Go Green with Greenroofs and Patrick Carey!

August 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Patrick Carey, hadj design principal, member of the  Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, greenroof designer and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities trainer extraordinaire – and Architecture Editor here on Greenroofs.com – is featured in  the July 27, 2011  KING5.com  Evening Magazine video “Go Green with Greenroofs.”   Click below:

Host Jim Dever describes how a green revolution is sprouting up, so to speak!

Patrick is interviewed extensively with Seattle City Hall in the background and on location at several area homes, including the Mazurek Art Studio and Jon Alexander’s Garage.

I was lucky to have visited them all and more along with Patrick Carey in August 2004 – read about it in my previous column (and inspiration for this blog), “Sky Gardens ~ Travels in Landscape Architecture” here.

“I think that green roofs  are the greenest thing you can do in construction except not build at all!”   ~ Patrick Carey

Way to go, Patrick!

By the way, Patrick Carey will be leading one of our panels sessions at our upcoming Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 on August 23 and 24, 2011:   Join him along with Dr. Robert Berghage, Charlie Miller and Ed Snodgrass as they examine “Greenroofs Without the Hype.”

Knowing those four, it should be pretty interesting!   Happy Greening,

~ Linda V.

GPW: Private Seattle Green Roof Garage

April 11, 2010 at 11:57 pm

The Pacific Northwest in general is known for eco-friendly, sustainable building policies, high-performance green architecture, and local innovative building designs.   In fact, Seattle holds the distinct position of being the first U.S. city government committed to Silver LEED™ facilities, adopting its Sustainable Building Policy requiring new city buildings over 5,000 sf to  obtain the U.S. Green Building Council’s certification rating in 2000.   But the Seattle area also distinguishes itself in that it has an unusually high number of residential greenroof applications.

Our GPW through today is the lovely 280 sf “Private Seattle Green Roof Garage,” built in 2003 by architect Rob Harrison and his wife, Frith Barbat.   Located in a geographically diverse southeast Seattle neighborhood,  the area is filled with parklands, lakefront, wooded hills, and quiet residential streets and boulevards.   Aside from the living roof, construction methods were eco-conscious from the beginning as the homowners  capitalized on the property’s existing carport  foundation and built  the garage mostly with materials salvaged from the previous deck.   It’s really not surprising, since Rob Harrison, AIA, is a Certified Passive House™ Consultant and principal of HARRISON architects.  

The  Seattle, Washington firm  has been in business since 1984, with the last 18 years devoted to sustainable design.   HARRISON architects’ work is based in “lyrical sustainable design”: conserving energy and resources, using healthier materials and finishes, reducing long-term costs, and making poetic places.   By working with consultants, contractors and suppliers who share their values, the  experience  results in a convivial, collaborative design and construction process.    And when you’re the client/architect, and it’s easy to be creative in this environment.

“Since it was our own house (rather than a client’s!), we thought it would be a great opportunity to experiment with a less expensive residential alternative to $15/sf proprietary (and warrantied) green roof systems used on commercial projects, and so promote the use of green roofs in residential applications.” ~ Rob Harrison

And since Rob was a  member of the local chapter of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, he had plenty of local expertise and volunteers for help.   The Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is an alliance of builders, designers, suppliers, homeowners, and partners concerned with ecological building in the Pacific Northwest.   Their mission is to provide leadership in education to transform the built environment and build a sustainable society.   In those years, hadj design  directed the greenroofing efforts for the Guild,  and the firm’s principal, Patrick Carey  (also our Architecture Editor), was one of the consultants and volunteers on this project, as seen below in the bucket brigade system used to haul the growing media up to the roof.

Originally, Rob designed the space to call his own for a “manly” workshop (the garage is featured on the cover of the book ManSpace: A Primal Guide to Marking Your Territory by Sam Martin, about “dens, caves, lairs, hangouts, hideaways, workshops, studios, drinking sheds and man houses”).    The one-car garage  housed space for tools, one bicycle, two vintage motorcycles and  their  Mini Cooper.

