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.

The Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Runs Through October 28!

October 6, 2011 at 10:05 am

Our vision of producing and sharing the virtual experience to our industry with our inaugural Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 was successful, and we couldn’t have done it without the great support of many people, in particular our main patron, Rare Earth Sponsor  TREMCO, along with Emerald Sponsor American Hydrotech.

Thanks again also to our Exhibitors  Grant Associates,  Green Living Technologies,  Green Roof Blocks,  GreenGrid Roofs,  Green Roof Plants,  ILD,  J-DRain, and  Roofmeadow – although the lifeblood of any conference is its speakers, the sponsors and exhibitors make it happen – none of this would have been possible without their financial support!

We are so proud to have put together the most amazing community of talented international speakers that you could have asked for – all leaders in their fields.  See the Speakers page and read all about them and their presentations.

Speaking of our Sponsors, Exhibitors, and Speakers, I’d like to stress that although the 2 live days have passed, the end of the Virtual Summit is on October 28 – if you missed out on September 27 & 28, you can still register until October 28!

You can’t beat the price of only $49 – or $25 for students/faculty/government professionals to access all 32 of our great panel sessions, interviews, presentations, and live Q & A commentary plus see the latest from manufacturer/supplier and organization/government exhibitors.

Visit all of our truly unique and innovative areas  within the virtual environment: the Rare Earth and On Demand Auditoriums, the Tremco Meeting Room, the Sky Terrace Networking Lounge, the Media Lounge, and the International, North American & Associates Pavilions at the Expo – did you know you can still chat with your fellow online attendees either in a public or private via video, audio, or text while logged in?

We’re putting together an awesome Highlights Video of our wonderful participants to give you a taste of what you are missing – look for it soon!  We hope to see you still in Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011!  Register  here.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.

Thank You to Our Sponsors and the Winner of the 2nd iPad2 at the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 is…

September 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Greenroofs.com’s inaugural  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 was simply awesome!


Thank you to our Rare Earth Sponsor, TREMCO, for making it a reality, especially Ralph Velasquez!  Ralph, Executive Director of Sustainability with  Tremco,  was one of our Keynote Speakers and created a wonderful video presentation about CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility.

Also, we are very grateful to the support of our Emerald Sponsor, American Hydrotech.  Richard C. Hayden, RLA, ASLA, CLARB, is the Garden Roof Department Manager at  American Hydrotech and  shared some amazing projects and experience with “Sloped and Complex Green Roofs.”

As you already know the winner of our first iPad2 given away for early bird registrants was James Neville of Neville Environmental Services from Vancouver, B.C., Canada…

Without further ado, the winner of the second Apple iPad2 is…

Kira Udo, Student at Georgia Perimeter College!

Kira lives in Roswell, Georgia, just a stone’s throw from us here in Alpharetta. She is studying French with a concentration in Business Administration.  She’s interested in greenwalls and loves the work of Patrick Blanc.  Congratulations!

All of the content of the  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 is available online through October 28, 2011. That includes the:

Tremco Meeting Room;
Tremco Booth in the International Pavilion;
American Hydrotech Booth in the North American Pavilion;
All of our other Exhibitor Booths in The Expo Pavilions including Grant Associates, Green Living Technologies, Green Roof Blocks, GreenGrid Roofs, Green Roof Plants, ILD, J-DRain, and Roofmeadow;
The Associates Booths at the Associate Pavilion;
The featured presentations and expert panel discussions with live Q & A records in the Rare Earth Auditorium;
and the rest of our stellar cast of  international  luminaries in the On Demand Auditorium.

It’s certainly not too late to register and see all of these amazing speakers and their interaction with our audience!  Registration will be open through October 28, 2011.

Here’s what one attendee had to say afterwards:

“Thank you for hosting the Virtual Summit 2011.  The event was extremely useful to me.  I’ve been working with green roofs here in Florida since 1995 and feel I learned more in two days than in most years since the time I first started growing plants way back, on a tin roof.

Most importantly though, the enthusiasm and success of others was so very important.

Here in Florida we lag behind the rest of the nation and the world.  But that is changing.  I know green roofs here will evolve just as beautifully and successfully as elsewhere.

