A Green Roof Day in New York

April 25, 2012 at 5:57 pm

By Ed Snodgrass

Much like Tarzan, King Kong and Crocodile Dundee I look out of place in New York.  I am a country boy by both birth and disposition.  So when I got a call from The Martha Stewart Show to be a guest on their Earth Day show I knew if I accepted I would have to be in Manhattan for a day or two and I would just have to make the most of it and find a way through my discomfort of urban spaces.

I got into New York Sunday afternoon and met Andrea Mason who produces the gardening segments of the Martha Stewart Show.  We worked through the afternoon preparing for the next day’s show.  We talked through the green roof mock-up and planted some areas of the roof and left other to plants on the show.  Geoff Rosen, the producer of the show stopped by to talk about the segment and frame some questions and other logistics. Before we knew it four hours had gone by.  It’s amazing how much work eight minutes of television takes.

I called my friend Patrick Cullina in Brooklyn to see if he had time to hang out.  Patrick was recently Vice President of Horticulture and Park Operations at the High Line and was formerly Vice President of Horticulture and Science at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Patrick is a great plantsman but also a serious basketball fan as am I.  We talked urban horticulture and hoops over hip food (menus with more adjectives than nouns) in Greenwich Village.

I woke early Monday morning and walked down to the High Line.  I hadn’t seen it since the second phase had been completed and before 8 AM it was already bustling both with people and with plants.  The redbuds were in bloom with foamflower fizzing under them.  It was like spring time in the Smokies but with a cityscape as a backdrop.

Angie Durhman from Tecta America was in New York by chance – we had talked a couple days earlier and she offered to take me to see the USPS Morgan Processing and Distribution Center roof, some 67,000 sq.ft. of extensive roof.  I jumped at the chance, but I had to be at the Martha Stewart studio by noon so it was a quick visit.

It was well worth it.  In contrast to the High Line, the USPS roof is a simple, easy landscape.  I enjoy the complexity of the High Line but I also enjoy the elegance of a properly maintained extensive green roof.  I saw Columbia University’s weather station up there and thought, these are the kind of roofs we need to measure.

Off to the studio and to very foreign scenes to me like a green room, hair and make-up, a very busy crew of people moving in all directions and finally the stage manager comes to get me and place me on my spot for the segment and then eight minutes of green roof talk with Martha Stewart and then off stage and done.

The people on the show could not have been nicer or more professional and it’s clear there is a real environmental concern at the show from top to bottom.

See the 5:25 The Martha Stewart Show Earth Day Show video clip here.

Happily, I was in car and through the Holland Tunnel before rush hour.  As I merged onto the New Jersey Turnpike, I thought I was happy to have taken the chance to go to New York but happier still to head back to the farm.

~ Ed Snodgrass
ed.snodgrass@greenroofplants.com

Publisher’s Note:  Read past “ask ed” archives here.

Greenroofs.com’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: August 19, 2011

August 26, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on Greenroofs.com through our “This Week in Review” video.  Here’s the transcript from August 19, 2011 from our daughter, Anjuli – click on the photo below to see the video, or here.  Enjoy!

– Hello, I’m Anjuli Velazquez and welcome to This Week in Review for this week, August 19th, 2011 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–  Our project of the week is the NBC Experience Store living wall built in 2010 in New York, NY. The beautiful and lush indoor living wall at Rockefeller Center was developed to be a part of NBC’s “Green is Universal” week 2010. A secondary green initiative included a temporary window display to help educate the public on green farming with vertical living walls and show the portability of the Green Living Technologies International Mobile Edible Wall Unit, used as a teaching tool in classrooms and as part of the GLTi Food Factory. The GLTi certified installers responsible for the project were the youngest certified installers in the world, part of the Discovery High School team of interns on the degree track program getting paid to implement the skills they had learned in class. The living wall units are part of the GLTi curriculum used in the NYC Schools and will be part of the new Hunts Point High School for Sustainable Community Initiatives in the Bronx, making the program the first of its kind providing a degree track with green technologies as the focal point. The unit is bell to bell instruction and can be used to grow everything from food to long-lived perennials.

–  To learn more about the NBC Experience Store living wall, click on our project of the week photo on our homepage.

What’s New“

–  Industry News

–   On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Bloomberg signed into law a bill to exempt rooftop greenhouses from being counted toward a buildings’ height and floor area measurements.   The greenhouses will join structures like roof tanks, air-conditioning equipment and chimneys as apparatus that are not factored into buildings’ official totals, easing limitations on the construction of such structures.   As for greenroofs, new legislation will allow 4 inch depth systems to be submitted to the Department of Buildings without the need for construction plans or permits.

