’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 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.


–  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,” “’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 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 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*

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

~ Linda V.

Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 23: Naturalism: Large-Scale Applications of Living Architecture

May 16, 2012 at 7:41 am

Today we have the pleasure to air Paul Kephart’s video presentation “Naturalism: Large-Scale Applications of Living Architecture” from our inaugural  2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit on and our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube.

Everyone knows Paul as the trend setting ecological designer, native plant guru, and fearless leader of Rana Creek in  Monterey, CA, and he has been a great colleague and supporter of both living roofs and over the years.  His many years of cutting edge design in the living architecture field has made him world famous and very much in vogue for projects around North America and beyond.  He’s been involved in some major iconic projects and we were very excited to have him as one of our esteemed Virtual Summit speakers!

Paul Kephart is the President of Rana Creek and is a renowned expert in ecological consulting and vegetated systems design.  The firm specializes in environmental planning, landscape architecture, habitat restoration, and native plant propagation.  Paul’s approach is to carefully consider each project’s site and to design for a whole ecosystem and the increased health of the land over time along with the desires of his clients.  Paul is best known for his pioneering efforts in Living Architecture on groundbreaking projects such as the California Academy of Sciences, Gap Headquarters, and the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Paul says that design can mimic natural processes integrating them into site and structure.  The resulting spaces efficiently utilize ecosystem services enhancing habitat, infrastructure, and user experience within a context of integrated biological systems.  Vegetated systems foster and promote biological treatment of water and air.

Treatment occurs through biological, physical and mechanical processes, all of which can be integrated into buildings systems.  Paul Kephart will discuss large-scale applications of living architecture including the Transbay Transit Center, CPMC Cathedral Hill Hospital, and the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Enjoy!  Visit to see “Naturalism: Large-Scale Applications of Living Architecture” or click below:

Watch earlier videos on our exclusive Virtual Summit play list, or see the following Virtual Summit videos now available on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:

If you’re looking for an overview, make sure to see our 2011 Virtual Summit Highlights video (6:18) and our 2011 Virtual Summit Trailer (2:59).

Check back next week on GreenroofsTV for our 24th installment from the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011!

~ Linda V.

GPW: Casa Feliz Studios

October 1, 2011 at 6:40 pm Project of the Week: 9/26/11
Casa Feliz Studios
San Jose, CA, USA
5,375 sf. Greenroof

Year: 2009
Owner: First Community Housing
Location: San Jose, CA, USA
Building Type: Multi-Family Residential
Type: Extensive
System: Custom
Size: 5,375 sq.ft.
Slope: 1%
Access: Inaccessible, Private

Project Description & Details

Casa Feliz is a multi-award winning affordable housing project that is LEED NC Gold certified. The brainchild of First Community Housing, a San Jose affordable housing developer known for its innovative green-building practices, it’s located on a tight 0.34-acre infill site near downtown San Jose. Casa Feliz Studios provides 60 units of high-quality affordable housing for extremely low-income tenants – 35% of the studios are set aside for tenants living with developmental disabilities.

There are five distinct living roof areas at Casa Feliz. The large two top floor living roofs, one of which is planted beneath a 16-kilowatt photovoltaic array, are planted with a mixture of annual and perennial grasses and wildflower species that do not require irrigation. The native plantings are designed to attract insects, birds and butterflies, including the Bay Checkerspot, an endangered butterfly native to the area. Tremco’s biodegradable modular greenroof system, BioTray™, provides immediate erosion control and thermal resistance. The integrated system of living roofs and at-grade bioswales retain up to 80% of stormwater on site.


Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect: Rob Quigley Architects, FAIA
Contractor: Branagh, Inc.
Civil Engineer:
Carroll Engineering
Living Roof Consultant:
Rana Creek
Landscape Architect:
Cottong & Taniguchi
Energy Consultant and Commissioning Agent:
Guttmann & Blaevoet
Structural Engineer:
Living Roof Monitoring:
Tremco Inc.
LEED Consultant:
Simon & Associates
Modular Greenroof System:
BioTray™ by Tremco Inc.

