’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: June 1, 2012

June 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on through our “This Week in Review” video.  Here is the transcript from June 1, 2012 from our daughter, Anjuli – click on the photo below to see the video, or here.  Enjoy!

– Hello, I’m Anjuli Velázquez and welcome to “This Week in Review” for June 1st, 2012 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–  Our project of the week is the City Creek Center, built in 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah. City Creek Center is Utah’s newest retail and dining destination and one of the largest sustainably designed urban communities in the state.  It covers two downtown city blocks and features a unique shopping environment with a retractable roof, a creek winding through the property, a pedestrian skybridge, and two 18 foot waterfalls.  The Center’s fully retractable glass roof is the nation’s first in a shopping center and retracts over the retail galleria so visitors can enjoy the shopping center in any kind of weather.  It also features three unique fountains that delight and entertain Salt Lake City shoppers with musically choreographed animations using the elements of fire and water.

Designed by SWA Group, City Creek has earned Silver LEED for Neighborhood Development as a pilot project.  Sustainable principles have been applied in design, construction and operation of City Creek; for example, more than 50% of the demolition debris was recycled. The 1-kilometer-long recreated creek with live fish and other flora/fauna habitat serves as the central organizing feature for the retail/housing/office development downtown, and is the largest flowing watercourse of its kind built on-structure in the U.S.  The water portion of the creek totals about 19,000 sf of over-structure greenroof, but paving, plantings, courtyards, and roof gardens add up to a total of 90,000 sf over-structure.  There is also a pond with live trout, lush plantings of native material and an interactive fountain in which children can play.  American Hydrotech supplied 300,000 sf of waterproofing for the entire City Creek Center.

– To learn more about the City Creek Center,  click on our project of the week photo on our homepage (or on the above photos).

What’s New

Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Video

– Watch our Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011  Episode #25: “Biodiversity and Greenroofs” Panel Presentation  with  Christine Thuring, Nathalie Baumann, Gary Grant and Dusty Gedge.

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

–  The eNewsletter

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

Advertiser Press Releases:

–  LiveRoof ® Selected for Green Roof on Biomedical Discovery District Facility at the University of Minnesota.


–  Sika Sarnafil USA is seeking a Technical Sales Representative in the Greater Chicago Area, Illinois.

Industry News

–  The American Institute of Architects introduced the first overview guide on how architects can implement the International Green Construction Code in their practice which was introduced in March by the International Code Council.  The guide, entitled simply, “Guide to the IgCC,” is meant as a one-stop-shop document exclusively for AIA-member architects working in jurisdictions where the IgCC is adopted or soon will be.

–  According to the 2012 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, results show a preference for an undemanding outdoor space for lots of entertaining.  Landscape architects with a specialization in residential design across the country were asked to rate the expected popularity of a variety of residential outdoor design elements.  When thinking of gardening, Americans tend toward the practical and sustainable with native plants (86.3%), food/vegetable gardens (81.2%) – with over half of them preferred to be organic (61.2%), rain gardens (55.6%), and rooftop gardens (38.3%).

–  Sky Gardens Blog

–  Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts: “Submission Deadline to the Green Roof and Wall Awards of Excellence Extended to June, 1st!,” “Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 25: Biodiversity and Greenroofs Panel Presentation,” and “’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: May 25, 2012.”

– “Upcoming Events“

– June 1: is the new submission deadline for the Green Roof and Wall Awards of Excellence presented in Chicago at this year’s CitiesAlive in October.

–  June 2nd: is the Summer Exhibition – Urban Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, in Brooklyn, NY.

The new Garden Shop will have  Green Roofs and Rooftop Gardens, a comprehensive look at New York’s most exceptional rooftop gardening projects””including BBG’s Visitor Center””on sale for the first time.  Featuring an authoritative guide to NYC green roofs””including a rooftop farm in Queens and a high school classroom in the Bronx in addition to BBG’s own Visitor Center””Green Roofs and Rooftop Gardens offers inspirational ideas and practical advice for a gardener of any level interested in learning more about gardening on the highest level.  Chapters include contributions from editors here at including: Green Roofs Past, Present, and Future, by Linda S. Velazquez, Green Roof and Living Wall Trends, by    Linda S. Velazquez  with Haven Kiers, and Green Roof Horticulture, by Edmund C. Snodgrass.

