Grey to Green Early Bird Discount Ends on April 7

April 1, 2016 at 1:17 pm

By Linda S. Velazquez Publisher

We are 2 months away from the 4th Annual Grey to Green Conference on Green Infrastructure and Climate Change presented by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) and just under 1 week away from their Early Bird Registration!


Held in Toronto, ON on June 1 – 4 at Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science, Grey to Green 2016 is about helping us understand 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.

As a Media Partner once again of the 2016 Grey to Green Conference, is pleased to share more info with you from GRHC:




June 1: Training courses including rooftop agriculture, green wall design, advanced green roof maintenance, low impact development course, and an introduction to green infrastructure.

June 2, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm: Networking on the Lake at the Amsterdam BrewHouse Evening Reception – sure to be lots of fun!

June 2-3: Experience more than 60 expert speakers – see the full agenda online at  By the way, I’ll also be speaking this year at Grey to Green where I’ll be presenting the “Top 10 Green Infrastructure Eco-Agents in a Climate-Changing World.”

June 4: Tour Toronto’s fantastic green infrastructure projects.

And, the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition is going to release a ground breaking, first time study on the status of the urban forest in the Greater Toronto Area during the event, and the Canadian Minister of Energy and Climate Change, Glen Murray, has confirmed his participation as a keynote speaker.


Most importantly for now is for you to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount which ends on April 7 to save up to $100 off on the Delegate Pass!  With the Canadian/American exchange rate, Americans can expect a savings of 30%.  (Of course, the exchange rate is subject to change.)


“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. 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.

“Living green infrastructure has so much to offer us in terms of mitigating and adapting to climate change, and it is all but ignored by provincial and federal policy makers who are poised to spend billions and billions of public dollars on grey infrastructure alone in the coming months, and little to nothing on green infrastructure. Together we need to work to change that.” ~ Steven Peck, GRHC

If you haven’t already, make sure to read the Sky Gardens Blog post “Living Green Infrastructure is at the Heart of Grey to Green 2016” by Steven Peck.

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.

For more information visit their website at

~ Linda V.

Video & Project of the Week for January 4, 2016: Humber River Hospital

January 5, 2016 at 1:27 pm Project of the Week: 1/04/16


Humber River Hospital
Toronto, ON, Canada
141,998 sf. Greenroofs


Project Description & Details

North America’s first fully digital hospital, Humber River Hospital is a lean, green and digital showcase facility with some of the latest medical technology available today integrated throughout to support excellence in care. The facility serves a catchment area of more than 850,000 people in the northwest Greater Toronto Area and the new 1.7 million square foot facility, designed by HDR, Inc. opened in October 2015 and operates 656 beds in 2015/2016, with capacity to expand to 722 beds by 2025/2026. Committed to achieving LEED® Silver certification and tracking LEED Gold, one of the many impressive features in the new Humber River Hospital is the 13,192 square meters of green roofing, visible from a majority of the patient rooms and treatment areas of the hospital. In addition, the gigantic art installations on the north and south facades, titled “Aspen Grove,” are glass murals that recall a colorful woodland scene, representing the harmonization of the hospital with the local community.

Flynn Canada crews completed 140,000 square feet of LiveRoof green roofs spanning over 17 different levels, compiled of 4 inch LiveRoof tray systems. With planting designed by Terry McGlade of Flynn Canada and Kees Govers of LiveRoof Ontario, it was comprised of sedums and perennials, specifically shade-orientated perennials such as Hostas and Bergenia, and grasses and chives for sun areas intermixed with sedum varieties. Planting was designed as sustainable as possible to LEED Sites standards with no potable water to be used in future years. The project was delivered under Infrastructure Ontario’s Alternative Finance and Procurement program, where the public and private sectors join forces to provide needed infrastructure for communities. By providing natural beauty and function, the Humber River Hospital green roof contributes to the new healthcare facility’s overall focus on sustainability.

Find more photos and additional information about this project in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.


Year: 2015
Owner: Plenary Healthcare Partnerships
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Building Type: Healthcare
Type: Extensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 141,998 sq. ft.
Slope: 1%
Access: Inaccessible, Private



Designers/Manufacturers of Record:

Architect and Healthcare Consulting: HDR Inc.
General Contractor: PCL Construction
Roofing, Green Roofing and Sheet Metal Cap Flashing Installation: Flynn Canada Ltd
Modular Greenroof System: LiveRoof®
LiveRoof Grower/Supplier: Kees Govers, LiveRoof Ontario
Landscape Architect: Quinn Design Associates
Facilities Management: Johnson Controls
Managed Equipment Services (MES): GE Healthcare
Structural Engineering & Building Envelope Consulting Services: Halsall Associates


Project of the Week Video Feature

Watch the Humber River Hospital Project of the Week Video below or see it on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:

Did we miss your contribution? Please let us know to add you to the profile.

