A Look (Again) at Airport Greenroofs

February 25, 2011 at 11:37 am

We all know that airports occupy and consume huge areas of land mass, destroying ecosystems and creating massive urban heat islands of impermeable, hot surfaces.  Take, for example, the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) shown below – notice how the highest temperatures, shown in red, are the roof surfaces of the ATL terminal and concourses, followed by runways, parking and cargo areas:

You may remember that back in 2005 I wrote the paper “European Airport Greenroofs – A Potential Model for North America,” which looked at impacts of using a greenroof within airports as well as some of the potential barriers to greenroofs.  I highlighted three massive and highly successful examples of greenroofs in place at the Amsterdam,  Zürich, and Frankfurt International Airports.

At the time, only one greenroof had been installed at aviation facilities within the U.S. or Canada – at the King County International Airport Terminal Building (2003).  The FAA and others had been hesitant given wildlife management issues, in particular the real threat of bird strikes.

Since then, many additional  greenroofs have been constructed at airports worldwide with, not surprisingly, the City of Chicago leading the pack as part of their O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP).

I had the pleasure of revisiting the issue last week at the Atlanta Aero Club at the beautiful Capital City Club in downtown Atlanta, where I was invited to give a short 5-minute presentation for their bi-monthly luncheon by the Club’s President, Steve Champness.

Steve and his better half, Nancy Petroline, (both pilots) are friends of ours and felt the mixture of my passion for greenroofs and the very important fact that the President of Delta Air Lines, Ed Bastian, was the Keynote Speaker was prime for me to address greenroofs as sustainable design at airports here.  Plus, the President of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Joe Lombardo, was also on hand and both airline leaders received awards to celebrate their unique and important contributions to the airline industry.

“The Atlanta Aero Club is dedicated to providing a forum for matters affecting aviation in the Atlanta area, both commercial and general; recognizing and awarding those making the greatest contribution to furthering aviation in the Atlanta area; communicating and disseminating information affecting aviation; and promoting all aviation and recognizing its importance to the metropolitan area and to the State of Georgia.”

It was great to hear Ed Bastian again, and he shared his own passion for Delta Air Lines as a successful company coming through restructuring as well as a firmly dedicated hometown company (the number 1 employer here in Atlanta), highly invested in both its customers and employees.  In fact, last month Delta marked 70 years in Atlanta with a celebration for employees and partners, and a $1.4 billion profit profit sharing payout was distributed on February 14.

Regarding investments, Delta’s plan is to allocate more than $2 billion in enhanced global products, services and airport facilities through 2013.  In addition to improving Sky Clubs and upgrading its domestic fleet, Delta will offer full flat-bed seats on more than 100 widebody aircraft, feature personal, in-seat entertainment for both BusinessElite and Economy class customers on all widebody flights, and complete new terminal facilities for international customers at its two largest global gateways – Atlanta and New York-JFK.

 

I was excited to speak to the approximate 150 members and guests of the Atlanta Aero Club, who were mostly pilots.  Although  I’m not a pilot, many of you who have been following me for years know that greenroofs is my second career ~ in January, 1996 I went back to school and received a Bachelor’s of Landscape Architecture from The University of Georgia in 2000 ~ while flying internationally as a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines (which I still do, at a minimum).  I feel very fortunate to be able to combine my two careers – so you can see my particular interest in greening our airport roofs!

After some additional research and feedback, I began to add to the list of aviation profiles we have listed in The Greenroof & Greenwall  Projects Database.  Here’s the scoop:

We know that Chicago has led the way in North America in greenroof implementation for the past decade, including its airports.  Above is an an aerial photo with “Urban Heat Island Priority Tiers” superimposed which identify hot spots at the O’Hare International Airport (ORD) while showing current and proposed greenroofs here.

Although Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) has a combined coverage of over 500,000 sf, the largest individual continuous greenroof at any airport in the world is found on the 4-acre FedEx Main Sort Building at O’Hare.

Located next to an active runway, the 174,442 sf roof was installed in May of last year and is just one of four buildings with vegetated roofs comprising the massive FedEx Cargo Relocation Project, totaling about 190,000 ft.

O’Hare also boasts the first FAA Control Tower in the U.S. with a greenroof, so we must be feeling pretty good about constructing them now at airports, now, don’t you think?  According to the Chicago Department of Aviation, there is currently 229,355 sf of green roof space at O’Hare International Airport, with an additional 108,816 sf proposed at the United Airlines Cargo Facility (as of February, 2011).

Chicago’s Midway Airport (MDW) currently has 3,179 sf of greenroof space on the parking garage, with another 17,640 sf of greenroof proposed for the Consolidated Rental Car Facility.  To learn more about Chicago’s greening initiatives at airports, see their Airports Going Green website (where you can even see PowerPoint presentations of the last two annual Airports Going Green  Conferences), the Sustainable Airport Manual, and visit the Chicago Department of Aviation’s FlyChicago.com website.