–  June 2nd-3rd: is the Mother Earth News Fair, in Puyallup, WA. Follow on Twitter: @MotherEarthFAIR #MENF

–  June 5: is World Environment Day. Follow on Twitter: @UNEPandyou

–  And June 6th-7th: is the 7th Annual Northeast Buildings & Facilities Management Show & Conference, in Boston, MA.

– “In the News“


–  Jackie Wills of The Guardian, reports on “M&S: a sustainable blueprint to behold.”  The retailer’s landmark Ecclesall Road M&S store combines a range of unique characteristics, from LED lighting to rainwater toilets; and has become a learning store, where sustainability skills are shared among staff and local students.  It is the first United Kingdom store to win full Forest Stewardship Council project certification.

Some of the unique features include: natural ventilation in the stockroom and staff areas rather that air conditioning, glass doors on mobile fridges that cut energy use by 45% and an HFC-free refrigeration system, water use has been cut by 46% by installing low flush toilets, sensor taps and a rainwater-harvesting tank below ground.  Also, sun pipes bring natural lighting onto the shop floor, every brick was reclaimed from a disused mill in Manchester and polishing the concrete floor meant no need for coverings; and the shop has a sedum roof and a living wall for wildlife, which among other environmental benefits, will insulate the store and filter pollution.

–  Sarah DeWeerdt of The Atlantic Cities, talks about “A 30,000-Square-Foot Community Garden, in a Parking Garage.”  The project, dubbed the UpGarden, will have space for about 120 local gardeners.  The project came about because Seattle’s P-Patch community gardening program was looking for space to build a new garden in the neighborhood.  Eric Higbee, a landscape architect working on the project says, “as far as we can tell it’s the first community-managed food production garden on a rooftop” in the country.

Typical green roof technologies were too expensive, so they settled on a series of wooden raised beds 12 to 18 inches deep, which will be filled with potting soil, which is lighter than topsoil.  Roofs are bright and hot, which should make it easier to grow hot-weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants but to offset the windy element and to help the soil stay moist, the team is considering putting in a drip irrigation system.  The knowledge developed here will aid in the development of other rooftop gardens in Seattle and elsewhere around our country.

– 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 and share your greenroof or greenwall info with the world!

– Make sure to keep up with everything by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, being a member of our network on LinkedIn, and subscribing to our greenroofsTV channel on YouTube!

– This has been This Week in Review for June 1st,  2012 on GreenroofsTV.  I’m Anjuli Velázquez and I’ll see you next week!

*This week’s episode is sponsored by The Greenroof Directory, brought to you by*

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

~ Linda V.’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: April 6, 2012

April 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on through our “This Week in Review” video.  Here is the transcript from April 6th, 2012 from our daughter, Anjuli – click on the photo below to see the video, or here.  Enjoy!

– Hello, I’m  Anjuli Velázquez  and welcome to “This Week in Review” for April 6th, 2012 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–  Our project of the week is the Salmon Creek School & Environmental Center, built in 2009 in Freestone, California.  This LEED ® Platinum certified school is the first public school in California to receive this highest level of LEED ® certification.  The educational building is also a community and environmental education center that focuses itself on place-based learning and developing eco-literacy among its students and parents.  SYMBIOS eco-tecture worked with students, administrators, community and environmental groups to design and plan a living roof that would be educational and functional.  The cafeteria food comes from the organic garden; the walls are not only natural plaster but also clean the air; and natural light is strategically introduced to keep the kids perky and to help heat the building in the winter.

In the summer the green living roof keeps the school cool, in the winter keeps it warm and creates a habitat for wildlife all year long.  Biodiversity was emphasized in the planting scheme of the greenroof, which included 12 species of drought-tolerant succulents, three of which are native to California.  Salmon Creek that runs through the school’s property is currently undergoing a multi-year restoration project to restore the Coho Salmon populations and therefore a net zero stormwater discharge rate was mandated.  Other sustainable features of the building include passive solar design, daylight harvesting, a 30 kilowatt PV solar system, eco-plasters and floor finishes, reclaimed lumber and recycled content steel framing low-water use fixtures, and more.

– To learn more about the Salmon Creek School & Environmental Center,  click on our project of the week photo on our homepage (or on the above photos).

