Read Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition’s Report of the Urban Forest in the Greater Toronto Area

June 22, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

We recently returned from our first Grey to Green Conference in Toronto at Ryerson University, presented by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), where Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition‘s Report of the Urban Forest in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was released.

The Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition (GIO) is a collaborative alliance of not-for-profits organizations, community groups, businesses and local governments, including GIO steering committee member Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, working to sustain green infrastructure across Ontario.  Their mission is to bring organizations together to share information and collaborate for improved green infrastructure policies and programs across the province.

“We’re thrilled to release this report, which represents the collective efforts of 17 local and regional governments. Together, they have established baseline data which will be critical to managing the urban forest into the future. Most importantly, they all used the same protocol, which allowed us to compile it into this GTA-wide report.” ~  Janet McKay, Chair of Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition


Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

85% of trees in the GTA are small compared to only 40% in a healthy urban forest.

Summary of main findings:

  • 34.2 million trees provide 26% canopy cover in the GTA;
  • Replacement cost of these trees and shrubs is $14.2 billion;
  • $70 million is the estimated value of the 2.7 million tons of carbon stored;
  • $36.5 million is the estimate annual value of air quality improvements;
  • $20 million is the estimated annual value of energy savings;
  • 113,000 tons of carbon is removed every year – this is equivalent to the emissions of 23,000 passenger vehicles;
  • 4,000 tons of pollution removed from the air annually (including 2,300 tons of ground level ozone);
  • 10% of tree population is Ash (3.2 million trees). We have already lost a large number of them to EAB;
  • 54% of trees are made up of four species (Maple, Cedar, Ash, and Buckthorn);
  • 85% of trees are small (diameter less than 22.9 cm);
  • 37% of trees are on residential property, 18% on commercial industrial, 25% on open space, agriculture and natural area, and 20% on institutional, transportation and other;
  • The underlying studies were conducted between 2005 and 2014.

Read the Executive Summary and the Full Report.

Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

It’s an important landmark tool for folks committed to improving green infrastructure in the Ontario area, and certainly serves as a wonderful resource for the rest of us.

Getting back to the 4th Annual Grey to Green, in addition to seeing great presentations and panels on green infrastructure and climate change and visiting the Trade Show, we had a fantastic time and must give kudos to everyone at GRHC and their collaborators who put together another impressive conference!

Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

We mingled with old friends and acquaintances such as the ever-lovely: Virginia Russell from the University of Cincinnati (and her lively mother!), Tracy Jackson from GRHC, Hamid Karimi with the DC Department of Energy and Environment, David Yocca of Conservation Design Forum, Kirtin Weeks of Arup, Sara Loveland and Ashleigh Uiska (whom we hadn’t seen in years because she has been in the UK having some beautiful babies!) of Annette Environmental, and of course Steven Peck and his better half, the wonderful Joyce McLean – among many, many, more.  We also met some great new ones, too, including Kara Orr, the new Marketing Coordinator with GRHC and Chaoyue Zhao, GRHC’s Conference & Training Coordinator, whom we finally got to meet face to face.

Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of our living architecture colleagues at future green infrastructure conferences and catch up on what’s happening in your neck of the woods!

~ Happy reading,

Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEEP AP, GRP Publisher

Watch the Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2015 Video: “From Passive House to the Cold North—How Vegetative Envelope Components Impact Buildings” Panel with Dr. Bob Cameron, Dr. Allen Lee, Dr. Karen Liu, and Chris Wark

June 2, 2016 at 8:01 am

Are you are interested in the key impacts of green roofs and walls—what they are, how impacts can be predicted, what factors affect performance, and how performance compares to predictions? Then you cannot miss the “From Passive House to the Cold North—How Vegetative Envelope Components Impact Buildings” Panel Session with Dr. Bob Cameron, Dr. Allen Lee, Dr. Karen Liu, and Chris Wark video from our Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2015 ~ Connecting the Planet with Living Architecture: People, Projects & Design above or on our VS2015 Virtual Summit 2015 playlist on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube.

It’s been almost a year since we concluded our third Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit, and as promised, we are now releasing the 23 videos from our 30+ international speakers to the general public.

Virtual Summit 2015 Video From Passive House to Cold North


The panel discussion will lead to some conclusions about how vegetative envelope components could influence the wider development of residential and commercial buildings based on the Passive House and Zero Net Energy concepts.  Four experts will share their knowledge of these topics through brief presentations followed by a lively discussion.

Moderator Allen Lee leads a wide range of studies related to energy efficiency and technologies.  Bob Cameron brings to the panel information from a study comparing replicate buildings that allowed measurement of the effects of different green building components on energy use, comfort, wastewater treatment, and food growing.  Karen Liu shares her extensive knowledge of the impacts of green roofs and how they depend on climate differences, seasonal variations, and other factors.  Chris Wark draws upon his broad experience in the analysis of green roofs, development of green roof systems, and systems thinking related to Passive House design.

