Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 24: Greenroofs: Wind & Fire Panel

May 23, 2012 at 9:22 am

Today we have the pleasure to air the  “Greenroofs: Wind & Fire”  Panel Presentation with  Kelly Luckett, Mike Ennis, and Jim Kirby  from our inaugural  2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit on and our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube.

As most of you know, Kelly Luckett has been a long standing editorial contributor to as The Green Roof Guy (2008-2012) and prior to that as The Roving Exhibitor (2005-2008).  And after all these years, Aramis and I count Kelly and his lovely wife, Trish, as extremely good friends, too – you just can’t ask for better people!

We have known affable Jim for several years now after many greenroof conferences, and have always enjoyed his candor and wit.  Although well known by many, we had not yet met Mike, but were very happy to have him on board as an expert in this discussion.  This panel presentation came out of the three years of work that numerous people from many professional organizations put into developing the much needed and long awaited RP-14 Wind Design Guideline.

So we thought it would be a very good topic for all of us!    All three men invested many, many hours to the topic of the  ANSI/SPRI VF-1 and RP-14 standards, and we as an industry are grateful to all for their hard work.

In fact, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities honored Kelly’s dedication and volunteerism with their  Civic Award of Excellence in 2010 (I wrote about it and much more at my post “Final Reflections of Fall 2010 Greenroof Conferences: Vancouver, B.C., Part 3“). Make sure to read Kelly’s own reflections at his December 9, 2010 “Green Roofs, a Civic Award of Excellence, and a Lifetime of Memories.”

And as a backgrounder for this highly technical subject matter and for your reference, make sure you read Kelly’s March 9, 2010 “RP-14 Wind Design Guideline”  article for complete details.

Kelly Luckett is a GRP and LEED AP.  Nearly a decade in the green roof industry followed Kelly’s thirty years in the roofing industry.  His work includes: developing the Green Roof Blocks product line with products in service on over 125 green roof projects; providing the initial funding to establish the G.R.E.E.N. Green Roof Research Program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; co-authoring minimum design standards for green roofs within the International Building Code; authoring Green Roof Construction and Maintenance, 2009; serving on committees to develop and beta test the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Green Roof Professional accreditation testing program; and working as an instructor with the NRCA University educating designers and contractors about green roof design and construction.

Recently, Kelly designed, patented, and introduced the Green Wall Blocks vegetated retaining wall system.  Kelly is also a contributing editor on (2005); he is the Green Roof Guy who shares his travels attending ASTM, GRHC and other roofing and greenroof related organization meetings.  In 2010, Kelly received the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Civic Award of Excellence.

Kelly was the Moderator for “Greenroofs: Wind & Fire.”

Mike Ennis has been Technical Director for SPRI, the Association representing Single-Ply Roofing Manufacturers and Component Suppliers, for the last five years.  Prior to this he worked for The Dow Chemical Company for thirty years and was the North American Application Technology Leader for commercial products in Dow’s Building Solutions business where he led the development of new products ands applications.  Mike has 35 years of building and construction experience to his credit.

Mike is a Registered Roof Consultant with RCI, Inc. and is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues and the Cool Roof Rating Council.  He is a member of ASHRAE and ASTM Committees D8 Roofing and Waterproofing, E5 Fire Standards, and E60 Sustainability.

James R. Kirby, AIA, is the associate executive director of technical communications for NRCA.  He holds a Master’s of Architecture from University of Illinois and is a licensed architect in Illinois.  Having joined the NRCA in 1996, Kirby is responsible for NRCA’s sustainability activities and communicating technical information through presentation and articles.

Jim is a professional member of ASTM, AIA, GRHC, ICC and USGBC.  He is an accredited Green Roofing Professional (GRP) and is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Design and Construction from Boston Architectural College.  Jim provided NRCA commentary on RP-14.

In the trio’s panel presentation, they proclaim “No longer can the green roof be deleted from a project due to failure to comply with the fire code.  After three years in the making from members of Single Ply Roofing Industry in cooperation with Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), we now have a green roof design guide for minimizing the risk of fire on green roofs.