Just seeing the inspirational work of others gave me the boost I needed.  Thank you and Aramis and the staff and speakers.  The Greenroofs.com Virtual Summit 2011 showed the world the importance of your outreach and informational organization.” ~ Kevin Songer

Thanks, Kevin!  If you  weren’t  able to join us live, we hope you will still sign up and enjoy the 32 presentations at your leisure through October 28!

See you at a physical conference somewhere in the world soon, and remember,

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.

Greenroofs.com”™s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: July 8, 2011

July 10, 2011 at 8:47 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 8, 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 8th 2011 on  GreenroofsTV.

–  Project of the Week

–  Our project of the week is Universal Studios Singapore, built in 2010.  Asia’s first movie-theme park, Universal Studios Singapore is a casino-resort off the south coast of the island nation.  It’s an integral part of Resorts World Sentosa, and celebrated its grand opening on May 28th of this year.  Among the make-believe world of movies, roller-coaster rides, theme dining and shopping, the Park also has dealt with down-to-earth issues and has sustainable green features including solar panels and green roofs, which were extensively integrated into the theme park’s concept and design, showing its firm commitment to energy conservation and responsible environmental management.  Totaling  about 35,000 square meters, the massive green roofs provide an insulating shield against Singapore’s tropical temperatures, helping to cool building interiors and their immediate surroundings, mitigating urban heat island effect as well as contributing aesthetically to the  ambiance  of the park.  Elmich Green Roof was used as the wide structural spans of the immense roofs with their VersiDrain ® 25P water retention and drainage layers, EnviroMix ® GRs and VersiCell ® structural drainage and insulation cells.

– To learn more about Universal Studios Singapore,  click on our project of the week photo on our homepage.

What’s New“

–  Advertiser Press Releases:

–  KISSS America’s Water Efficient Product Is “Smart” For Smart Irrigation Month.

–  Over at the Sky Gardens Blog, check out Linda’s latest posts: Enter the International Skyrise Greenery Awards 2011 by August 1!  GRHC Awards of Excellence Submissions was due this week on July 6th, “Roofmeadow Creates Philly’s First Bus Shelter Green Roof,” and our GPW as well as Greenroofs.com’s “TWIR” on GreenroofsTV.

–   “Upcoming Events“

– July 9th: Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is having an Introduction to Rooftop Urban Agriculture Course in New York, New York and another one on July 11th in Toronto, Canada.

– July 9th-12th: is the 2011 Association of Horticulture Professionals (OFA) Short Course in Columbus, Ohio.

– July 14th-15th: Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is having a Green Roof Boot Camp in Kansas City, Missouri (101 and 201 courses only).

–  And don’t forget our Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 – Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture: People, Projects & Design conference and expo is coming up next month, August 23rd & 24th online around the world!  Registration information coming soon!

–   “In the News“

–  Katherine Scott of 6abc.com invites you to “Take a tour of PECO’s green roof.” The 45,000 square foot green roof on the eighth floor of the PECO Building is the largest ever installed on an existing building in Philadelphia. Liz Williamson of PECO says they “made a very definite decision to choose plants that were drought resistant or drought tolerant.” Such plants include 12 different species of sedums, which have a root system that help retain moisture and are low-growing and low-maintenance, ornamental grasses and perennials, all of which are growing locally in Pennsylvania. You can go directly to 6abc.com to watch their news story about the greenroof.

– Amy Zimmer of DNAinfo talks about “Upper East Side Co-op Builds Rooftop Garden For Children.” Plymouth Tower co-op resident Sheila Tendy in Manhattan had a vision about letting children of the building learn about food by getting their hands dirty, planting and taking care of fresh herbs, hot peppers, eggplants, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, and strawberries themselves. She says, “It’s just a matter of realizing you can grow things in small quantities and grow food for yourself. It’s not that difficult. A ‘farm’ could be a 6-inch pot on your windowsill.” Tara Reddi, another parent in the building, who runs several Plymouth Tower kids events, long dreamed of doing a garden for the co-ops’s kids; and says “The best thing has been planting with the kids and having them discover how wonderful it is to put their hands in the earth and plant something and watch it grow.”

–   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 8th, 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.