In the U.S., we now have at least 17 airport area greenroofs totaling almost 300,000 sf, and Chicago’s not the only government leader, either.  Take Portland Oregon (PDX), above, for example, the U.S. Army and Air Force, and Heritage Flight, below:

And Canada has at least 3 totaling about 3,000 sf, an intensive greenroof (below) and extensive greenroof at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) – not to mention their stunning greenwall at YVR Canada Line Station 4 – and an extensive greenroof at Toronto International (YYZ):

Here are some other cool living roofs atop airport buildings found internationally:

See what we have by searching The Greenroof & Greenwall  Projects Database by selecting “Aviation” under Building Type > Application Type – if you want to define it, select a country, city, etc.

Does this mean that’s all there is?  Of course not.  This Projects Database is a living research document and because it’s community driven, we reply on everyone to help us keep it up to date.  In fact, I have seen airport greenroofs myself at Narita International in Japan (NRT), Madrid (MAD), and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle (CDG) – (see a couple of photos below) – that aren’t included in the Projects Database because I don’t have enough info yet.

And I know there’s more at Paris’ Orly International Airport (ORY), Bordeaux (BOD), Stuttgart (STR), Münich (MUC), Bremen (BRE) and Düsseldorf (DUS), with many others planned or on the boards.  So, I’d like to ask our greenroof community to please send in your photos and info on greenroofs across the world and I’ll share the profiles for all to see, like Jörg Breuning, of Green Roof Service, has been doing for years – see below the Fire Brigade at Stuttgart International Airport:

Because of time constraints, I couldn’t get into key design considerations with regard to the correct site selection of growing media and plants, but just touched on the importance of having a multi-disciplinary team on the Airport Wildlife Landscape Management team.  Here’s my updated version of the “An Overview of Greenroofs at Airports: Greening Rooftops as Sustainable Design” Power Point which I presented last week to the Atlanta Aero Club:

Even though I was limited to just five minutes, I ended with a few slides of examples about combining photovoltaics with greenroofs – hey, if we’re going to be sustainable, we may as well go all the way!

I’d like to give Steve Champness another big Thankyou! for offering Greenroofs.com and me this great opportunity to introduce vegetated roofs to many, and encourage sustainable design with greenroofs (and walls) at our public, private, and military airports worldwide.  We need more leaders such as the City of Chicago, the City of Portland, OR, and others to continue to push building integrated greenery forward.

It’s easy to understand how Atlanta’s largest urban heat island, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, can be significantly mitigated by incorporating living, breathing, greenroofs.   Maybe Hotlanta won’t be so hot any more with some local support, strategic planning, and government and corporate visionaries.

Count me in for local support here in The ATL!

Ed Bastian, President of Delta Air Lines, and me on February 16, 2011 at the Atlanta Aero Club Luncheon.

~ Linda V.

The 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Calendar is Here!

November 20, 2010 at 7:11 pm

The Greenroofs.com 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Calendar is ready for sale!   Download our Press Release here.

As you know if you’ve been following us for a while (this is our 4th year of printing), the Greenroofs & Walls of the World 2011 Calendar™ combines two of our most popular destinations on Greenroofs.com: The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database and Upcoming Events.   It’s a great way to  showcase fabulous projects and our website Sponsors, our highest level of advertising.

Newly redesigned by Caroline Menetre, 2011 has a sleeker look ~ her years in graphic design have helped us  present a more streamlined calendar that is still bursting with colorful glossy photos of awesome projects plus all the international green events you could ever plan on attending in one year.

Also new for 2011 is the inclusion of greenwalls ~ the newest architectural darling in the living architecture world.   And as always, our Calendar is eco-friendly, printed on 50% recycled paper with 25% post consumer waste using soy inks.

Building types are represented  with projects from single and multi-family residences and the corporate world to an airport cargo facility,  botanical garden, hospital, community college, municipal,  federal research library, and even an elevated green street!

Check out  the projects highlighted for 2011:

 

Pricing: Only $12.95 which includes free shipping within the contiguous United States and Canada – and we have discounts for orders of 11 calendars and above.   Remember that shipping rates will vary with international destinations.   Visit our Calendar page for all the specifics and ordering information here.


If you’re attending the the 8th  Annual Green Roof and Green Wall Conference – CitiesAlive! in Vancouver, B.C. on November 30 – December 3, 2010, the first 50 visitors to stop by the Greenroofs.com booth (#416) will receive a free Calendar, so make sure to stop by early!   When we’re out we’ll be offering  them for sale at a  special Conference rate of only $10 – first come, first served.   Afterwards, of course, the Calendar will be available for purchase and shipping at any time.