But things have changed – at present, the garage now holds just one motorcycle (a new gas-efficient model with a catalytic converter) and the family’s six bicycles.    They sold  the car seven months ago, and have  been giving the car-free life a try – so far, so good!

Originally planted with Eco-Turf (a mixture of baby blue eyes, red clover, yarrow, and fescues) and a variety of drought tolerant sedums, they’ve also added strawberries, nasturtiums and poppies to the greenroof.

Venturing onto YouTube this past February, Rob came across the above advertisement for Pepsi’s new humanitarian/environmental effort, the Pepsi Refresh Project, and was surprised to see his own green-roofed garage!  He explains that a couple years ago fashion/rock star photographer Karen Moskovitz came over with a young model family to shoot some stock “lifestyle” photos and video using his garage as the backdrop.  He’s quick to point out that it’s not him watering the roof!

“We might do that if we’ve planted new plants up there and need to get them started, but otherwise, not,”  Rob says.   Actually, maintenance has been  really minimal – they only watered the first year during establishment and have only spent about one  hour’s worth total weeding and the occasional introduction of new plants during the first three years.   He adds, “It’s a bit odd to be shilling Pepsi, even if very indirectly, but I do like the idea that we are clearly living in some one’s idea of a better future!”

By the way, the Pepsi Refresh Project  is looking for people, businesses, and non-profits with ideas that will have a positive impact in their communities, and is giving millions of dollars in grants in the categories of Health, Arts & Culture, Food & Shelter, The Planet, Neighborhoods, and Education.

Any lessons learned with a greenroof so close to home that you can see daily?   In the more recent photos that Rob sent me, see above and below,  it’s obvious the roof has seceded to mostly grasses, so I asked him if is it still that way – Yes.

Rob says now that the roof is seven years old, in retrospect he would not have introduced any grasses on the roof at all, as the area planted in Eco-Turf has spread over the entire roof and overtaken the sedums, which  are still there, but are hard to see.   But he muses,  “The wavy grass does have its own attractions, especially in the dry summer here, where it reminds me of the Palouse in eastern Washington.”

Does he plan to keep it as it has naturalized or does he have other designs?   Rob’s response:  

“I’m of two minds on the secession of the roof to mostly grasses.  On the one hand I like the look of the grass, and the way the motion of the grass in the wind animates the building, and it’s tempting to let the roof do its own thing and see what develops naturally.   On the other hand, grass forms a dense mat of roots that is surprisingly impermeable.   We haven’t made a big decision to replant the whole roof yet, but we’ve been pulling out clumps of grass here and there, and planting more sedums as we acquire them from friends and neighbors.”

This beautiful private  Seattle vegetated roof  is one example of sustainability on a smaller scale in a city full of greening efforts.   It has been featured in many  publications  and tours, both public and private. The photo above  resulted from an AIA Seattle seminar on greenroofs held at  the architect’s  home in 2006, in conjunction with folks from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.

Visible from the alleyway behind it and, more importantly, from the home’s  kitchen window, the Harrison/Barbat family agrees their Seattle garage greenroof is a pleasure to behold every day – in all seasons and all forms.

~ Linda V.

(Note:   See Patrick Carey’s  article about the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild  from June, 2003 here, and my August, 2004 Sky Gardens ~ Travels in Landscape Architecture column about Seattle’s early sustainability leaders and efforts here.)

Ecoroof Portland – Inspiring, Fun, & Free

March 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Multnomah County Building, Tremco Green Roof: Photo Courtesy Tremco

Known as “The Rose City” for its famous yearly Rose Festival and The Grand Floral Parade in early June, Portland Oregon could also be easily known as “The Eco City” or perhaps even “The Green City” because of their ongoing commitment to preserving their magnificent waterways and forests while promoting sustainable design and development through progressive urban policies and public outreach.   The last time we were there was for the 2nd Annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards & Trade Show in 2004.   And we spent some time here in late 2003 when I was compiling info for my Sky Gardens ~ Travels in Landscape Architecture column on the area.    Such a beautiful city!

