GPW: Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central

December 29, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: 11/28/11
Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central
Philadelphia, PA, USA
5,000 sf. Greenroof

Year: 2008
Owner: Free Library of Philadelphia
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Building Type: Library
Type: Semi-Intensive, Test/Research
System: Custom
Size: 5,000 sq. ft.
Slope: 1%
Access: Accessible, Open to Public

Project Description & Details

Consisting of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the Free Library of Philadelphia is one of the most widely-used educational and cultural institutions in the city with more than six million visits annually.

Part of Mayor Michael Nutter’s green initiatives and the first on a city-owned building, the four story Beaux-Arts Parkway Central Library’s green roof demonstration project is divided into two areas flanking the east and west sides of the central roof terrace above the main entrance. 100 cubic yards of rooflite® growing media support more than 5,400 plants. Sedums include Murale White Stonecrop, Blue Cadet Creeping Sedum, and Blue Spruce Stonecrop along with grasses such as Blue Grama, Feather Reed Grass, Blue Fescue, and Prairie Dropseed. The accessible green roof offers informative signage and a beautiful view of central Philadelphia from the terrace.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect: Moshe Safdie and Associates
Architect: Kelly Maiello
Landscape Architect: Lager Raabe Skafte Landscape Architects
Greenroof Consultant: Peter Philippi, Green Roof Service, LLC
Roofing Contractor: U.S. Roofing
Growing Media: rooflite® Extensive MC, Skyland USA
Planting Installation: Galbally Landscaping
Project Manager: Jim Pecora, Free Library of Philadelphia
Lead Project Coordinator: Fredda Lippes, City of Philadelphia
Moisture Retention Mat, Drainage Board, Root Barrier & Protection Fabric: Carlise

Additional Info

The City of Philadelphia is fast becoming a very green-oriented city due to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the efforts of many.  The City is currently working on a $2 billion stormwater plan to rethink the way the city deals with rain.  And, their Stormwater Management Practices Design Guidelines include specifics on greenroofs.

“The 25-year plan, which has been hailed as a national model, envisions green roofs on office buildings, porous pavement on city streets and parking lots, and plants and trees with tubs of gravel below ground to hold water and stall runoff in a storm.” ~ Philly.com of June 2, 2011

See the most recent version of the Philadelphia Stormwater Management Guidance Manual (Version 2.0 revised 4/29/2011).

Specifically pertaining to greenroofs, the City offers up to $100,000 in business tax credits.  For more info, download the Business Privilege Tax Application for the Green Roof Tax Credit, Philadelphia Code § 19-2604(8).

The Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central is located on Logan Circle at 19th and Vine Street in Philadelphia and the greenroof project was initiated by Fredda Lippes, RA, LEED AP, Dept. of Public Property and Mayor’s Office of Sustainability for The City of Philadelphia.  The Library’s greenroof was designed by Moshe Safdie and Associates, the Library’s nationally-renowned architect of the Parkway Central Library’s expansion project and numerous other high-visibility living roofs (such as the Vancouver Public Library).  Sustainability and green building practices are being incorporated into the new 180,000 square-foot addition, and the Library is seeking a silver LEED designation for the new building.

“I want to commend all of those involved in making this vision a reality.  This project is another example to cities across the country of what can happen when many different sectors – government, business and non-profits – work in partnership towards a common goal.” ~ Mayor Michael A. Nutter

Completed at a cost of $200,000, the greenroof is mostly an extensive design with some semi-intensive areas varying from a 6” to 12” soil depth range.  Located on the south side of the building and accessible off the 4th floor of the Skyline room, the Library greenroof terrace offers spectacular views of downtown.

Staging for the construction of the greenroof included closing of the streets by police.  Here you see the rooflite® supersacks of growing media being trucked in:

By the way, rooflite® says that it takes the crane operator to unload each sack in about 3 seconds!

Monitoring of the roof has included temperature recordings:

“The summer roof temperature prior to the green roof installation was recorded as 128 degrees on the ballasted areas to 170 degrees on the exposed black EPDM – the green roof surface would average approximately 30-40 degrees less than the ballasted area.” ~Delaware Valley Green Building Council

Informative signage was an important factor for The Free Library of Philadelphia to help educate the public on the many benefits of greenroofs:

“Every Great City Needs a Great Library!” ~ The Free Library of Philadelphia

Watch a short (1:51) construction video by The Free Library of Philadelphia below:

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!  Click here to see more information about this project in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.  See how you can submit yours here.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.