“The securing of a place in mainstream construction through the International Code Council (ICC) has resulted in a milestone for the North American green roof movement. Fire concerns are only half of the code story as the wind design guide is still progressing through the ANSI process – we must overcome both the wind and the fire obstacle. Kelly Luckett, President of Green Roof Blocks, moderates and shares his experiences representing GRHC with the consensus based ANSI/SPRI VF-1 and RP-14 standards. Jim Kirby, NRCA’s AED, Technical Communications, provides NRCA commentary about building codes, vegetative roofs and RP-14. Mike Ennis, Technical Director for SPRI, speaks to SPRI’s leadership leadership in the development of fire and wind standards and experience in the building code arena.”

A concurrent live Q & A accompanied the panel session during the actual  2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit presentation with Kelly Luckett, Mike Ennis, and Jim Kirby.  The commentary is no longer available for you to see – one reason to attend the second  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit – so you can participate and let your voice be heard!

Note: Due to technical and other difficulties from the second party vendor who filmed our illustrious panel of three, this video does not have our standard  2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit branding, including the shots from Google Earth.  We are, however, planning on adding it to the four affected presentations so that they may be effectively identified for posterity.

Enjoy!  Visit to see   Greenroofs: Wind & Fire”  Panel Presentation  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 25th installment from the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011!

~ Linda V.’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: April 13, 2012

April 16, 2012 at 1:37 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 April 13, 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 April 13th, 2012 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–  Our project of the week is the  Green Wall Ferrara, built in 2009 in Ferrara, Italy. This project entailed converting a garden space in the courtyard of a private estate and there was little room for a traditional garden, which led the designers to plant on the walls.  The Optigreen Living Wall Garden system was installed and a beautiful vertical garden was created, resulting in a very soothing effect.

The core unit of the Optigreen Wall Garden system solution is a high-grade, substrate-filled aluminum cassette system which can be planted on site.  The horizontal suspension rails support the Wall Garden elements which are hooked into the rails. The irrigation system is fully automatic with a blending unit for fertilizer and herbicides. Three thousand plants with about 50 different species were planted into this 5 meter high, 120 meter squared private green wall.

–  To learn more about the Green Wall Ferrara,  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 18: “Combining Green Roofs with Photovoltaics“ by Roland Appl.

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

Advertiser Press Releases:

Sika Sarnafil Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Sarnafil Brand Roofing Membrane.

Another Green Roof Boosts Stormwater Management at Loyola University Chicago by LiveRoof.

Industry News

– Communities looking for the most cost-effective options for managing polluted runoff and protecting clean water should choose green infrastructure solutions, according to a report released this week by American Rivers, the Water Environment Federation, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and ECONorthwest.  The report, Banking on Green: How Green Infrastructure Save Municipalities Money and Provides Economic Benefits Community-wide, demonstrates that green infrastructure practices can offer more cost-effective solutions relative to traditional infrastructure approaches.

–  Sky Gardens Blog

– Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts: “Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 18: Combining Green Roofs with Photovoltaics,” and “’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: April 6, 2012.”

– “Upcoming Events“

–  Don’t forget going on now through April 22nd is our “Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!” Earth Day Photo Contest! So make sure to like our Facebook page, if you haven’t already, upload your greenroof photo and then get your friends and family to vote for it daily!

– April 14th-17th: is the American Planning Association (APA) National Planning Conference, in Los Angeles, CA.

– And April 17th: is the Green Roof Science Symposium, at Columbia University, in New York, NY.

– “In the News“

–  Matthew Camp of The Alestle, talks about “Unseen green grows on SIUE rooftops.”  He says several buildings at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville are becoming a part of a greener tomorrow with the additions of rooftop gardens.  Civil engineering professor and acting environmental program coordinator, Susan Morgan, says there are currently three buildings on campus that have the gardens and there are several more planned for the future.  Biology professor Dr. Bill Retzlaff [one of our contributing editors] says the typical green roof may cost $11-50 per square foot, SIUE’s gardens are at the cheaper end, and “since 2004, more than 100 students have worked on the project.  SIUE is a leader in green roof research in the United States.  They are one of the five or six bigger institutions that conduct research on green roofs.”

