Nashville is known for its sold out shows, and I’ve just returned where we held our very own successful “Power Panel” at IRE yesterday! (Yeah, they misspelled my name, then later fixed it in the program.)
With greenroofing at the forefront, our 90-minute power panel of vegetated roof leaders featured:
Joanne Rodriguez, Moderator, owner of GreenStructure, Ltd and Mycocycle, LLC;
Mary Ann Uhlmann, GRP, President and Founder of Urban Horticulture Consulting;
Elizabeth Hart Morris, CDT, GRP, Director of Vegetated Roofing Assemblies at Henry Company;
and me, Linda Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP, founder and publisher of Greenroofs.com.
Entitled “Vegetated Roofing: A 10-Year Perspective on Growth and Opportunities,” our session had a great group of over 90 professionals. We surveyed the audience and the clear bulk of attendees were roofing contractors ~ I suppose this should be no surprise since, after all it is the International Roofing Expo! Followed by project managers, owners, developers, and facility managers, our audience also included a small number of designers such as architects and horticulturalists.
We discussed trends and market drivers, lessons learned, industry innovations, and how contractors can build a profitable business around green infrastructure. Yet even with 90 minutes, there was much more we wanted to talk about! But we had a great discussion and interaction with our audience, who wanted to know more.
We left our audience with the message that greenroofs were well-established green infrastructure and that, with the proper information and training, these roofing professionals could be part of its construction leadership in the future!
Tremco-sponsored Welcome Party
On Monday night we were treated to the sold out Welcome Party sponsored by Tremco Roofing and Building Maintenance at the Nashville Underground, which was packed. Live music played in the background amidst several floors while people met up with friends and colleagues, enjoyed awesome food, and had a drink or two. There was even a mechanical bull for those so-inclined (not sure how much fun that would be after a few beers).
Joanne took me around and introduced me to so many lovely Tremco people, along with numerous other folks she has known throughout her years in the business.
Thanks, Tremco Roofing and Building Maintenance, for hosting a great party!
Music City Center Greenroof Tour
To begin with, I had a pretty unobstructed view of the Nashville Music City Center from my hotel – too bad the weather was wet and dreary or I could have taken some awesome photos!
Overcast with rain threatening, the day was not only chilly, but also extremely blustery on the MCC Greenroof Tour yesterday.
John Robinson of Sika Sarnafil (that’s John above on the MCC on a bright and sunny day in August, 2015) led the largest group ever to see the MCC greenroof, according to the facilities engineer who escorted us up. We were informed that the MCC does not organize tours and this was a special event for IRE, so we were very pleased.
With John’s usual affable and professional self, as our tour guide he gave us lots of great info on the construction and maintenance of the 4-acre vegetated roof, and answered tons of questions.
The 100,000 bees’ worth of bee hives were a lovely sight, located adjacent to the roof entrance.
At this time of year, the living roof had scattered dormant brownish patches amidst the various colors of greens. We ambled through the hills and valleys of the white non-vegetated diamond patterned membrane areas and were quite impressed at the scale of the MCC rooftop.
Although the greened portions only contain 191,000 square feet, John explained its entire roof space totals about 1 million square feet which includes the numerous vertical opening surfaces covered in membrane.
The Expo itself was massive in scale (like the greenroof), and was packed on both days I was able to go. With a virtual sea of roofing products and accessories of every sort to be seen, it was very apparent that greenroofing was not part of it. Except for Sika Sarnafil’s booth with a aerial photo of the MCC, I didn’t see any other photos – let alone products – associated with vegetative roofs (now, I don’t claim to have visited every booth – far from it, so I might be wrong).
This seemed at odds to me since it was a roofing conference, but perhaps this lack of interest might reflect the general feeling of roofing contractors that this is not their arena (yet)?
It would be great to have more synergy between traditional roofing groups and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities to help not only grow the industry, but also do it with best practices. Of course, there may be potential conflicts of interest here, too.
The Only Green Building-related Session
One item I’d like to point out is the fact that ours was the only green building-related session in the 2019 International Roofing Expo Conference Program!
In any case, the four of us on our power panel had a lovely time enjoying the sights, tastes, and sounds of Nashville; meeting new roofing people and visiting with a bunch of seasoned colleagues; seeing some interesting booths and products at the Expo; and in my case, getting up onto the MCC roof for the first time.
The International Roofing Expo, the roofing industry’s largest annual event, drew thousands to Nashville for the its time and next year, IRE will be held in Dallas on February 4-6, 2020.
With so much interest in our topic of green infrastructure and living architecture, perhaps in the future IRE will provide more related topics! They might if we ask for it, don’t you agree?