–   The U.S. Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) under the Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) department has recently updated the “New and Underutilized Technology: Green Roof” webpage to include information which outlines key development considerations for greenroofs within the federal sector.

–   Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts: “Boston GreenFest 2011 is Open!“ where you’ll find lots of fun and learning activities for the whole family, plus learn about greenroofs and walls with The Green Wall Editor, George Irwin of Green Living Technologies International, who will complete an 800 sf greenroof on site, “Greenroofs.com’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: August 12th, 2011“ and our GPW.

– “Upcoming Events“

–   Now through August 20th is Boston GreenFest 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts.

–   August 21st-25th: is StormCon – The North American Surface Water Quality Conference in Anaheim, California.

–   August 24th-26th: is the 6th Annual Georgia Environmental Conference in Savannah, Georgia.

–   August 25th-27th: is the Farwest Show in Portland, Oregon.

–   And August 26th: is a Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) – Advanced Green Roof Maintenance course in Toronto, Canada.

–  Check out our homepage for more Upcoming Events!

– “In the News“

–   Caitlin Moran of Patch.com says “”˜Rainwater Tour’ Gives Residents Ideas for Better Stormwater Management.” Earlier this week, about 15 residents of Redmond, Washington gathered at Grass Lawn Park for a “Rain Water Community Tour.” Hosted by the City of Redmond, Sustainable Redmond and People for Puget Sound, the walking tour highlighted some of the park’s modern stormwater management features, including a green roof, rain garden and permeable ground surfaces. The environmental features help filter out stormwater pollution before water hits local streams, rivers and the Puget Sound. Maddie Foutch, an intern at People for Puget Sound who helped coordinate the rainwater tour, says that stormwater is the cause of one-third of the pollution in Puget Sound. And Peter Holte, the City of Redmond’s stewardship coordinator said “rain gardens, green roofs and the added use of pervious surfaces also helps slow stormwater flow into the streams, which in turn mitigates stream bank erosion and flooding.”

–   Patricia Culligan of LiveScience.com asks “How Does Your Rooftop Grow?” She says “green roofs, such as those on the Columbia University campus, are rapidly gaining popular attention in the United States, recently becoming a high-profile component of sustainable building construction.” To better understand the benefits of urban green roofs and how they work, a team of Columbia University researchers including Patricia Culligan, Stuart Gaffin and Wade McGillis, are coordinating extensive green roofs throughout New York City, in a partnership with the university’s Office of Environmental Stewardship and the Earth Institute’s Urban Design Lab. The researchers are measuring roof runoff, plant evapo-transpiration, carbon dioxide flux, temperature of the growing medium, moisture gradients, local particle counts, and roof albedo for roofs across the city and the results will provide great information for people of the greenroof industry.

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

– Have something you think we should know about and post on our website? You can send us your green articles, videos and images to editor@greenroofs.com.

– Stay up-to-date with what’s going on at Greenroofs.com by subscribing to our greenroofsTV channel on YouTube, following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook and being a member of our network on LinkedIn.

– This has been This Week in Review for August 19th,  2011 on GreenroofsTV.  I’m Anjuli Velazquez 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.

Greenroofs.com”™s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: July 1, 2011

July 2, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on  Greenroofs.com through our “This Week in Review” video.  Here’s the transcript from July 1, 2011 from our daughter, Anjuli –  click on the photo below to see the video, or here.   Enjoy!

–   Hello, I’m Anjuli Velazquez and welcome to This Week in Review for this week, July 1st 2011 on  GreenroofsTV.

–  Have you heard the news yet?  It’s our pleasure to announce the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 – Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture: People, Projects & Design! An event like no other, this is the first virtual conference & expo experience specifically designed for the Greenroof & Greenwall Industry!  Held online on August 23 & 24, 2011, our mission is  to inform, share, and create a global social media experience for imagining, learning & networking via the power of the Internet.  While it’s not meant to ever displace the physical experience, it’s a greater opportunity to reach more people.  And, it’s extremely affordable – we’re partnering with associations and offering 50% off the $99 Registration Fee, making it just $49 with the special promo code, and only $25 for government and students.  Stay tuned for more information about our most exciting news yet coming soon!