Would you like one of your projects to be featured? We have to have a profile first!

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof (or Wall)!

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

Video & Project of the Week for November 16, 2015: Sherway Gardens Shopping Centre Expansion

November 20, 2015 at 11:41 am Project of the Week: 11/16/15


Sherway Gardens Shopping Centre Expansion
Toronto, Canada
102,257 sf. Greenroof


Project Description & Details

Sherway Gardens is a large retail shopping mall in Toronto, Canada, which opened in 1971 and Torontonians are most familiar with Sherway’s distinctive white-canopied roof, visible from many vantage points. Having undergone several renovations, Phase 1 of its latest expansion project just opened in September, 2015. Part of a $550 million Canadian dollar project with DIALOG as the Project Architect for the expansion, the 210,000 square foot LEED certified addition added 50 new stores to the mall; a new second level food court that can seat more than 1,000; greatly expanded multi-level parking for 1,200 more vehicles; and more: A green roof was installed on the new north wing, an exciting extension of developer Cadillac Fairview’s “Green at Work” program. It is currently the largest living roof on a free-standing commercial structure in the Greater Toronto Area.

The Xeroflor Canada XF301 Sedum Standard green roof was designed as part of the Stormwater Management Program for the Sherway Gardens Shopping Centre Expansion. Underground storage cisterns in the parking field were initially required to control stormwater quantity as an additional element. The green roof is visible from the condominium towers at Sherway Gardens Road, and this not only improves the views of the roof of the building to the neighbors in the surrounding community, but the size and storage volume capacity of the green roof offered an opportunity for the required underground cisterns to be reduced in size from the original requirement. Sherway Gardens managers say the XF301 green roof system was chosen because of the key benefits it offers including its lightweight nature and a high “water retention-to-weight ratio.” At a total profile of 65 mm (2.6″), the system weighs 60 kg/m2 (12 psf) at saturation and retains 1.4″ of rainfall with a maximum water storage of 36 l/m2. The 9,500 square meter green roof is not irrigated and is expected to absorb approximately 340,000 liters of rainfall (from bone dry to saturation). Optional stone mulch was added to the green roof adding to this weight and helping to further protect the plants and promote their growth. The vegetated roof puts Sherway Gardens on the cutting edge environmentally and from a bird’s eye view, the Toronto urban landscape is getting greener by the day.

Find more photos and additional information about this project in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.


Year: 2014
Owner: Cadillac Fairview
Location: Toronto, Canada
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Extensive
System: Custom
Size: 102,257 sq. ft.
Slope: 1%
Access: Inaccessible, Private


Designers/Manufacturers of Record:

Architect & Planning: Dialog Design
General Contractor:
PCL Constructors Canada Inc.
Bothwell Accurate
IKO – Conventional Roofing Assembly
Installation: Ginkgo Sustainability
Greenroof System:
XF301 Sedum Standard, Xeroflor Canada


Project of the Week Video Feature

Watch the Sherway Gardens Shopping Centre Expansion Project of the Week Video below or see it on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:

Did we miss your contribution? Please let us know to add you to the profile.

Would you like one of your projects to be featured? We have to have a profile first!

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof (or Wall)!

~ Linda V.

Now Playing at the Virtual Summit 2015: “The Great Green Roof Review: Success & Succession” by Jenny Hill and Terry McGlade

May 18, 2015 at 9:00 am

In celebration of honoring Earth Day 2015 and our planet’s ecology through healthy, regenerative design, we are highlighting each of the 23 awesome videos from our 30+ spectacular speakers from‘s Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2015 ~ Connecting the Planet with Living Architecture: People, Projects & Design, running through May 31st.


Our hope is that by familiarizing you more with each presentation and its particular benefits, you will be enticed to join us during our wonderfully easy-to-navigate online Virtual Summit!  And, along with the speakers’ input, I will identify 5 Key Learning Objectives or “takeaway” bullet points that each video presentation provides to participants.


Today we are spotlighting the collaborative video “The Great Green Roof Review: Success & Succession” by the soft spoken Jenny Hill, PhD candidate working on an interdisciplinary greenroof study with the Daniel’s Faculty at the University of Toronto and the gregarious Terry McGlade of Flynn Canada.  We haven’t had the pleasure of meeting the extremely knowledgeable Jenny Hill yet, but we’ve known Terry for years – probably since about 2003.

He is extremely well known and respected (he’s rather outspoken!) in our industry and before coming on board with Flynn Canada, he headed up his design/build firm Gardens in the Sky which is responsible for thousands of square feet of greenroofs in the Toronto area.