Robert “Bob” D. Cameron, PhD

Virtual Summit 2015 Video From Passive House to Cold North

University Park, PA, USA. Bob spent more than two decades directing the global environmental programs of a Fortune 30 multi-national conglomerate. In the late ‘70s in collaboration with NASA, he designed, permitted, and constructed the first constructed wetlands to treat wastewater from the natural gas industry. Working on every continent except Antarctica, Bob designed award winning environmental programs based on sustainability concepts. Later as President of his own corporation, he de-engineered historic buildings destined for the wrecking ball, which he then relocated and reconstructed with green architectural features.

Pursuing a life-long goal, he recently earned his doctorate from Penn State University at the Center for Green Roof Research. His thesis entailed the invention and construction of a functional architectural system to attenuate wastewater pollutants while reducing a building’s energy use and providing a platform for urban agriculture. Currently, Bob has an appointment with the Department of Landscape Architecture at Penn State University and teaches collegiate courses and conducts research on greenroofs, livings walls, constructed wetlands, aquaponics, and artificial islands while also managing Eco Applied Technologies, a consulting firm for commercial, residential, and industrial applications. He has lectured on sustainable technologies around the world and in 2013 he literally circumnavigated the globe while working on environmental issues in numerous countries, including teaching environmental engineering for several months at a Chinese university which culminated in the design and construction of a living wall with the students. See the 2:45 video of his early work at Penn State “Robert Cameron investigates biofilters to clean dirty water.”

Publisher’s Note:  Read his March 2015 Guest Feature “An Integrated Biofilter System to Contribute to Net Zero Architecture While Providing Decentralized Wastewater Treatment” here on

Amy Chomowicz (Organizer)

Portland, OR, USA. Amy Chomowicz is the Program Administrator for the Sustainable Stormwater Management Division and the Ecoroof Program, City of Portland Environmental Services. Amy has worked in the water quality and watershed restoration fields for 23 years and worked on her first ecoroof project in 1997. Prior to that, Amy worked in energy conservation and renewable energy.

Accepted by Amy Chomowicz, the City of Portland received a 2013 Green Roof Leadership Award for Municipalities from the International Green Roof Association (IGRA) at the 2013 International Green Roof Congress.

Publisher’s Note:  Amy came up with this idea for the panel and had intended to spotlight greenroofs and walls and their energy implications.  Once she realized that prior work commitments wouldn’t allow her to participate, she continued to help organize it and invited Allen Lee, PhD to moderate instead. By the way, you can hear from Amy and her colleagues from Bureau of Environmental Services at The City of Portland, Oregon in their presentation from our inaugural Virtual Summit 2011 in “The Portland Ecoroof Program” A Cross-section of the Green Roof Movement in Portland, Oregon, USA.”

Allen Lee, PhD, LEED AP (Moderator)

Virtual Summit 2015 Video From Passive House to Cold North

The roof of a family housing project in Portland, OR.

Portland, OR, USA. Allen Lee, Ph.D., is an executive director in the Energy Services Division in Cadmus’ Portland, Oregon office. He has more than 25 years’ experience in energy and environmental research and leads a wide range of studies related to energy efficiency and technologies. His management and technical expertise includes demand side management, energy services, codes and standards, green buildings, externalities analysis, and renewables. He has managed more than 60 energy program evaluations and a comparable number of other projects.

He has conducted research on the energy and environmental impacts of green roofs for more than 15 years. He co-developed the original green roof energy analysis module for DOE’s EnergyPlus building simulation model. Dr. Lee has a PhD in policy analysis from the RAND Graduate School, a master of science in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California and a bachelor of science in engineering from Caltech.

Allen publishes widely on energy issues and has presented papers and made presentations at numerous conferences. He is a co-author of “Residential Efficiency Crossroads: Opportunities for the Future.” Besides being a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional, he is a member of the Association of Professional Energy Managers and the Association of Energy Service Professionals (AESP).

Karen Liu, PhD

Virtual Summit 2015 Video From Passive House to Cold North

Toronto, Canada. Dr. Karen Liu is a Product Manager for Bonar Xeroflor GmbH. Karen has been conducting green roof research since 2000 when she was a research officer at the National Research Council in Ottawa. She has also led the green roof research team at British Columbia Institute of Technology in Vancouver, BC.

Karen established the first North American field facility dedicated to green roof research and conducted several field studies across Canada to study the climate sensitivity of the technology. She now focuses her work on research and product development at Xeroflor. Karen received her PhD from the University of Toronto, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry.

Publisher’s Note:  Read her November 2015 Guest Feature “Designing Green Roofs for Stormwater Management Technological Advances Offer Low-Weight Options.”