–  Project of the Week

–   Our project of the week is the Breaking Ground Contracting Green Roof & Rooftop Garden built in 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida.  Breaking Ground’s living roof supports wildlife biodiversity, economic development, offers educational opportunities to a broad range of people and provides a healthy, organic food alternative in the Urban Core.  It is also the first green roof in Florida to incorporate native plants, rooftop permaculture and Florida-friendly landscaping.  The living roof is comprised of three main component ecosystems, including native wildflowers, shrubs, small trees and an intense permaculture food and herb garden.  In addition to the green roof, this project also incorporates a 10-kilowatt photovoltaic solar system, a solar thermal system, living walls, a rain garden, low and no VOC interior paints and finishes, extensive reuse of materials from the demolition of the original building, high efficiency HVAC system with individual occupant controls, outside views for all occupants, and lots more.

To learn more about the Breaking Ground Contracting Green Roof and Rooftop Garden  greenroof, click on our project of the week photo on our homepage.

What’s New“

– Our June 2011 eNewsletter is out, so check it out and read all about our Sky Gardens Blog posts, contributing editor articles, APRs, joblinks and much more!
– Read our latest Guest Feature article by Artie Rollins and John Robilotti: “Various Types of Green Roof Systems Come Together at NYC’s 5-Boro Complex.”  Artie and John go into great depth about their awesome vegetated research rooftop on Randall’s Island, New York.

–  Advertiser Press Releases:

–  Home owner installs Green Roof Paks, designed by Green Roof Blocks, on residential garage roof.

–  Over at Sky Gardens, catch up on all of Linda’s latest posts: “Ed Snodgrass & John Shepley Voted Two of America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs 2011″ – did you know they were both contributing editors of ours? – Greenroofs.com’s “TWIR” on GreenroofsTV, and as always, our GPW.

–   “Upcoming Events“

– July 5th: Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is hosting a Webinar on Shade Tolerant Green Roof Plants, with Kelven Goodridge, GRP. The Green Infrastructure Webinar Series is free to attend, so reserve your seat now and invite a colleague.

–   “In the News“

–   Benjamin Gottlieb, of CNN International, reports on “Crops out of concrete: Farming Hong Kong’s urban island.” Six months ago, local entrepreneur Osbert Lam started the Eco-Mama rooftop farm; and says “there are a lot of empty, leftover rooftops that could easily be transformed into fields.” Gottlieb says the Eco-Mama farm is one of an estimated 300 urban farming projects in Hong Kong and urban farmers find the activity personally rewarding. But Hong Kong lacks strong support from the government and agriculture only provides less than one tenth of 1% of Hong Kong’s GDP. But even with the challenges facing urban farming there, people like Lam remain optimistic and believe a community of rooftop farmers can prosper in Hong Kong.

– Belinda Lanks, of Co.Design, talks about “JDS Architects Builds A Rolling Rooftop Playground And Park.” Lanks says, “The Copenhagen firm takes the green roof a step further, creating a delightful outdoor playground for both kids and adults.” Copenhagen’s multiethnic district of Nørrebro is densely populated and JDS Architects’ idea was to create a “missing garden” above some of their own designed penthouse apartments for the residents and neighbors to enjoy. The nearly 10,000-square-foot roof includes a grassy hill with curved steps, a wooden deck, a shock-absorbent playground and a suspension bridge, all safely fenced in.

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

–   Have something you think we should know about and post on our website?   You can send us your green articles, videos and images to  editor@greenroofs.com.

–   Stay up-to-date with what’s going on at  Greenroofs.com by subscribing to our  greenroofsTV channel on YouTube, following us on  Twitter, liking us on  Facebook and being a member of our network on  LinkedIn.

–  This has been This Week in Review for July 1st, 2011 on GreenroofsTV. From everyone here at Greenroofs.com, we wish everyone in the U.S. a very happy, fun and safe 4th of July holiday this weekend! I’m Anjuli Velazquez 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.

Greenroofs.com”™s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: June 10, 17 & 24, 2011

June 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on  Greenroofs.com through our “This Week in Review” video.  After a summer vacation, here’s the transcript from June 24 which also covers the weeks of June 17 & 10, 2011 from our daughter, Anjuli –  click on the photo below to see the video, or here.   Enjoy!

–   Hello, I’m Anjuli Velazquez and welcome to This Week in Review for this week, June 24th 2011, as well as for the past two weeks since I was gone for a little summer break, on  GreenroofsTV.

