Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 19: Green Roofs Without the Hype Panel Presentation

April 18, 2012 at 12:42 am

Today we have the pleasure to air the “Green Roofs Without the Hype” Panel Presentation with Patrick Carey, Dr. Robert Berghage, Charlie Miller, and Ed Snodgrass from our inaugural 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit on and our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube.

Since Earth Day is coming up, I felt this panel of industry leaders and experts would make a great choice to honor the occasion!

Two of these gentlemen have been long standing editorial contributors to – Ed Snodgrass as The Plant Editor (2004) and Patrick Carey as The Architecture Editor since 2005.

Ed’s an accomplished nurseryman, author, proponent of sustainable business practices, and an all around affable guy with a big heart, and writes the (very occasional!) column “Ask Ed.”  We had the pleasure, along with our attendees, of having Ed as one of our Keynote Speakers at our Virtual Summit last September – look for his video “Right Plant, Right Place” coming up soon.  Read my in-depth interview with him at his family farm, Emory Knoll Farms, here.

Speaking of both Earth Day and Ed Snodgrass, make sure you see or record Ed’s appearance on the Martha Stewart Show this Friday, April 20, 2012.  In honor of Earth Day, Martha invited Ed to talk about – what else? greenroofs!

I have known Patrick Carey since 2000, when we corresponded about research and greenroofs (or greenruffs, as he says!).  He is very near and dear to Aramis and me, and is a brilliant (yet mental) philosopher, architectural/greenroof designer, and excellent writer, albeit in a rambling, existential kind of manner.  His column, “A View from the Sky Trenches,” has also come only occasionally, which can be expected of people who have to work for a living instead of writing for us in a consistent manner.  I asked Patrick to lead the panel discussion as the moderator, and in fact he chose the other three panelists to be on his team.

As you know if you read my blog posts, I hold Charlie Miller very dear to me as an inspiration and mentor since I’ve known him for years – I also asked him to be one of our four Keynote Speakers for our 2011 Virtual Summit – you can see my blog post about it here and see the Episode #1 “A New Place” video listed below.

Dr. Bob Berghage is a newer acquaintance, my having met him finally along with the late, wonderful, Dr. Dave Beattie in Nuertingen, Germany in 2004 at the inaugural International Green Roof Congress sponsored by IGRA.  He’s extremely knowledgeable, outspoken, and friendly – a great combo for a professor!

I think the four made an excellent and very smart panel, and I’m sure you’ll agree:

Patrick Carey, GRP, lives in Seattle, WA, USA and has a degree in architecture and is principal of hadj design, a green roof design-build company.  Patrick is also director of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild’s Green Roof Project and a trainer with Green Roofs for Healthy Cities where he facilitates the Green Roof 101, 201, 301, & 401 Courses.  Patrick is also a contributing editor on (2005); he is the Architecture Editor (2005).  He writes an occasional architectural column entitled “A View from the Sky Trenches,” where he selects and discusses pertinent greenroof industry topics.

Patrick was the Moderator for “Green Roofs Without the Hype.”

Dr. Robert Berghage lives in University Park, PA, USA.  Robert D. Berghage, PHD is an Associate Professor in Horticulture and Director of the Center for Green Roof Research at Penn State.  He has been a member of the Penn State faculty since 1994 and was a member of the Faculty of New Mexico State University from 1989 to 1994.  He received a Ph.D. and MS in Horticulture from Michigan State University and a BS in Botany from the University of Michigan.  He conducts research in phytoremediation and plant growth in modified environments.  Current projects mainly focus on green roofs where Dr. Berghage, along with colleagues in engineering and graduate and undergraduate students have been working to evaluate green roof materials, plants, and systems and to quantify the beneficial functions of green roofs.  He teaches Plant Propagation, Herbaceous Plant Identification and Use, and Eco-roof Technology classes in Horticulture.  He is state Floriculture and Greenhouse Crop Production Extension Specialist and the serves on the Penn State Stormwater Management Advisory Committee.