Christopher G. Wark

Virtual Summit 2015 Video From Passive House to Cold North

Thermogram of a Passivhaus building, with traditional building in background.

New York, NY, USA. Christopher Wark has 26 years of multidisciplinary engineering experience providing technical and analytical support for manufacturers, universities and national labs. For the past 12 years, he has focused his efforts on technical solutions in building design and is currently an Associate with BuroHappold Engineering, managing the Analytics group in their New York office.

In 2002, Chris established SHADE Consulting/Green Roof Innovations with his wife Wendy. With SHADE, Chris developed and marketed several innovative modular eco-roof systems, a roof system heat transfer and cost computer program, and conducted green roof system heat transfer analyses for 5 major cities and organizations. In 2010, he developed a modular planting system in partnership with Guiyang Chuangjia High-Tech Accelerator Co. LTD in Guiyang, China.

Chris has also been involved in other thermodynamic related work at Caterpillar Inc., Lawrence Livermore National Lab and two private research laser development companies. He has presented at numerous conferences, has several articles published on a wide variety of engineering topics, and has had the privilege of working directly with several universities, including Stanford’s Center for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE) program.

Chris holds Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Washington State University where his graduate work focused on thermodynamics, fluid dynamics and combustion. He has also been a contributing editor, the Energy Editor, with since 2011. Download Chris Wark’s complete 32-page Green Roof Energy Series (PDF, 2011). ~ VS2015

Read about the “From Passive House to the Cold North—How Vegetative Envelope Components Impact Buildings” Panel Session with Dr. Bob Cameron, Dr. Allen Lee, Dr. Karen Liu, and Chris Wark video’s 5 Key Learning Objectives which I identified for participants of the Virtual Summit 2015.

Virtual Summit 2015 Video From Passive House to Cold North

We welcome your input and suggestions to make our Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2017 more accessible, interactive, and a just better all around global social media experience!

~ Happy watching,

Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEEP AP, GRP Publisher

~ Also enjoy these released videos available now from our Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2015 ~ Connecting the Planet with Living Architecture: People, Projects & Design:

A Higher Purpose – Benefits to Human Health and Education through Green Roofing by Elizabeth Hart.

“A Green Building Should Look Green, Which Means Hairy! Dr. Ken Yeang Keynote Interview by Linda Velazquez.”

The 2014 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design + a Look into 2015″ by Linda Velazquez and Haven Kiers.’s VS2015 Opening Address from Linda Velazquez.”


The Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2015 Speakers.

Invitation to the Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2015.

VIRTUAL SUMMIT 2015 teaser from Groncol.

Small Scale Green Roofs at the Virtual Summit by Dusty Gedge and John Little.

Hurry, Grey to Green Conference Registration Closes Soon, this Sunday May 29!

May 27, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Grey to Green Conference

Online registration closes this Sunday, May 29th for the 4th Annual Grey to Green Conference on Green Infrastructure and Climate Change, presented by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.  Don’t miss this opportunity to come to a great city, hear from some awesome presenters, and visit some wonderful sustainable design projects during Grey to Green 2016!

Learn for less at Grey to Green 2016

Held in Toronto on June 1 through June 4, 2016, the 4th Annual Grey to Green Conference is about living green infrastructure and its ability to provide tangible, scientifically proven solutions to the challenges of climate change, particularly in cities.  We are in the solutions business!  Green roofs, green walls, bioswales, and urban forests can help us mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy consumption directly in buildings and indirectly by reducing the urban heat island effect.  We can also use plants to pull greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, locking them in the soil and tissue of plants.  Green infrastructure can also be designed to capture and retain huge volumes of stormwater in a ‘treatment train’ from the roofs, to the walls, to the streets, and so on.  This helps us reduce the risk of flooding, which is costing billions in insurance claims.  Green infrastructure also provides new opportunities for us to produce food, in and around buildings.

At Grey to Green will explore the wide breadth of these, and even more opportunities that living technologies provide to allow us to prepare for climate change and make our cities more livable. ~ Read more at Living Green Infrastructure is at the Heart of Grey to Green 2016 by Steven Peck, Founder and President, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

Held once again at Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science, I’m really excited to be returning to Toronto – the last time Aramis and I visited was in October, 2009 when Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, as members of the then WGRIN (now WGIN) held its first conference named “CitiesAlive! World Green Roof Infrastructure Congress.”  This was, of course, before they renamed the original Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities to the current CitiesAlive.  You can see lots of photos at my The Inaugural CitiesAlive! – Seeds of Success and CitiesAlive! ’09 Day Tour & Evening Fiesta.

Toronto City Hall

This was our view, above, from our hotel window in late October, 2009 – the new (still being installed, actually) Nathan Phillips Square Toronto City Hall Podium Green Roof, a LiveRoof modular system.  Here’s what it looked like in July 2010:


By User:GreenRoofGardener – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, on Wikimedia Commons.