GPW: PECO Main Office Building

November 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: 10/24/11
PECO Main Office Building
47,000 sf. Greenroof

Year: 2008
Owner: PECO Energy
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Building Type: Corporate
Type: Extensive & Intensive
System: Other
Size: 47,000 sq. ft.
Slope: 1%
Access: Accessible, By Appointment
Google Maps: link
YouTube Video: link

Project Description & Details

Located on top of an eight-story section of the PECO (Philadelphia Electric Company) building, the rooftop garden holds growing media up to 8 inches thick; the greenroof development is part of the company’s recently-announced comprehensive environmental initiative with a range of programs over the next several years.

This retrofit project was established with low-maintenance pre-vegetated Sedum mats by Sempergreen over a specially formulated growing media. Because of the dead load restrictions, the extensive greenroof media was designed to be extra-lightweight. The Roofmeadow Type I extensive greenroof assembly weighs 17 psf when fully saturated. The cool green Sedum carpet is punctuated by pathways, lit seat walls and Roofmeadow Type III intensive native perennial beds located over zones with a higher dead load capacity. In partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, PECO co-sponsors public greenroof tours that attract architects, developers and engineers intent on learning more about vegetated assemblies.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect: William Craig, Architect and Re:Vision Architecture
Structural Engineer: Michael D. Pieroni, Robert E. Lamb, Inc.
Installation: Former Roofmeadow Network Contractor, Michael Furbish, Furbish Company, LLC
Vegetated Mat Provider: Sempergreen
Greenroof System: Roofmeadow Types I and III
Growing and Drainage Media: SkyGarden, Stancills, Inc.

Additional Info

Headquartered in Philadelphia, PECO is an energy delivery subsidiary of Exelon Corporation and is the largest electric and natural gas utility in Pennsylvania, serving approximately 1.6 million electric customers and 490,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Pennsylvania.  Approximately 90% of PECO’s customers are residential and the remaining 10% are commercial and industrial.

PECO is taking major steps to demonstrate its environmental leadership.  In 2008 PECO embarked on the first phase of a five-year major environmental initiative to preserve the environment and help customers become more environmentally responsible.

Along with other initiatives and policies, the company received ISO 14001 certification, the internationally recognized standard to help organizations minimize their impact on the environment.  See the very informative video, “PECO’s Environmental Initiative” below which also has time lapse photography of the greenroof installation:

 

For example, in addition to the 47,000 sf greenroof atop the Main Office Building headquarters – which was largest greenroof in the state of Pennsylvania on an existing building - the PECO Crown Lights were updated with the installation of 2 million energy-efficient LEDs (light-emitting diodes) with color capacity, resulting in a 40% energy savings.

As the result of a centuries old combined sewer system, the city of Philadelphia is plagued with a serious water pollution problem.  The PECO Main Office Building sits on the densely developed Schuylkill River banks in the heart of Center City and the roof footprint is 95% of the lot area.

In an effort to solve the onerous CSO issue and comply with the Federal Clean Water Act, the city is incentivizing green infrastructure as a key solution, with the added advantage of providing additional environmental benefits for the adjacent cityscape.  Initiatives include Green Cities, Clean Waters Plan, Philadelphia’s 25-year plan to protect and enhance their watersheds by managing stormwater with innovative green infrastructure.

“The Philadelphia Water Department developed the Green City, Clean Waters plan to provide a clear pathway to a sustainable and resilient future while strengthening the utility, broadening its mission and complying with environmental laws and regulations.” ~ Green Cities, Clean Waters Plan

Shown below on the roof, Howard Neukrug is the Water Commissioner at the Philadelphia Water Department and the man behind the Green City, Clean Waters Plan:

The PECO green roof is under management with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) which leads regular tours of the roof by appointment and on special occasions.

“In order to safely accommodate guests, the roof area used for tours and gatherings is separated from the rest of the expanse by a self-ballasting, ADA compliant railing for pedestrian safety. The railing provides a secure barrier without requiring the attachment to the roof deck or penetration of the waterproofing membrane.” ~ Roofmeadow Case Study

The 43,000 square foot extensive portion is unirrigated and was planted with drought resistant vegetation using 12 different species of Sedums.  The remaining 2,000 square foot intensive portion is planted with perennials and ornamental grasses indigenous to Pennsylvania and uses a partial base capillary irrigation system, providing moisture without losing any water into the atmosphere.