Special thanks go to our participating Sponsors in the 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Calendar:   Barrett Company, Express Blower, Green Living Technologies,  Green Roof Blocks, GreenGrid, LiveRoof, Roofscapes, Saul Nurseries, Tremco, Xero Flor America, and ZinCo-USA.

 


 

And thanks to all of the rest of Greenroofs.com’s Sponsors who weren’t featured this year, but whose support makes our website possible (along with all of you who are listed in The Greenroof Directory):

American Hydrotech, Conservation Technology,
and International Leak Detection

The 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Calendar will make a perfect holiday gift for you, your staff,  and your green architecture like-minded friends and family, so order now in time for all the upcoming  holidays and the  new year.

Enjoy and happy greening!

~ Linda V.

 

Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square Podium Green Roof Opens!

June 30, 2010 at 3:33 pm

The City of Toronto has many great greening initiatives going for it, including their groundbreaking Green Roof Bylaw put into effect in May of 2009.  In fact, they were one of the first municipalities in North America – if not the first – to install a test/research greenroof in 2000:  The Toronto City Hall Green Roof Demonstration Project.

Now obsolete/defunct, we’ve kept the original profile up in The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database for research and archive purposes (but it’s not included in the total project or sf/m2 numbers).

Why is it obsolete?  In 2009 the City of Toronto started the much larger Nathan Phillips Square Podium Green Roof, which encompasses the public square surrounding Toronto City Hall.  Completed in late May, the grand opening of the brand new 36,500 sf Nathan Phillips Square Podium Green Roof was held on May 29 and May 30, 2010 to coincide with Doors Open Toronto 2010, the yearly architectural open house of interesting and important buildings across the city.

Kees Govers of LiveRoof Ontario Inc. supplied the modular LiveRoof system, and shares some photos of the opening day celebration of the Nathan Phillips Square Podium Green Roof “in all its glory” from May 29:

Kees says that Greenroof Designer/Contractor Terry McGlade of Flynn Canada Ltd, Gardens in the Sky, considers this the best greenroof his company has ever installed!

“I must say that this project is by far the most outstanding that our company has done to date- both from a beauty perspective and an end use.  And because we were the general contractor and the green roof installer we were able to have input on the quality of workmanship.” ~ Terry McGlade

From all accounts, similar sentiments were felt from the David Miller, Mayor of Toronto, Joe Pantalone, the Deputy Mayor, and their staff.  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities‘ Steven Peck was also on hand, seen below left with Kees in the middle and Terry McGlade, right:

“This project was more than 12 years in the making.  It’s not everyday a city gets a new park in the downtown.” ~ Steven Peck

According to the City of Toronto tally, 22,000 people visited the Nathan Phillips Square Podium Green Roof during Doors Open Toronto this year. Aramis and I saw it under construction from our hotel room in late October of last year, when we attended the CitiesAlive! World Green Roof Congress, photo left from my blog post.

Read the in-depth coverage in the Daily Commercial News’ “Building Toronto city hall green roof posed host of challenges” by Saul Chernos of June 25, 2010; Globe and Mail’s “An oasis at the top of City Hall” by Lisa Rochon of May 31, 2010, and see more photos and learn more about this lovely municipal living roofspace in The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database here.

Patrick Biller, Green Roof Maintenance & Installation with Flynn Canada, Gardens in the Sky, sent us the following two recent photos of the Nathan Phillips Square Podium Green Roof (when he was working on the project):

If you have any updated info and/or photos, please send them!

Happy Greening,

~ Linda V.

 

GPW: Heinz 57 Center/Gimbels Building Restoration

February 27, 2010 at 12:51 am

heinz57-h

Formerly the Gimbel’s Department store, the Heinz 57 Center  in Pittsburgh, PA, is a wonderful example of  urban renewal.  Closed and neglected for about 14 years starting  in the late eighties, the  now restored building has been put to reuse not only in a sustainable, but beautiful  way.   In 1998 architects Burt Hill Kozar Rittlemann Associates (now Burt Hill) were brought on board to redesign the historical but ailing structure.

heinz57-lamagAlong with McKnight Development Partners, the architects incorporated a dramatic 50′ diameter octagonal atrium which runs from the roof down through seven floors.   Suddenly flooded with natural light, the Heinz Corporation was  enticed to occupy the top seven floors for their North American headquarters.   Yet curiously, environmental concerns were not driving factors for  the greenroof then; aesthetics, however, definitely were.