Charlie Miller, P.E. lives in Philadelphia, PA, USA and is the Principal of Roofmeadow. Charlie Miller has 30 years of experience in projects related to civil and environmental engineering.  In 1997, Charlie formed Roofscapes, Inc. (now Roofmeadow) to introduce green roof technology as a new tool for managing stormwater in urban and developing areas in the United States.  He has written four new ASTM standards that are specifically intended for use by the green roof industry, and is currently at work on the new ASTM Standard Guide for Vegetated Green Roof Systems.  Charlie’s firm provides project delivery services, including feasibility studies, design consulting, preparation of construction documentation, construction management, and long-term maintenance and support for green roof installations.  Projects have included the design and installation of the well-known green roof for Chicago’s City Hall.  Roofscapes, Inc. supports and supervises a national network of landscape contractors that specialize in green roof installation.  It also partners with several national roofing manufacturers in order to offer complete green roof assembly packages.  Over 200 green roofs have been installed by Roofmeadow contractors. Consulting services offered by Roofmeadow focus on providing affordable green roof options for controlling stormwater and nurturing green space in cities.

Edmund Snodgrass lives in Street, MD, USA and is co-owner of Emory Knoll Farms/Green Roof Plants. Edmund Snodgrass started the first green roof nursery in North America and has collaborated on green roof research with colleges and universities.  He is co-owner and president of Emory Knoll Farms Inc.  Ed speaks and lectures widely on green roofs and has presented in England, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Canada and the US.  In 2009, Ed was the recipient of the Spencer P. Ellis award from the Maryland Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects and is the 2011 recipient of the G.B. Gunlogson Award from the American Horticultural Society.  Ed is the co-author of Small Green Roofs: Low-Tech Options for Greener Living, 2011; The New American Landscape: Leading Voices on the Future of Sustainable Gardening, 2011; The Green Roof Manual: A Professional Guide to Design, Installation, and Maintenance, 2010; and Green Roof Plants, A Planting and Resource Guide, 2006.

Ed is also a contributing editor on (2004): the Plant Editor where he answers reader questions, writes occasional articles, and features seasonal greenroof plants in “Ask Ed.”

The premise of the “Green Roofs Without the Hype” Panel Session is:

Here are four people with the knowledge to speak frankly about the current state of affairs in green roofing.

This panel focuses on the designation and evaluation of expertise, appropriate background and training, roadblocks to research and education, design origination and control, chain of custody issues, installation, and the residential market.

After the panel presentation on the second day of the 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit, Patrick Carey, Dr. Robert Berghage, Charlie Miller, and Ed Snodgrass were available for the live Q & A session; the transcript was available archived for 30 days for participants of the Virtual Summit – unfortunately, we do not have it available now – one of the reasons to participate in 2013’s Virtual Summit!

Note: Due to technical and other difficulties from the second party vendor who filmed our illustrious panel of four, this video does not have our standard 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit branding, including the shots from Google Earth.

Enjoy!  Visit to see “Green Roofs Without the Hype” or click below:

Watch earlier videos on our exclusive Virtual Summit play list, or see the following Virtual Summit videos now available on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:

If you’re looking for an overview, make sure to see our 2011 Virtual Summit Highlights video (6:18) and our 2011 Virtual Summit Trailer (2:59).

Check back next week on GreenroofsTV for our 20th installment from the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011!

~ Linda V.

The Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Runs Through October 28!

October 6, 2011 at 10:05 am

Our vision of producing and sharing the virtual experience to our industry with our inaugural Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 was successful, and we couldn’t have done it without the great support of many people, in particular our main patron, Rare Earth Sponsor  TREMCO, along with Emerald Sponsor American Hydrotech.

Thanks again also to our Exhibitors  Grant Associates,  Green Living Technologies,  Green Roof Blocks,  GreenGrid Roofs,  Green Roof Plants,  ILD,  J-DRain, and  Roofmeadow – although the lifeblood of any conference is its speakers, the sponsors and exhibitors make it happen – none of this would have been possible without their financial support!

We are so proud to have put together the most amazing community of talented international speakers that you could have asked for – all leaders in their fields.  See the Speakers page and read all about them and their presentations.

Speaking of our Sponsors, Exhibitors, and Speakers, I’d like to stress that although the 2 live days have passed, the end of the Virtual Summit is on October 28 – if you missed out on September 27 & 28, you can still register until October 28!

You can’t beat the price of only $49 – or $25 for students/faculty/government professionals to access all 32 of our great panel sessions, interviews, presentations, and live Q & A commentary plus see the latest from manufacturer/supplier and organization/government exhibitors.

Visit all of our truly unique and innovative areas  within the virtual environment: the Rare Earth and On Demand Auditoriums, the Tremco Meeting Room, the Sky Terrace Networking Lounge, the Media Lounge, and the International, North American & Associates Pavilions at the Expo – did you know you can still chat with your fellow online attendees either in a public or private via video, audio, or text while logged in?