A retrospective, comprising several of the oldest roofs in North America will be presented to consider fundamental issues concerning the post-construction phases of greenroof management including the economic and environmental expenses of weeding, fertilization and irrigation of extensive greenroofs.


Jen and Terry ask: What happens when the manicured aesthetic ideal is rejected either intentionally or through neglect?  What it the long term viability of a greenroof as a piece of ecological urban infrastructure versus its survival as a horticultural canvas?  What can we learn from revisiting old projects and how can we design with the evolution of individual sites in mind?


Toronto, Canada. “Jenny Hill is a member of the Low Impact Development and Groundwater research groups, in Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto.

Her PhD research investigates the relationship between extensive green roof design decisions and their impact on urban hydrology.  Jen’s interest in this research arises from her diverse background including an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, and master’s degrees in Forensic Science and Landscape Architecture.” ~ Read her complete bio here from the VS2015.

Toronto, Canada. “Terry McGlade of Flynn Canada is one of Canada’s best known greenroof experts.  He is a creative, dynamic forward thinking horticulturalist and landscape designer with 30 years of experience and has been designing and building gardens in the Toronto area since 1982.

Terry created his first roof garden in 1985, and installed his first green roof in 1999.” ~ Read his complete bio here from the VS2015.


You will benefit from these 5 Key Learning Objectives as Jenny Hill and Terry McGlade share on the subject:

1) Jen and Terry examine 10-year old greenroofs by Terry McGlade of which 5 out of 6 are high compost roofs and 5 out of 6 were not just sedum-only roofs to consider ecological succession as an ultimate end goal of extensive green roofs; a look at the local legislative framework;

2) Examination of the post-construction phases of greenroof management – the succession of management, the classical ecological succession of how they are changing in terms of plants, soils (including compaction, erosion), etc., the change from the original design intent;

3) Six case studies that Jen surveyed over the last two summers (2013 & 2014) are presented: Earth Rangers East School, Ryerson University, Jackman Avenue School, Toronto Botanical Garden, UTSC Arts & Administration Building, and the Royal Ontario Museum;

4) Discussion of examples of “no maintenance greenroofs” – what to expect; the importance of using local native plants; managing client expectations in terms of change over time;

5) In some cases you can go back and revitalize greenroofs to make them healthier – perhaps every 5-10 years we need to do that, look at plant colonies, soils as they are closed systems.  Ask yourself, are they still working?  We need an ever changing “Green Roofs 2.0” dialogue.

Watch the 31:04 “The Great Green Roof Review: Success & Succession” by Jenny Hill and Terry McGlade now playing at the Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2015.  If you have not yet registered (only $49 or 25), please do:

Registration fee:

$49 – special discounted pricing;

$25 for students/faculty and government professionals

All Video Presentations, Q & A Transcripts, & Exhibitor Booths are On Demand +
Networking Live 24/7 through May 31, 2015

Earn CEUs including 10 GRP CEUs.  Register here.



Registration Open through May 31st for the Virtual Summit 2015

We hope you will support our work!  Please remember that these video presentations will not be made public for at least one year.

Happy watching and participating,

~ Linda V.

Learn more about these awesome video presentations and their 5 Key Learning Objectives at the Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2015:

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

“Biodiversity in the Sky – How Green Roofs Can Be Designed as Wild Life Refuges” by Dr. Stephan Brenneisen.

Green Roofs to New Cities” by Dr. Diana Balmori.

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

“Beyond Extensive and Intensive: Defining the Comprehensive Green Roof” by Molly Meyer.

“Biosolar Roofs” by Nathalie Baumann and Dusty Gedge.

“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.

“Greening Rooftops in Alberta: People, Place + Projects” by Kerry Ross.

“Greening the World Inside and Outside” by Mark Paul.

“Greenwalls in Middle Earth” by Graham Cleary.

“Pollinators on the Parapets” by Angie Durhman.

“Small Scale Green Roofs” by Dusty Gedge and John Little.

“Social Healing with Greening” Panel – Part 1 with Patrick Carey, Peter Ensign, and George Irwin.

“Social Healing with Greening” Panel – Part 2 with Patrick Carey and Darius Jones.

“Soil Ecological Processes on Green Roofs: Research and Observation Meet Theory and Intuition” Inspiration Nook video by Christine Thuring.

“Stewardship of Rooftop Ecosystems” by Michael Furbish, Brad Garner, and Dr. Whitney Griffin.

“The Development of Revolutionary Large Scale Vegetated Infrastructure Projects in Latin America and the Foundation of a New Industry” by Pablo Atuesta.