Greenroofs.com’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: May 18, 2012

May 19, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on Greenroofs.com through our “This Week in Review” video.  Here is the transcript from May 18, 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 May 18th, 2012 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–  Our project of the week is the  Drew School Sam Cuddleback III Assembly Wing Vertical Garden, built in 2011 in San Francisco, California.  The Drew School was founded in 1908 by the respected Bay Area educator John Sheehan Drew and has grown from a one student “coaching school” to a fully accredited co-educational college preparatory school enrolling 250 high school students.  The new $15 million Drew School Sam Cuddleback III Assembly Wing, performing arts space, and classroom building will be among the first high school buildings in the Bay Area to attain LEED Gold Certification™ for New Construction and for School Pilot.

Green features include: an external 1,720 sf living wall/vertical garden by Patrick Blanc, a 2,630 sf living roof by Rana Creek, recycled and sustainable USGBC-certified materials, and environmental sensors.  The vertical garden is made up of about 4,579 native Californian plants and approximately 64 of the 105 species are from the San Francisco Bay area. The hydroponic system delivers water supplemented with a low concentration of nutrients to the roots automatically from the top, four to five times a day.  Students study the plants on the wall as a living lab for many subjects, like botany, chemistry, and physics; one example was studying native plant uses by American Indians.

– To learn more about the Drew School Sam Cuddleback III Assembly Wing Vertical Garden, 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  23: “Naturalism: Large-Scale Applications,” by Paul Kephart.

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

Advertiser Press Releases:

–  Green Living Technologies International (GLTi) and Hyload Launch Green Roof Single Source Extended Warranty Program.

The First “New Block™” Development, Park Landing Apartment Homes in Buena Park, California will Feature LiveRoof ® for its Green Roof.

Joblinks

–  An International Manufacturer of Roofing Products is looking for an Area Technical Sales Manager in South London, UK.

–  Sky Gardens Blog

– Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts: “Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 23: Naturalism: Large-Scale Applications of Living Architecture,” “Greenroofs.com’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: May 11, 2012,” and “Vanessa Keitges of Columbia Green in Forbes!”

– “Upcoming Events“

–  May 22nd-26th: is the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, in Chelsea, London.

–  May 23rd: is a Green Roofs (Toitures Vegetalisees) Meeting, in La Rochelle, France.

–  May 23rd-24th: is the EMC West Coast Energy Management Congress, in Seattle, Washington.

–  And May 25th-27th: is ROOF INDIA 2012, in Chennai, India (@RoofIndiaExpo)

– “In the News“

–  Ralph Gardener Jr. of the Wall Street Journal, reports on “Open-Air Status Symbols.” He says there are all kinds of envy in New York, and one that gets overlooked, is “roof envy” – the jealous feelings that are aroused towards “those who own, or at least have access to, outdoor spaces where they can sunbathe, barbecue or simply enjoy vistas larger than those framing their neighbors’ apartments.”

If you’re curious to see the green roofs of New York, then check out photojournalist Alex MacLean’s new book, “Up On the Roof.”  Last week, I mentioned a newslink that showcased some of MacLean’s amazing photos, and this newslink features an interview with him.  Gardener and MacLean talk about how the idea of his book came to be, how wealth and growing environmental consciousness attributes the the rise of green roofs in New York, and how green roofs, like the one at the Cook+Fox Architects building, were planted to help reduce the heat island effect and stormwater run off in New York City.

–  Green Building Press talks about “Cities Must Adapt To Climate Change Now – Reports Says.”  “Urban adaption to climate change in Europe,” the report from the European Environment Agency (EEA), says “Europe should seize the opportunity of improving quality of life while adapting to climate change in cities,” and it “also warns that delaying adaptation will be much more costly in the long-term.”  Most of Europe’s wealth is generated in cities, and urban areas are particularly at risk due to climate change; temperature is increasing, precipitation is changing and the sea level is rising.  Adaptation should work with nature, not against it and many adaptation measures can make cities more pleasant places to live.

Malmö in Sweden manages rainwater flows with a new open storm-water-system.  Greenroofs and open water channels lead rainwater into collection points that form a temporary reservoir.  Following water shortages in the 1990s, the City of Zaragoza in Spain managed to create a “water saving culture.”  Within 15 years this successful campaign aimed at citizens and businesses helped the city cut water consumption by almost 30%, despite a 12% population increase.  The recently launched European Climate Adaptation Platform Climate-ADAPT provides a comprehensive web resource aimed at policy makers and “practitioners” – engineers, planners and administrators – who can obtain adaptation knowledge in Europe and learn from the experience of others facing similar challenges already carrying out adaptation actions elsewhere.

– To learn more about these stories and new ones posted daily, go to our In the News or Newslinks section of our website.

– Send us your green articles, videos and images to editor@greenroofs.com and share your greenroof or greenwall info with the world!

