information that I feel very fortunate to have been a part of, and I’d like to personally thank George for that.  Also, we’d also like to thank Steve Ritz and his wife Lizette (great lady!) and the students for their hard work in making everything run smoothly (and feeding us).  Great City, Great People, Great Training Event!

And finally, I’d like to express my gratitude to Linda and Aramis – not only for the opportunities and experiences I’ve had because of them – but also for their friendship.  I first interned with Greenroofs.com a couple of years ago during my career change, and since then have continued to work with them occasionally as a marketing and design contributor, and also working with Linda on several local projects.

I’ve learned so much from their dedication to sharing everything there is to know about the industry through their invaluable website, and through them, I’ve also met the best people in the industry, and acquired some great new friends along the way.  So thanks, guys!

~ Caroline

Learn About Green Walls with Linda & George in Atlanta

July 14, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Green architecture is really hot right now and after about a decade and a half’s worth of exploring the ecology of organic greenroof architecture in North America, greenwalls are the newest darlings in the green building world here and abroad.

More than just “green bling,” as one proponent told me recently, greenwalls add many benefits on their own to a building envelope.    While creating a lush and deliciously tactile  tapestry of living plants, they offer a showy feast for the eyes that are much more visually accessible than many of  their roofing counterparts.

I was asked to present on the subject last November for a local Atlanta USGBC group by Julia Gray Hines, ASID, RID, LEED AP ID+C of Chartreuse Inc. Interior Design Studio, and of course I  propsed our Green Wall Editor, George Irwin, too.   Julia suggested Atlanta City Hall  as a possible location, and I knew it was perfect because of their beautiful greenroof and the willingness of  its  resident (and entertaining)  landscape architect and greenroof guru, Bill Brigham, ASLA, to share his experiences.

Learn about early  influential designers such as the ground-breaking Austrian painter and architect Friedensreich  Hundertwasser, and more recent innovator French botanist  Patric Blanc and his Le Mur Vegetal, seen  above left  at the Musée du Quai Branly,  and see how designers are  pushing the limits in my compilation of the Top Hot Trends in  International Greenroof and Greenwall Design.   I’ll also provide a sneak preview of the Greenroofs.com Top 10 List for 2010 (which I’ll present along with our Design Editor, Haven Kiers, in Vancouver, B.C. at the upcoming 8th Annual CitiesAlive! Conference later this year).

Understand the differences between green façades and living walls from George Irwin, the many new systems available today –  along with options for growing media (including none at all!)  – as well as the new and exciting economic and social benefits and opportunities for urban vertical farming.

Presented on Thursday, July 22, 2010  by the USGBC Atlanta Events & Education Committee, you’ll receive 1.5 LEED Credential Maintenance Units offered, and the cost is an extremely affordable $10 for members and $20 for non-members!

Registration is open from 3:30-4:30 pm at Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Avenue SW Atlanta, GA 30303, on the fifth floor Cafeteria where  Bill will be on hand to show off the Atlanta City Hall Pilot Greenroof, the first public municipal non-irrigated vegetated roof, and then George and I will  speak from 4:30 to 6:00 pm.

Come join us next week for the USGBC  Georgia Chapter  “Green Walls, Red Tomatoes and Urban Farming,” a fun and informative afternoon  on the surging proliferation of  these architecturally  important, and sexy,  planted façades!   For more info, download the PDF here.

 

See you ~ Linda V.

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.