We’re putting together an awesome Highlights Video of our wonderful participants to give you a taste of what you are missing – look for it soon!  We hope to see you still in Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011!  Register  here.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.

Thank You to Our Sponsors and the Winner of the 2nd iPad2 at the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 is…

September 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm’s inaugural  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 was simply awesome!

Thank you to our Rare Earth Sponsor, TREMCO, for making it a reality, especially Ralph Velasquez!  Ralph, Executive Director of Sustainability with  Tremco,  was one of our Keynote Speakers and created a wonderful video presentation about CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility.

Also, we are very grateful to the support of our Emerald Sponsor, American Hydrotech.  Richard C. Hayden, RLA, ASLA, CLARB, is the Garden Roof Department Manager at  American Hydrotech and  shared some amazing projects and experience with “Sloped and Complex Green Roofs.”

As you already know the winner of our first iPad2 given away for early bird registrants was James Neville of Neville Environmental Services from Vancouver, B.C., Canada…

Without further ado, the winner of the second Apple iPad2 is…

Kira Udo, Student at Georgia Perimeter College!

Kira lives in Roswell, Georgia, just a stone’s throw from us here in Alpharetta. She is studying French with a concentration in Business Administration.  She’s interested in greenwalls and loves the work of Patrick Blanc.  Congratulations!

All of the content of the  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 is available online through October 28, 2011. That includes the:

Tremco Meeting Room;
Tremco Booth in the International Pavilion;
American Hydrotech Booth in the North American Pavilion;
All of our other Exhibitor Booths in The Expo Pavilions including Grant Associates, Green Living Technologies, Green Roof Blocks, GreenGrid Roofs, Green Roof Plants, ILD, J-DRain, and Roofmeadow;
The Associates Booths at the Associate Pavilion;
The featured presentations and expert panel discussions with live Q & A records in the Rare Earth Auditorium;
and the rest of our stellar cast of  international  luminaries in the On Demand Auditorium.

It’s certainly not too late to register and see all of these amazing speakers and their interaction with our audience!  Registration will be open through October 28, 2011.

Here’s what one attendee had to say afterwards:

“Thank you for hosting the Virtual Summit 2011.  The event was extremely useful to me.  I’ve been working with green roofs here in Florida since 1995 and feel I learned more in two days than in most years since the time I first started growing plants way back, on a tin roof.

Most importantly though, the enthusiasm and success of others was so very important.

Here in Florida we lag behind the rest of the nation and the world.  But that is changing.  I know green roofs here will evolve just as beautifully and successfully as elsewhere.

Just seeing the inspirational work of others gave me the boost I needed.  Thank you and Aramis and the staff and speakers.  The Virtual Summit 2011 showed the world the importance of your outreach and informational organization.” ~ Kevin Songer

Thanks, Kevin!  If you  weren’t  able to join us live, we hope you will still sign up and enjoy the 32 presentations at your leisure through October 28!

See you at a physical conference somewhere in the world soon, and remember,

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.

From Llamas to Greenroofs: An Interview with Ed Snodgrass

March 13, 2009 at 2:52 am

Over the years here at we have been fortunate to accumulate eight (so far) very different but certainly unique Contributing Editors who are well known and respected throughout the greenroof community. If you follow us regularly, you know that they all write “occasional” columns, which means whenever they can take time out of their busy schedules (and paying careers, I should add)!  They’re all great people whom we’ve come to highly regard as colleagues and friends and today I’ll be inaugurating the “Meet the Editors” series, starting in order of coming on board, so our readers can get to know them a bit more, too – first up is Ed Snodgrass.

Ed Snodgrass is co-owner of Emory Knoll Farms/Green Roof Plants  (along with John Shepley), and co-author of the appropriately titled “Green Roof Plants: A Resource and Planting Guide,” 2006 from Timber Press, Portland, OR (along with his wife, Lucie L. Snodgrass).  As the first nursery owner in North America to devote 100% of production to growing greenroof plants and having presented on the subject across the world, Ed is considered a leader in our field and definitely the expert on extensive greenroof plant materials.

Basically, Emory Knoll Farms jump started a new business market; they currently stock over 100 varieties of greenroof plants and are always acquiring and testing new plants.  So Ed’s become quite famous – practically a week doesn’t go by where he’s not quoted or interviewed somewhere…but I’m happy to say that none of it has gone to his head – he’s just a regular, laid back kind of guy who’s passionate about what he does for a living.