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

– This has been This Week in Review for May 18th, 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 Greenroofs.com.*


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

~ Linda V.

See the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Agenda, Speakers Page & Trailer!

September 2, 2011 at 10:48 pm

The ever growing demand for sustainable design continues to grow across the world – especially with living architecture, and Greenroofs.com‘s inaugural Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit held online on September 27 and 28, 2011 is truly a groundbreaking event you can’t miss!

Join us as we inform, share, and create a global social media experience for learning and networking via the power of the Internet.   It’s a community destination that will allow you to connect with everyone in our growing community!

Over 50 speakers from around the world are joining us in the Virtual Summit including architects, ecologists, landscape architects, engineers, educators, industry CEOs, product manufacturers and suppliers, botanists, non-profit directors, government officials and representatives from the state of New York, cities of Portland, OR; Chicago, IL; and the Bronx.

We’ve just released our very impressive international speaker line-up for the Virtual Summit 2011 – you can now see the Speakers page and Agenda to learn all about each presenter and their presentations or panel sessions.

Our Keynote Speakers are thinkers, designers, trend setters, eco-luminaries:

“Imagine a world of green:
What are we doing to create organic architecture?”

Here are just a few more of the illustrious speakers we have in store for you:

Rosemarie S. Andolino, USA: The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Commissioner will present “CDA Leads the Way for Incorporating Green Roof Space in an Airport Environment.”

 

Dr. Patrick Blanc, France: The renown botanist and creator of  Le Mur Végétal  will present “The Vertical Garden – from Nature to Cities” with an exclusive interview by Linda Velazquez.

 

Dr. Nigel Dunnett, UK: The Director of the Green Roof Centre and University of Sheffield Professor will present “Sky Meadows: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Diverse Green Roof Plantings.”

 

Paul Kephart, USA: The President of Rana Creek and ecological designer will present “Large-Scale Applications of Living Architecture.”

 

Xianmin Wang, China: The Deputy Chief of the Vertical Greening Academic Group of China Green Building Council; Vice Chairman of the International Rooftop Landscaping Association will present “The Current Situation and Future of Green Roofs in China.”

We’re treating our Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 as a production, and now you can see the trailer – it’s fast, fun, and informative and gives you a glimpse of presentations to come.  Watch just a few highlights from our stellar cast of greenroof and greenwall professionals below:

Don’t forget to pre-register by September 9 for the discounted Early Bird rate of only $49 ($25 for students/faculty and government professionals) for access on both September 27 and 28 and 30 days archived on demand through October 28!   Plus, you’ll be automatically entered for the chance to win the first of two Apple iPad2s that we’re giving away.

One random winner will be chosen from the Early Bird Pre-Registrations and one from attendees who have been the most active using the Social Collaboration Network, including all your online chatting and visiting our very important sponsor and exhibitor booths at the Expo Pavilions!

Pre-register or learn more by visiting:   virtual.greenroofs.com

Brought to you by Greenroofs.com, we’d like to thank to our Virtual Summit Sponsors TREMCO and American Hydrotech and our Exhibitors and Media Partners:

See our Press Release  here.  Join us for the sharing, networking and fun event of the year!

~ Linda V.


Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ 2011 CitiesAlive Conference Update

June 11, 2011 at 11:52 am

By Steven Peck

This week  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities launched the web site and agenda for our 9th Annual CitiesAlive conference and it’s going to be a great way to finish off the year.

Our co-hosts are the City of Philadelphia and the  Pennsylvania  Horticultural Society, two of the key players in the communities planning to spend $2 billion on living green infrastructure technologies to address their stormwater management challenges and revitalize their community.

This year’s theme is Restoring Urban Waters and will have designs, scientific research papers and policies all devoted to exploring how living architecture technologies such as green roofs and walls can play a major role in addressing stormwater challenges.

We’ll also get together and discuss emerging issues and opportunities such as growing media standards, integrated design practices, and the research needed to increase indoor greening.

The CitiesAlive: The 9th Annual Green Roof & Wall Conference is November 30-Dec 2, 2011.  Save the date and don’t forget that the deadline for this year’s Awards of Excellence Submissions is July 6.

See you in Philly…   SWP

Steven W. Peck, GRP, HASLA, is  Founder and President, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and  Co-Founder, Green Infrastructure Foundation; visit  www.greenroofs.org or call Steven at:  416.971.4494 (233).

Learn more at these links from  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities:

Join the more than 400 accredited Green Roof Professionals (GRPs)!
Save the date: CitiesAlive: The 9th Annual Green Roof & Wall Conference – November 30th to December 3rd, Philadelphia
Read the Health Issue of the Living Architecture Monitor magazine
Check out Online Proceedings from CitiesAlive 2010 (on sale until July 31st)
Join GRHC and build a business in green roofs and walls

 

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.