I think I’m most looking forward to meeting and networking with all of the new colleagues we’ll meet at Grey to Green 2016 next week, although I’m pretty excited to be touring the Ryerson Urban Farm (formerly Rye’s Homegrown), below, too:

Grey to Green Conference Registration Closes Sunday May 29

If you go, don’t miss my presentation on Friday, June in the “Session 12: Impacts of Green Infrastructure Design: Living Architecture Wonders, Technical Issues and Life-Cycle Costing.”  It’s a new topic for me: “Top 10 Green Infrastructure Eco-Agents in a Climate-Changing World.”  Eco-Agents?  You know, like secret agents – just fighting for the good of our climate-changing  world in broad daylight!  Here’s my description:

How does the design world combat climate change, deteriorating landscapes, and our ever-growing population? Green infrastructure can be both low and high-tech, and when combined with emerging technologies, this double punch of environmental design propels change and provides inspiration for the rest of us.

Designing with living architecture in our built and natural environments continues to ameliorate and connect our flora, fauna, and human ecosystems. Progressive governments as well as avant-garde architects and designers have captured the essence of living with nature and these timely, important, and spectacular projects will be highlighted from across the globe as eco-agents offering positive effects on a meso-scale. ~ Linda S. Velazquez, Grey to Green Abstract

I’ll also be moderating a session, and attending the fun Networking on the Lake at the Amsterdam Brewery on the Toronto harbor on Thursday, June 2nd.

Grey to Green Conference Registration Closes Sunday May 29

Grey to Green Conference Registration Closes Sunday May 29

Aramis and I hope you can join everyone at Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ Grey to Green 2016 next week!

Learn for less at Grey to Green 2016

Learn for less at Grey to Green 2016

Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEEP AP, GRP Publisher

Don’t Miss the Last Early Bird Rate for Grey to Green on May 5!

May 3, 2016 at 9:00 am

Grey to Green 2016

We are just under a month away from the 4th Annual Grey to Green Conference on Green Infrastructure and Climate Change presented by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.  As a Media Partner once again, wants you to save some money and take advantage of their last Early Bird Registration!

Register by this Thursday, May 5th and save up to $50 off Delegate Pass ($325 CDN).

Grey to Green 2016

Join us and your colleagues at the 4th Annual Grey to Green Conference this summer in Toronto, the most populous city in Canada and the home to innovative green infrastructure policies, design, and technologies. Take advantage of the Canadian/American exchange rate where Americans can expect savings of up to 20%.

Held on June 1 – 4 at Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science, Grey to Green 2016 is about the value of green infrastructure (bioswales, green roofs and walls, urban forests, etc.) as an important tool in the fight to both mitigate against and adapt to climate change.

Here are FOUR reasons that you shouldn’t miss Grey to Green this year:

1. Tour Toronto’s Most Innovative Green Infrastructure Projects:

Grey to Green 2016

Ryerson University Rooftop Farm Tour

University of Toronto GRIT Lab Tour

Pan Am Village/ Canary District Tour

Learn about all of the tours here.

2. Enhance Your Knowledge with Professional Development Training Courses:

Attend the following training courses at Grey to Green to improve your professional practice and earn continuing education (professional development) hours:

  • Make it Work: How to Properly Construct LID Green Infrastructure
  • Introduction to Rooftop Urban Agriculture
  • Green Walls 101: Systems Overview and Design
  • Green Infrastructure: Policies, Performance, and Projects
  • Advanced Green Roof Maintenance

3. Networking Among Industry Professionals on the Lake:

Grey to Green 2016

Come and spend the night at Harbourfront Toronto! Tickets include beer sampling, light dinner, expert-led Green Infrastructure Tour of Music Garden & HTO Park and unique opportunities to network with green infrastructure industry professionals.

4. Attend Technical Sessions by Canadian Industry Professionals:

Grey to Green 2016

Toronto’s New Green Streets:
Building a Resilient City
Sheila Boudreau, City of Toronto

Financial Tools to Support Adaptation: Stormwater Charges and Fees
Victoria Kramkowski, City of Mississauga

Grey to Green 2016

Toronto’s Green Roof By Law and its Positive Impacts on Resiliency
Jane Welsh, City of Toronto

Coming Full Circle: The Future of Living Architecture Design
Craig Applegath, Dialog

Conference Delegate Pass includes all sessions & keynote speakers, trade show, hospitality (coffee breaks & lunch on trade show floor), and webcast proceedings.

Grey to Green 2016

Investment in living green infrastructure within our communities will help us mitigate and adapt to climate change and to stimulate much needed employment for a broad range of professionals, and Grey to Green 2016 highlights this goal.

Grey to Green 2016

For more information visit Grey to Green at

Hopefully we’ll see you there!

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEEP AP, GRP Publisher