And Ed is also our very first Contributing Editor here on and has been writing the occasional column “Ask Ed” as our Plant Editor since August, 2004.  He answers reader mail, features greenroof plants, and provides highlights of the plant trials and research performed regularly at Emory Knolls Farms (EKF).

I had the pleasure of visiting Emory Knoll Farms last May, 2008 – Lucie prepared a lovely and healthy locally grown lunch for us in their beautiful 1881 farmhouse.  Lucie Snodgrass has been a journalist for years and is very active in D.C. area public policy and lobbying efforts, more recently in promoting local farms, food production and distribution. Together they live on this wonderful farm, tending to the beautiful flower and vegetable gardens, enhancing the local ecosystem, and taking care of Huckleberry Hound, a few cats, and each other.

After lunch Ed and Lucie showed our group (my husband, Aramis, our intern, Caroline Menetre, Trish Luckett, Tom Liptan, Brad Rowe, Kristin Getter and me) around the sensitively managed large farmlands starting with the two test greenroofs on site – a smaller one over a barn shed, above, and the larger covering the business office, below.  There are other greenroofed surfaces, too, including houses for the kitties, small sheds, and some very unorthodox yet creative applications (more later).

The test greenroofs hold many varieties of succulents and herbaceous plants including various herbs, bulbs and some grasses, and some modular systems are also monitored on the main test roof alongside the built-in-place living roof – which also sports solar panels.  Along with plant material, EKF tests growing media and several methods of planting including plugs, seeds, and vegetated mats.  Read some of EKF’s trial results here.

Ed offered me the opportunity to see the growing facility from a really cool vantage point, and so I didn’t hesitate and hopped on board this Deere scooper thing (whatever you call this type of farm equipment!).

I may not know its name, but it went up pretty high and I did take some interesting overhead photos – notice the solar panels above on some of the growing facility offices, and some of our lovely group, below.

Along the fields and nature trails on the property we also visited the testing area for green walls, the old barn, bee hives, and the nearly 10,000 sf of greenhouse space and acres of stock plants.

Ed’s pretty private, so it’s an honor for me to have had him answer some of my questions after our tour:

Linda:  Ed, you’re a fifth generation farmer, but you also had another completely different career before returning to the land – can you talk about that and why you felt it was important to return to your roots?

Ed:  When I was farming I did so because it was what I knew and what I had grown up doing.  I never thought about it as a career choice, but after it become impossible economically to farm and I had to go and work “in the world” I realized what a touchstone the land was for me and it was always in my mind to try to make something work on the farm again.

Linda:  When were you first introduced to living roofs and how did you arrive at the huge conclusion to dedicate EKF operations exclusively to greenroof plants?  In other words, you really went out on a limb back back then – what year was that?  This was when we were just a fledgling community, let alone a new industry. What made you and your partner decide to make greenroofs the “green” part of the basis for your “black?”

Ed:  I don’t remember the exact date, but somewhere around 1998-1999 I became really committed to the idea of starting a nursery.  I was working as a management consultant at the time and doing a lot of traveling. Lucie was also working full time and we both talked about the notion of being self employed.  Right around then, the company I was working for was bought by a bigger company and moved to Tampa.  I wasn’t about to commute to Tampa, so the time seemed right to start something.

Lucie continued to work and I started to build the nursery.  I started by going to farmers’ markets, doing some free lance consulting, some landscaping and anything that would generate a little cash.  I had the first green roof sale in 2000 and John Shepley came as a partner in 2004.  Lucie eased off her full time work and became a freelance writer and did project work in public policy.


Linda:  You carry social responsibility and equitable practices throughout all facets of your life, including running the farm with partner John Shepley.  Would you share your philosophy of EKF’s sustainable operations with us and give us some examples of what you are doing to tread lighter on the land?

Ed:  The redesign of the farm is based around the design protocols of the Natural Step.  It is important to me to tread lightly because I am on a piece of land and have this opportunity because people that came before me didn’t exhaust it as a resource.  One of the first decisions was to not print a paper catalog and subsequently we have heated all our greenhouses and offices with spent fry oil, we pump all our water for the nursery with solar power, we have a small photovoltaic array, we allow employees to job share, and on the land front, Lucie and I have planted 9 acres of native trees and are turning over 75 acres into ground bird habitat.  It feels like we are just beginning to get a handle on our stewardship responsibilities.

  How did you go from llamas to greenroofs?  And what’s the deal – are you really a hippie?  I remember one of your “fans” sent this in a while back:

Dear Ask Ed,

The picture of you in a lab coat suggests you are an MD or have a Doctorate in something.  Are you?  The sign on the wall presents some confusion as Hippies are an untrustworthy, unclean lot.  So how do I know you are a legitimate specialist and not some wacko aging hippie grinning outside his meth lab?