Additional Info

Completed in spring 2009, First Community Housing and Rob Quigly Architects designed Casa Feliz Studios to replace an aging residential hotel near downtown San Jose; the project serves extremely low income tenants (20 to 35% AMI) with 21 units for residents with developmental disabilities. On-site tenant support services are provided and facilitate communication between residents and property management and all residents receive a free annual Eco Pass for free bus and light rail travel within the County.

“Partnering with the city and the local community, First Community Housing sought to meet a dire need in the city by constructing maximum density SRO units in a central location, with amenities designed to help residents connect to the community.” ~ Home Depot Foundation 2008 Awards of Excellence Affordable Housing Built Responsibly Case Study

At less than a half acre, the infill site required a creative and efficient design. Four stories of housing are located over a single level of below-grade parking for 22 cars; the 59 units average 255 square feet.

Because the residents of the community, living in a combination of deteriorating apartment buildings and Victorian-style houses, were worried about the potential appearance of the building, a series of community meetings were scheduled.

In order to ease concerns, in all seven different design charrettes were held for ideas and input and included the architect, landscape professional, sustainability experts, engineers, the rest of the project team, along with the local residents.

During preliminary design of this 4-story, 25,000 square foot building, First Community Housing was confronted with a requirement to replace and upgrade the existing public storm sewer to a 100-year flood capacity at a cost of approximately $300,000.

Analysis of Casa Feliz indicated the greenroof would actually cost less long-term than installing off-site stormwater-management improvements that would have been required otherwise by the City.

Seeking a more sustainable and less costly solution, the project team worked with Rana Creek Living Architecture to design an integrated system of living roofs and at-grade bioswales capable of retaining up to 80% of stormwater on site, such that only a new 10-year event pipe would be required for the storm sewer.

The two large top greenroofs have a custom designed built in place greenroof system, with one half containing the 16-kilowatt photovoltaic array.

The Tremco biodegradable modular greenroof system, BioTray™, was developed by Paul Kephart of Rana Creek and Kurt Horvath of Intrinsic Landscaping. The plants were propagated and transported to the site in coconut coir baskets. Once installed on the building’s lower-level roofs, these biotrays provided immediate erosion control and thermal resistance.

“The owner’s commitment to producing a sustainable building was recognized with a Gold LEED rating. In addition to natural lighting, another priority was the provision of natural ventilation and toxic-free building materials. Green building strategies include sustainable, recycled or regional materials, FSC certified furniture and site benches, water conservation, use of native and organic plants, low flow plumbing fixtures, energy efficient appliances, low-VOC emitting materials, and over 90% construction waste recycling.

The building’s crowning glory is San Jose’s first living roof.” ~ See the entire project profile at Rob Quigley Architects

The architects say that funding sources included the City of San Jose Housing Department, federal tax credits and State of California Multifamily Program funds.

The Home Depot Foundation Case Study says:

“First Community Housing has achieved significant cost efficiencies by maintaining continuity in the design, construction, and overall development process. By integrating green design features from the start and relying on a tested process, very little money was spent on redesigns or contingencies. Long-term relationships with suppliers enabled the project to get discounts and favorable rates.

The more prominent (more expensive) green features were the photovoltaic system and the vegetated roof system. The PV system hard costs were covered by a Workforce Grant from the city of San Jose.

Any additional cost for the vegetated roof was offset by savings achieved in the storm drain system design. Without the vegetated roof, the storm drain system would have needed to be replaced, at a cost of roughly $300,000.

A key strategy for all First Community Housing projects is to conduct lifecycle financing. Up-front investments in energy-efficiency, water-efficiency, and durability are easily justified because they keep long-term management costs down – a critical element for a building projected to serve 55 years.”

Learn more at Casa Feliz Apartments where you can see applicant criteria, download an application, or see the photo gallery.

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.

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‘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:

Brought to you by, 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.