–  Projects of the Week

–   Our project of the week is the Hotel Ushuaïa Low-Tech Vertical Garden built in 2011 in Ibiza, Spain.  Situated in the Hotel Ushuaïa de Ibiza, the four panel eco.bin greenwall acts as a sound barrier between the open air disco, which is located in between the hotel’s central courtyard and the surrounding guest rooms.  The garden wall consists of rows of ceramic terra cotta containers whose circular openings are individually filled with growing medium and planted. Each interconnected planted ceramic has its own substrate and vegetation, and works together to create this sound-absorbent garden space.  This is the first such type of greenwall garden system in the world.  Also, the designers have selected a variety of native plants which can adapt and thrive in these Mediterranean conditions; and as you can see, they provide a multitude of colors during the year.

–   Our project of the week last week was the NYC Parks Five Borough Administrative Building built in 2007 in Randall’s Island, New York, New York. In response to Mayor Bloomberg’s visionary 2007 PlaNYC initiative, the Five Borough Technical Services division began a program of installing green roofs of various designs, realizing that they could contribute significantly to the city’s sustainability effort.  To date, the division, together with Parks’ Green Apple Corps and others, has installed 24 systems covering over 29,000 square feet of roof on the west wing of the building including Green Paks, GreenGrid, BioTrays, Bioroof, Xero Flor, and many custom designs. Five Borough’s is the only known green roof in the U.S. to feature such a vast array of distinct systems side-by-side, which vary by types of growing medium, depth of growing medium, and plant selection.  And there are also other non-traditional green roof systems here including a green wall, container systems, a “walkable” atrium system, as well as planters on top of parapet walls.  By the way, look for a very in-depth look at this roof as our Guest Feature Article coming very soon!

–   Our project of the week for June 10th was the Ruthven Garage built in 2010 in Tacoma, Washington.  In 2010, Jenny Ruthven was a horticulture student at Oregon State University, and after graduating found employment within the green roofing industry and wanted to design and install her own greenroof, and her parents’ garage was the perfect spot.  With the help of family and friends, they had to first add some additional structural support to the garage and replace the 29+ year old shingles. Then, they used a custom made blend of soil which ended up consisting of about 52% inorganic and 48% organic.  Inorganic was all pumice, with a bit of perlite thrown in. Half of the organic component was cedar grove compost, and the rest was coconut fiber, peat moss, mushroom compost, chicken compost, and steer compost. They planted 432 plants, with about 60 different species and varieties total.  Looking back now, Mom Sandra says that she  figured that she’d really like her greenroof, but had never   anticipated how much.

–   To learn more about the Ruthven Garage greenroof, type in project ID #1150 in our Projects Database, the NYC Parks Five Borough Administrative Building greenroof, project ID #787 and as always for our current project of the week, this week being the Hotel Ushüaia Low-Tech Vertical Garden, click on our project of the week photo on our homepage.  And, you can also always go to our Sky Gardens Blog and read Linda’s expanded post about our project of the week every week!

What’s New“

–  Advertiser Press Releases:

–  LiveRoof ® Adds an Architectural Specialist, Michael R. Selleck, in Chicago to Support Sales of the LiveRoof ® Hybrid Green Roof System.

–  Tremco Headquarters Completes Comprehensive Green Renovation, Becomes a Showcase of Sustainable Construction Technology.

Registration is now open in Ottawa, Canada – for a Green Living Technologies International (GLTi) Green Wall Seminar.

–  Skyland USA is pleased to announce the launch of a new rooflite ® certified growing media website.

–  Joblinks:

The University of Sheffield is looking for a Hydrologist or Urban Drainage Marie Curie More Experienced Researcher in Sheffield, United Kingdom.

–  You can go to  greenroofs.com/joblinks.htm more information on this job and other Green Roof Job postings.

–   Make sure to check out our latest Guest Feature Articles and Blog Posts:

–   Christine Thuring gives us her latest report on the 1st International Green Roof Students Conference in Sheffield, UK.

–   And Steven Peck fills us in on a Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ 2011 CitiesAlive Conference update.

–   Over at the Sky Gardens Blog, catch up on all of Linda’s other posts about Chris Wark’s 2011 7-part Green Roof Energy Series is now available on PDF, and the Greenroofs.com’s “TWIR” on GreenroofsTV for June 3rd, 2011.