Wanting to trust

Ed:  Check out the song from the group The Bobs: First I Was a Hippie, Then I was a Stockbroker, Now I am a Hippie Again.  I think that song about sums it up.

Linda:  You’ve been central to the greenroof movement from the beginning through plant research, development, public speaking, and most recently writing your first book along with Lucie.  What do you enjoy most about your work, and do you see any more book endeavors in the future?

Ed:   I don’t think I have been central to the green roof movement, there are lots of folks that are moving this thing forward.  It takes a village to make a green roof?  I enjoy learning most of all, and I enjoy the people I work with at the farm.  They are bright enthusiastic folks I learn from them every day.  I love watching things grow and looking at the systems that support things that grow.  The people that are in the green roof movement worldwide are great people to converse with and learn from.

I have two more books on the way, one with Nigel Dunnett, Dusty Gedge and John Little on small do-it-yourself green roofs.  That one is due out in May of 2009.  I am also working on another book, it’s going to be on green roof design, install and maintain, mostly from the plant perspective.  I have a new co-author, Linda McIntyre who was a staff writer and editor for Landscape Architecture Magazine and did all their green roof articles over the last few years.  We hope to help fill the knowledge gap that exists in the market today.  That book is due out in early 2010, both are from Timber Press.

Linda:  Emory Knoll Farms/Green Roof Plants has supplied over 2,489,238 sf or 221,251 M2 of greenroofs so far across North America – is there one particular project which is your favorite, or maybe particularly important in your eyes?

Ed:  I do like the one in Fells Point in Baltimore.  It is on the Mikulski Workforce Development Center at Living Classrooms.  Lucie and I are big fans of Senator Mikulski and Living Classrooms and their work, and it is a green roof that you can see from the ground, which is kind of rare.

And I do like the ones I have at the farm because I get to see them everyday, especially my barn roof which I see every morning from the bedroom window.  Gardens change every day and I love watching the change.

Linda:  What issues do you feel are important within our industry, and where do you see us heading in the next few years?  What would you like to see changed or addressed?

Ed:  I think the public policy side of the industry has to come into focus and be more uniform and that will require more quantifiable benefits derived from the research community.  I see that coming in the next few years.  I think design intent will become sharper as that happens and green roof terminology may become more precise.  I would like to see green roofs become more integrated with other green technologies like vegetated swales, rain gardens, and water harvesting.

Linda:  I think you’re a consummate professional, a trailblazer, and all around nice guy.  But if there was one thing that you’d like people to know about you or how you see the world, what would that be?

Ed:  That is nice of you to say, but we are only as strong as the people around us.  I think the world is getting smaller and faster; we need to think of all the people, plants and animals as part of ourselves if we are going to make truly lasting gardens.

You may have realized that Ed and company have quite a sense of humor.  Not all is hard work on Emory Knoll Farms – check out some of the lighter research going on here…greenroofs?  I don’t know – maybe green topped.  For example, remember the previous incarnation as a llama farm?  Well, they put some bones to rest in an unlikely spot – talk about recycle, reuse!

And although the EKF office has a composting toilet, the photo below shows Tom Liptan (who works, appropriately, for a Bureau of Environmental Services) displaying one of  Emory Knoll Farms’ even greener environmental options: the Sedum Toilet – “storm” water management at its best!

In case you’re interested in seeing Ed in public, here are some of his upcoming speaking engagements:

Sunday, March 15, 2009 – Alexandria VA: Harry Allen Winter Lecture Series, Green Spring Gardens

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 – Bel Air MD: Leadership Group, Harford Leadership Academy

Thursday, June 18, 2009 – Denver CO: Green Roofs for the West Symposium, Denver Botanic Gardens

Sunday, July 12, 2009 – Portland OR: APLD Conference, APLD

So thanks, Ed, for sharing some personal thoughts with us.  Among all the other things that you do, we know you’re a writer – but how about a blogger?  We haven’t read anything from you yet here, but  this could be a new horizon for you…  Should our readers expect to hear from you on Sky Gardens sometime in the future?

We’ll see…  Until then, send him your Plant and Horticulture questions to:

ed (at) or

Next up in “Meet the Editors” is Christine Thuring, ecologist, researcher, world trekker, and currently our Student Editor (among other personas).

Happy Greening,

~ Linda V.