Due to weight concerns, the growing media is a specially formulated lightweight blend specified by Charlie Miller and the pre-vegetated mats were produced with the same blend by Sempergreen.  On site in Philadelphia, a second batch of extra lightweight media was distributed before the mats were unrolled. The growing and drainage media for the extensive areas and the intensive beds and planters were provided by SkyGarden.

“We made a very definite decision to choose plants that were drought resistant or drought tolerant.” ~ Liz Williamson of PECO in 6abc.com.

The green roof has recovered from die back of some species during the hot, dry summer of 2010; the vegetative cover is now more diverse and vigorous than ever.  The Roofmeadow maintenance program is being followed and documented.

“Roofmeadow and PHS closely track the native plants to identify those that are best able to endure the harsh conditions of a windy, riverside rooftop.” ~ Roofmeadow Case Study.  Download it here.

Along with the City of Philadelphia, the PHS is co-hosting the upcoming 9th annual Green Roofs for Healthy Cities 2011 CitiesAlive Green Roof & Wall Conference on November 30 – December 3 (read more about the Conference here).

Drew Beecher, president of PHS, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter were filmed for this promotional video below on top of the PECO greenroof – click to see:

The PECO Main Office Building greenroof will be included as part of the CitiesAlive Center Cities Tour and also will be the focus of a technical session, Session 5.  If you come to Philly for the CitiesAlive Conference, you must see this wonderful roof!  Aramis and I will definitely be on this tour.

Public outreach and education are very important to PECO – if you can’t make it for CitiesAlive, do call PECO when in town to set up a tour.  The PECO Main Office Building is located at 2301 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 – visit their website here.

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!  Click here to see more information about this project in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.  See how you can submit yours here.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.

Roofmeadow Creates Philly’s First Bus Shelter Green Roof

July 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm

First of all, you probably know by now that Roofscapes has changed its name to Roofmeadow, right?  Headed up by president and founder Charlie Miller, P.E. – one of our favorite people, and one of my very earliest mentors – Roofmeadow has been one of the trailblazers in our industry starting in the 1990’s and has provided much inspiration to many of us.

They’ve started a new blog, and you’ve got to check out their post about “Philly’s First Bus Shelter Green Roof.”   We first alerted you about it from a series of articles posted in NewsLinks: Philadelphia Unrolls A ‘Green’ Roof On A SEPTA Bus Shelter, Waiting for the rain: Green-topped bus stop a first in Philly, and Green roofs: That bus stop shelter is only the beginning.

As part of its Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters plan, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) has commissioned Roofmeadow to create a deployable prefab bus shelter green roof kit.  With much fanfare, the first small but highly visible 60 sf prototype was installed at a bus shelter across the street from City Hall on June 15, 2011.

In fact, Mayor Michael Nutter, middle, launched the installation of the series and the event was very well publicized and attended.

“The bus shelter project will benefit the city by increasing Philadelphians’ familiarity with a new type of city greening.” ~ Charlie Miller, P.E.

Charlie’s son, Ari, designed the installation so it could be replicated as a “kit” for other bus stop roofs in the city.  Roofmeadow also has committed to maintaining the roof for its first two years.  Now it will receive regular watering, but after the first growing season the greenroof will not need to be watered.

In the photos below, you see Roofmeadow’s crew of Ari and Lauren on June 14 preparing to remove the existing bus shelter’s polycarbon​ate top and below it, the final green result!

“Much like a scaled down version of Roofmeadow’s 1.2 acre green roof on the PECO building, the bus shelter green roof was constructed using pre-grown mats. The mats are made up of drought tolerant succulents (primarily Sedum species) and allow for an instant cover of vegetation. You may also notice flowering Dianthus (also known as Sweet William or Wild carnation) and Portulaca poking through at two of the four corners where the growing media increases to 6.00 inches.” ~ Roofmeadow Blog

Signage will direct people to the Philadelphia Water Department’s Office of Watersheds “Green Roof Bus Shelter” website with more information about things residents can do.

“We basically see this project as an opportunity to inspire homeowners. A lot of the green roofs that are really fabulous and gorgeous are on high-rises – invisible to most. We thought it would be fun to bring it down to eye level.” ~ Project Coordinator Tiffany Ledesma Groll, Office of Watersheds (via Philly.com)

Roofmeadow has also put up a Picasa web album that shows the entire installation process as well as the unveiling last month, see them here.  Watch a cool video about the installation below:

These Roofmeadow designed kits can be put up around city bus shelters by others, too. What a nice way to celebrate your city – Happy 4th of July, Philadelphia and everyone!

~ Linda V.