Although the building itself was  surrounded by  a spectacular city panorama featuring  a soaring cathedral  amidst an eclectic mixture of towering skyscrapers,  the views from the lovely floor-to-ceiling windows of the fourteenth-floor  penthouse suite  were less than exciting or acceptable: a hot black rubber roof under an equally unappealing  nine-foot-high  brick parapet wall greeted Heinz occupants.   So the architects decided a pleasing landscape atop the roof would do the trick.

The Heinz 57 Center; Photo Source: The Post-GazetteCompleted in the fall of 2001, the Heinz 57 Center was the first vegetated roof in downtown Pittsburgh,  where executives  enjoy sweeping meadow vistas wrapping their offices and blanketing the thirty-foot-wide terrace.   Four informal seating areas constructed with high-density recycled plastic lumber decking and concrete paving blocks provide informal gathering spots;  by all accounts the colorful corporate roof garden is a hit!

Last year I was interviewed by Carmen J. Lee who was writing for h – The Magazine of the Heinz Endowments, reporting how “Pittsburgh roofs are the new fertile turf for environ-mentally sustainable construction projects that aim to dig in and blossom” in her article “Top Soil” (pages 24-31).   The Heinz 57 building was, of course, one of the sites featured and you’ll see I was quoted  with more  of an inspirational bent rather than specific to the project.   Carmen also profiled the local environmental group, 3 Rivers Wet Weather, which is responsible for utilizing $525,000 in federal funding plus a $125,000 Heinz Endowments  grant to sponsor a 2005 project to create more greenroofs here.

Heinz 57 Center; Photo Courtesy of Roofscapes, Inc.

Photo Courtesy Roofscapes, Inc.

In a city with an over-burdened sewer system with frequent overflows, Pittsburgh officials and researchers cite the greenroof project often as a fine example of sustainable redevelopment.   Situated within a pedestrian-friendly mixed-use business district with shops, restaurants and businesses, the Heinz 57 Center is worker friendly as well as eco-friendly, providing their 800+ employees with a variety of alternate forms of transportation.   Although Heinz executives may not have initially specified the extensive greenroof for ecological reasons, they certainly appreciate the many noticeable environmental benefits, such as  the cooling respite from the city canyon and the reduction of stormwater runoff; it’s estimated that the roof retains 55% of  yearly rainfall.

Heinz 57Center; Photo Courtesy of Roofscapes, Inc.

Charlie Miller, P.E., and his company Roofscapes, Inc.  have been responsible for a large number of award-winning greenroof projects, including this one.   His private and public portfolio runs the gamut from municipal to corporate, institutional to retail, and even includes some single-family residences.    Charlie won the 2005 Green Roof Award of Excellence  with the Heinz 57 Center/Gimbels Building Restoration in the Extensive Industrial/Commercial category, and we featured  it in the 2009 Greenroofs of the World Calendar™ by Greenroofs.com for the month of March:Heinz 57 Center in June of 2007, as illustrated in The 2008 Greenroofs of the World Calendar  

Over 18,000 plants were selected by Roofscapes, who used their Type III: Savannah Roofmeadow ® system.   Landscape architect Steven L. Cantor researched this project in depth, and you can read  his extensive case study including complete plant lists on pages 139-142 in the excellent book  Green Roofs in Sustainable Landscape Design,” 2008, available for purchase on Amazon.com.

The Heinz 57 Center; Photo Courtesy of Roofscapes, Inc.Steven  relates how  the Heinz 57 Center plant selection encompassed “32 xeric species from nineteen plant genera, including six North American natives; approximately one-third of the plants are sedums, and the balance  is a range of herbs, meadow grasses, and meadow perennials that provide differences in plant height, texture, and bloom color.”

It’s hard to believe, but the roof is not irrigated and has flourished with minimal maintenance, which includes  twice yearly  weeding and an annual light application of fertilizer.

Pittsburgh has really come along way from its gritty  industrial Steel Town roots, emerging as a  leader in green building.   According to the Green Building Alliance, as of July, 2009 the City of Pittsburgh is home to 39 LEED-certified buildings, ranked eighth in the United States for overall number of projects.  meadowsheinz

About two dozen more eco-friendly  greenroofs are found within metro Pittsburgh; read the May 19, 2009 article  “More city buildings cultivate savings by covering roofs with plants” by Sally Kalson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to learn about additional living roofs in the area.

We only have  a handful  of those references listed, so remember to send us case studies of these other projects so we may share it with all of you in the greenroof community in The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Kudos to the designers, corporate leaders and all the stakeholders of this inspiring city-core  Heinz 57 Center  renovation  for their foresight –  environmental, aesthetic, or otherwise –  to successfully integrate a greenroof into the overall design for the benefit of the building’s occupants!

Heinz 57 Center, Courtesy of Roofscapes, Inc.

~ Linda V.