Mechanical engineering professor Serdar Celik says they don’t use traditional soil for the roofs – they have been experimenting with different inorganic rocks and different varieties of sedum, and also that the students do experimental testing and theoretical analysis.  They take temperature readings, measurements of stormwater runoff weight, solar radiation, plant coverage, and more.  Celik also says that since we are aware of the global warming issue, the rooftop gardens are one of the solutions toward environmentally friendly sustainable design standards.

– Sandy Bauers of the Philadelphia Inquirer, reports on “Philadelphia embarks on green stormwater management.”  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave the go-ahead to Philadelphia’s $2 billion plan to manage its stormwater with green methods like porous pavements, green roofs, and planting more trees.  EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said “the city has earned a place as a national and global leader on sustainable innovation and clean water protection.”  She joined Mayor Nutter and other officials at the Fairmount Water Works to sign the agreement for a 25-year plan that has been described as one of the most innovative and ambitious in the nation, it will transform how the city looks but more importantly how the city handles its stormwater.

Other cities like Syracuse, Cleveland and New York will be following in Philadelphia’s footsteps, and hopefully they’re the first of many cities around our country to enhance their cities and beautify their streets.  Later this month, a nonprofit water sustainability organization, the Clean Water America Alliance, will name Philadelphia one of the six national 2012 prize winners for its stormwater plan.

– 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  April 13th, 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 12: Wind. Water. Heat. Grow. Greenroofs. Panel Presentation

February 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Today we have the pleasure to air the panel presentation “Wind. Water. Heat. Grow. Greenroofs.” from our inaugural  2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit with Dr. Bill Retzlaff, David Aponte, Kevin Songer, and Joe Webb  on and our  GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube.

A couple I’d known for years and the others were newer aquaintances, but  I was very excited to get these four professionals together – with their combined years of experience designing greenroofs in high-wind prone areas across the U.S., I knew we’d have a great discussion:

Aramis and I met Dr. Bill in 2006 at  Southern Illinois University Edwardsville  when I was invited to speak there through Kelly Luckett, AKA The Green Roof Guy – the president of Green Roof Blocks, a contributing editor of ours, and a good friend.  Kelly had been collaborating with Dr. Bill and his  G.R.E.E.N. program – a relationship of trialing  different aspects of greenroofing, including wind testing in June 2009, that has lasted for quite a few years now.  Although he hasn’t shared anything new in a few years,  Dr. Bill is also a contributing editor of; you can read about his work here.

I met architect Joe a few years ago at one of the Greening Rooftops for  Sustainable  Communities  Conferences when he talked about his emphasis on sustainability and presented on one of his greenroof projects,  Cheyenne I (251 Medical Center Blvd.).  In 2008 the building with its new greenroof came through Hurricane Ike, which  barreled  through Houston, unscathed.

We met fellow Latin, David, in Singapore in November, 2010 when we both spoke at the  International Skyrise Greenery Conference.  David talked about the similarities and differences between the climates of tropical Singapore and sub-tropical Puerto Rico.  Of course, his island is known for its prime location during hurricane season.

We still haven’t met Kevin in person (but hope to!), but were very impressed with his knowledge and experience with greenroofs in Jacksonville, Florida, having corresponded with him as well as read his blog posts and discussion board posts on native plants and wind trials.

This panel of experts say that greenroofs are impacted by wind, water and heat on an unrelenting basis.  Through wind trials and real hurricane survival stories in Houston, TX, Jacksonville, FL, Edwardsville, IL, and Puerto Rico, we have met those challenges and will discuss various projects’ responses and successes to Hurricanes Ike and (any others?). Drought, hot winds, and unseasonable 100 ° days can also quickly desiccate or kill greenroof plants.

Dr. Bill Retzlaff moderates discussing wind studies and plant trials for greenroofs at  Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  Joe Webb talks about his project which endured 110 to 120 mph winds and 11″ of rain in 24 hours and shares water mapping and Living Building Challenge Water requirements.  Kevin Songer talks about the Outdoor Turbine Hurricane Simulator at the University of Florida, water conservation through ‘nature-based irrigation design,’ and the importance of biodiversity.  David Aponte speaks to his experience of engineering and designing greenroofs with the correct growing media and plants in hurricane-prone, sub-tropical Puerto Rico.