What’s New

Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Video

– Watch our Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011  Episode 17: “Sustainability in Plant Production” by Lluis Recasens Pahí.

–  Contributing Editor

–  Also read Haven Kiers’ new “Chic Sustainability Watch: Trends, Projects & People – Disappearing Acts.”

Advertiser Press Releases:

Tecta America Expert Angie Durhman Named Opening Speaker for the NYC Green Roof Science Symposium.

Industry News

–  Toronto is the first city in North America to have a bylaw to require and govern the construction of green roofs on new development.  It was adopted by Toronto City Council in May 2009, under the authority of Section 108 of the City of Toronto Act.  The Bylaw applies to new building permit applications for residential, commercial and institutional development made after January 31, 2010 and will apply to new industrial development as of April 30, 2012.

– New York City Planning Commission unanimously approves Zone Green proposal.  Zone Green is the most comprehensive effort of any city in the nation to sweep aside obstacles to green buildings and energy efficiency – eliminating barriers to green roofs to energy generation and to rooftop agriculture.  Zone Green will give homeowners and building owners new opportunities to make investments that save them energy, save them money, and improve our environment.

–  Forty-six ASTM International standards covering various aspects of building construction are cited in the 2012 International Green Construction Code.  Published by the International Code Council, the new model code addresses the construction and remodeling of residential as well as commercial structures.  The IgCC is expected to increase cost savings and job growth while enabling safe and sustainable building design and construction.  ASTM green construction standards such as E2399 on green roof systems, C1549 for solar reflectance and E2635 on water conservation in buildings are part of the 2012 code.

–  Sky Gardens Blog

– Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts: “Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 17: Sustainability in Plant Production,” “Enter the 2012 “˜Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!’ Earth Day Photo Contest Now!,” and “’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: March 29, 2012.”

– “Upcoming Events“

– Speaking of our 2012 “˜Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!’ Earth Day Photo Contest, make sure you enter your favorite greenroof and then get friends and family to vote for it daily!  The winner gets $100 plus a lot of air time!  Going on now through April 22nd: Enter the 2012 “Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!” Earth Day Photo Contest, on our Facebook page!

– “In the News“

–  Peter Raabe of the American Rivers Blog, has “A Vision Of Green Roofs In Durham, NC.”  He says “North Carolina has a stormwater problem.”  Many of its rivers are polluted due to stormwater runoff.  The state has put rules into effect to clean up its act and Durham is at the center, on one side, Jordan Lake and the other, Falls Lake reservoirs, and both have strict clean up requirements due to the poor land use practices around them.

Beyond stormwater runoff reductions, greenroofs could offer many benefits to Durham like reducing roofing maintenance, improving building energy efficiency, reducing urban heat island effect, improving habitat for wildlife, improving air quality and the potential creation of a green economy work force.  American Rivers has partnered with Downtown Durham, Inc. and they put on a forum for more than fifty city and business leaders that explored the potential of greenroof enhancements in Durham.  The forum created momentum within Durham and they are on their way to creating a more sustainable city.

– Texas A&M University talks about “Interdisciplinary green roof effort to engage wide variety of students.”  Next fall, 1,000 students from a variety of academic programs, including architecture, construction science, environmental geosciences, environmental studies, landscape architecture, horticulture and meteorology at Texas A&M, will begin working together on an interdisciplinary, three-year project to install and monitor a greenroof and living wall atop a campus building.  Assistant professor of landscape architecture and leader of this project,   Texas A&M University  , says this initiative is aimed at preparing students to become leaders in energy conservation and resource management.

In the project’s first year, students will have learning experiences beyond a traditional classroom setting, as they build, install and maintain all of the elements of the greenroof, including physical structures, standard meteorological and soil monitoring instrumentation, planning and plant maintenance, manual measurement and associated live and stored data processing and display.  This project is funded by a $100,000 Texas A&M reallocation grant for enhancing students’ preparation for the workplace and society through high-impact learning experiences.

– 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 and share your greenroof or greenwall info with the world!

– Make sure to keep up with everything 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 April 6th, 2012 on GreenroofsTV.  I’m Anjuli Velázquez and I’ll see you next week!

*This week’s episode is sponsored by The Greenroof Directory, brought to you by*

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:

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.

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 and visit: and