–  Industry News

–   Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway announced the 15 winners of Department of Environmental Protection’s 2011 Green Infrastructure Grant Program. Selected from a total of 52 applications, the 15 winners will share approximately $3.8 million of funds to build green infrastructure projects that will reduce combined sewer overflows and improve water quality in the New York Harbor.

–  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities announces co-host agreements with the City of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for its 9th Annual CitiesAlive Green Roof and Wall Conference November 30th – December 3rd, 2011.

–  The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) has selected 13 educational and cultural facilities for this year’s CAE Educational Facility Design Awards.

–   “Upcoming Events“

–   June 21st-25th: is the 2011 APGA Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

–   June 27th-29th: is the 48th International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) World Congress in Zurich, Switzerland.

–   And on June 29th-30th: is Greenbuild EXPO Exhibition & Conference of Sustainable Building in Manchester, United Kingdom.

–  For more Upcoming Events visit our homepage.

–   “In the News“

–   Julia Johnson of the Ottawa Citizen reports on “Old film treasure preserved in federal news archives building.”  Earlier this week, Library and Archives Canada unveiled its new $14.7-million preservation facility for nitrate film on the government’s Shirleys Bay campus.  The new building now houses 5,575 reels of nitrate film dating back to 1912.  Archivist and librarian of Canada, Daniel Caron says that the new facility was also designed to be environmentally friendly, including efficient mechanical systems, insulated walls and a greenroof.  And Mario Gasperetti, the archives’ manager of strategic accommodation adds that the greenroof helps with keeping the vault cool by reducing heat exchange and instead of using manicured grass on the roof, it is designed to look exactly like the meadow landscape surrounding the building.

–   Julie Young of the Richmond Times-Dispatch talks about “Burnt-out home goes from ashes to awesome.”  She says a few years ago, the 1920s row house on Grove Avenue was an “architectural corpse.  Its skeletal remains consisted of a disfigured facade, broken bones and devastating internal damage.”  Then along came Dr. Susan Miller and her husband Dr. Kenneth Kendler to the rescue.  In 2008, they signed on to breathe life back into this burnt down home.  Over the next two years, “The Phoenix” was reborn and filled with green eco-friendly sustainable features like their own greenroof, the 25 foot tall green wall located in the home between the dining room and great room, thirty photovoltaic  roof panels, solar panels, concrete countertops flecked with reclaimed glass and rocks their now-adult children collected as kids, and much more.  The living wall ecosystem was designed by Scotty Guinn Dilworth of SG Designs and installed by Capitol Greenroofs who also installed the roof-top garden.

–   Ted Kortan of NewsNet5.com announces “Tremco Incorporated headquarters dedicated in Beachwood.”  Tremco Incorporated, a building products and solutions company, and subsidiary of RPM International, dedicated its renovated 40-year-old corporate headquarters last week.  Tremco said the project has resulted in a “high performance” building that is substantially more efficient, cost effective, and sustainable than the previous headquarters, with features like their vegetated roof with almost 1,600 plants and the area’s first solar powered electric car charging station.  Joining with company officials at Tremco’s Green Road campus for the dedication were Ohio Governor John Kasich, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, U.S. Congresswoman Betty Sutton and Beachwood Mayor Merle Gorden.

–   Sandy Bauers of Philly.com says “A tiny step forward for green roofs in Philadelphia” includes “a cheerful puff of plant life atop a bus-stop shelter.”  Tiffany Ledesma Groll, the project’s coordinator said, “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” – which most people never see.  She goes on to say, “We thought it would be fun to bring it down to eye level.”  Last week, workers from Roofmeadow, a Philadelphia green roofs company that did the installation pro bono, were busy topping the shelter with its “mini-oasis.”  They planted a fuzz of pink dianthus, multicolored portulaca, and sedum and Roofmeadow also has committed to maintaining the roof for its first two years.  Charlie Miller, president and founder of Roofmeadow, said the roof “will give people a sense of familiarity…how it contributes to the quality of life.”  His son, Ari, designed the installation so it could be replicated as a “kit” for other bus-stop roofs in the city.

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

–   Have something you think we should know about and post on our website?   You can send us your green articles, videos and images to  editor@greenroofs.com.

–   Stay up-to-date with what’s going on at  Greenroofs.com by subscribing to our  greenroofsTV channel on YouTube, following us on  Twitter, liking us on  Facebook and being a member of our network on  LinkedIn.

–   This has been This Week in Review for June 24th, 2011 as well as June 10th and 17th on GreenroofsTV.    I’m Anjuli Velazquez 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.