Bill Retzlaff, PhD, Co-Director of G.R.E.E.N., Chairman of the Research Committee of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, Biological Sciences Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), has conducted wind tunnel testing of green roof systems and contributed research data for the new green roof wind uplift standard.  In addition, a 16,000 sf green roof on the SIUE campus has just experienced a wind “event” with no uplift or damage.  Dr. Bill is also a contributing editor on (2006); he is the G.R.E.E.N. Editor and talks about the various trials at the SIUE Green Roof Research Center.

David L Aponte, MSCE, GRP has a Master’s of Engineering in Water Resource Engineering and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Engineering with several years experience in green roof design and the construction industry.  He is founder of PR Green Design, Inc. (PRGD) which is responsible for 80% of all the green roofs built in the island of Puerto Rico.  Projects range from small ecological roof to big scale intensive greening.   Since 1996, more than 150,000 sf of green roofs have been installed in Puerto Rico, but not all have survived the harsh environment of the tropics, especially in the extensive category.   As this new wave of green roof construction is reaching the Caribbean market many doubts and misconceptions have taken over local designers.   Should green roofs be designed here equally to those in northern climates?

Kevin Songer’s passion is restoring ‘volumetric green’ to the urban core, designing green roofs for MetroVerde.  MetroVerde’s green roof designs are structured for cyclone and hurricane impacted areas with native plants.  He holds a B.S. in Biology and a Juris Doctor in law (environmental and land use).  Kevin writes a daily green roof blog, Living Green Roofs.  He is a LEED BG+C and an ISA Certified Arborist & Municipal Specialist Arborist.  Follow @kevinsonger on twitter.

Joe Douglas Webb, AIA, is the principal of a small Houston based architecture and planning firm, Webb Architects, that specializes in commercial architecture, planning and city design projects.  Registered to practice architecture in 14 states, he is currently chair of Blueprint Houston, a past president of AIA Houston, a member of APA, USGBC, ULI and a NCARB Certificate holder.

After the presentation on the second day of the 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit, Dr. Bill, David, Joe, and Kevin were available for a live Q & A session; the transcript was available archived for 30 days for participants of the Virtual Summit – unfortunately, we do not have it available now – one of the reasons to participate in this year’s Virtual Summit!

Note: Due to technical and other difficulties from the second party vendor who filmed our illustrious panel of four, this video did not have our standard 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit branding initially, including the shots from Google Earth. We did, however, add it to the four affected panel presentations so that they would be effectively identified for posterity.

Enjoy!  Visit to see the Panel Session “Wind. Water. Heat. Grow. Greenroofs.” 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:

Episode #11: “GreenRoofs in Australasia”  by  Matthew Dillon.
Episode #10: “The Vertical Garden – from Nature to Cities: An Interview with Patrick Blanc”  by  Patrick Blanc  and  me  with an introduction  by  Caroline Menetre.
Episode #9: “Sloped and Complex Green Roofs”  by  Richard Hayden.
Episode #8: “The Portland Ecoroof Program: A Cross-section of the Green Roof Movement in Portland, Oregon”  with  Tom Liptan,  Matt Burlin,  Amy Chomowicz,  Casey Cunningham, and  Alice Meyers.
Episode #7: “Constructing Gardens in the Sky”  by  Terry McGlade.
Episode# 6:  “Sky Meadows – Integrating People and Nature: Sustainable Green Roofs and Roof Gardens”  by  Dr. Nigel Dunnett.
Episode #5:  “Greenroofs & Walls for Educational & Social Equity in the Bronx”  Panel Session with  New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera,  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.,  Robert Bieder,  Jon Beuttler,  Jess Dannhauser,  Javier Lopez  and  Steve Ritz.
Episode #4:  Keynote Address “CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility – The Who, What, Where, When and How” by  Ralph Velasquez.
Episode #3:  “CDA Leads the Way for Incorporating Green Roof Space in an Airport Environment”  by  Rosemarie Andolino.
Episode #2:  “2011 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design”  by  Haven Kiers  and  me.
Episode #1:  Opening Keynote Address “A New Place”  by  Charlie Miller.
VS2011 Opening Address  by Linda Velazquez (me!).

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 13th installment from the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011!

~ Linda V.