 The Portland Building Ecoroof, 2007: Photo Courtesy BES

On March 12-13, the lovely City of Portland will be sponsor and host to their annual free Ecoroof Portland.   What an amazing  city for supporting greenroofs – or ecoroofs, as they refer to them here.   Currently with about 200 projects within the city, ecoroofs cover about 10 acres, leading the U.S. in total area greened after Chicago.   And they were one of the first, if not the first, municipality in the nation to offer incentives.   As part of the Grey to Green Initiative, the City of Portland is offering an incentive of up to $5 per square foot for ecoroofs towards a target of 43 additional acres by 2013.   In the past year, the  Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) awarded the incentive to 50 projects for a total of over 4 acres.   Read more in Industry Support and the City’s Incentive Project Page for more information.  You can visit ecoroofs and other sustainable stormwater projects in Portland with these self-guided tours, and the City maintains an Ecoroof Blog, which is very informative, too!

Tom Liptan's Ecoroof Garage; Photo Courtesy Tom Liptan

The premier champion there of stormwater mitigation, and ecoroofs in particular, is Tom Liptan, ASLA.   I’ve known Tom for over 12 years, when I first contacted him about greenroofs back when I was a landscape architecture student at UGA a had “discovered” them myself.   Gracious, kind, and accommodating, he nurtured and fueled my passion for this earth-friendly sustainable technology.   And Tom has always put his money where his mouth is – he installed one of the first ecoroofs in Portland atop his garage in 1996.   The now famous Liptan Garage Greenroof served as early a demonstration project and testing grounds for a variety of factors – read more in the profile.

The Louisa; Photo Courtesy BES

Designed to inform a varied audience of professionals and homeowners, the lineup of speakers will educate and inspire you to consider a greenroof on your next project.   A Vendor Fair with over 60 professionals and organizations will be on-hand both days  to share their ecoroof experience, products, and services.   Featured speakers include Dr. David J. Sailor, Ed Snodgrass, and me!   Dr. Sailor is a full professor at the Mechanical and Materials Engineering faculty at Portland State University, Member Faculty of the Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST), and directs Portland State University’s Green Building Research Laboratory.   Ed Snodgrass is co-owner of Emory Knoll Farms/Green Roof Plants, a fifth generation farmer and nurseryman specializing in plants and horticultural consulting for greenroofs.   An accomplished speaker and writer (“Green Roof Plants: A Resource and Planting Guide“),  he’s also  our Plant Editor who writes his occasional column “Ask Ed”   – read my “From Llamas to Greenroofs: An Interview with Ed Snodgrass.”   See full profiles here and a complete list of all the speakers and Agenda here.

A flowering Ecoroof in Portland, OR; Photo BES

See Ed on Friday at 12:00 pm at the  Welcome and Keynote Address where Environmental Services Director Dean Marriott will welcome attendees and introduce  Ed as the Keynote Speaker.   His presentation will focus on the role of ecoroofs in sustainable cities.   On Saturday at noon, Commissioner Dan Saltzman will welcome attendees and introduce me – I will be presenting “Hot Trends in Greenroof Design,” a compilation of my favorite international projects from our Top 10 Lists from the past  with a look at some of the new, innovative, leading vanguard and projects for 2010.   On Saturday at 4:00 pm Ed will be part of  a panel where you can get some help getting started on your own ecoroof project – “The Ecoroof Doctors are IN,” along with Tom Liptan, David Elkin, and Alice Meyers from BES, and Patrick Carey of hadj design, a Green Roofs for Healthy Cities trainer, and our Architecture Editor.   Patrick writes an occasional architectural column entitled “A View from the Sky Trenches,” where he selects and discusses pertinent greenroof industry topics.

OHSU, a Xero Flor Green Roof, in May 2008; Photo Courtesy BES

Don’t miss Ecoroof Portland!   It  will run on Friday and Saturday, March 12 & 13, 2010  at  the Leftbank Annex, located at 101 N. Weidler St in downtown Portland.   It’s very close to the Rose Quarter – you can find directions by clicking  the following link.   Learn all about Ecoroof Portland 2010 at the City’s BES website.

Ecoroof Portland 2010

If you can attend, please stop by and say hello!   Happy greening,

~ Linda V.