By Kat Harrold GRP
Photo courtesy of greenroofs.com
Charlies' opening broadcast was very informative perspective on the evolution of green roofs in the US and how there have been some misconceptions about the feasibility of these living structures. One very interesting and key thing to remember from his talk was that while there may be a certain level of guilt about our built environment and the nature that it has displaced you simply can't "bring back" the landscape that originally occupied the city. The geographic location may be the same as it once was but the micro-climate of a city roof on a windy street is drastically different from that of a deciduous forest floor.
Other presentations that followed were a very inspiring and entertaining discussion panel with Christine Thuring, Nathalie Baumann, Gary Grant, and Dusty Gedge. Very excited to see so much research done on the older roofs and the long term ecological benefits and community's one can encourage.
Ralph Valazquez from Tremco gave a great presentation on corporate social responsibility. I find that there are times where it seem that businesses and corporations have more power to change the quality of life in an area than the government. Kudos to you Ralph for leading such a community and socially responsible organization and for encouraging others to do the same.
Chris Walk gave a refreshingly honest and informative presentation on Ranking Energy Benefits by Mission, Climate and Construction. Through careful analysis of elements effecting a building's energy usage Chris examined several different types of buildings in various climates and how green roofs effected their energy usage. In short far as the question "How much energy can I save with a green roof?" is concerned it's all relative. In general green roofs can save energy for a building but that amount depends greatly on the construction of the building and location.
Nigel Dunnet gave a stunning presentation on options for designing ecologically diverse green roofs with a large visual impact. Many times while the function of a green roof may be successful often it is visual boring or sterile. Nigel also provided many wonderful approaches for maximizing seasonal and visual interest while still providing a richly diverse environment and functioning green roof.
The last presentation of the day was done by the Portland Ecoroof Program. For anyone looking to start a green movement in their area this is a wonderful presentation for inspiration. This presentation explored the history of green roofs in Portland and how the Portland Ecoroof Program grew from one green roof on a garage to over 30 acres of green roofs across the city.
Very nice presentations and much needed topics for the industry. Tomorrow is sure to be equally as exciting! I can't wait to see what green wall artist Patric Blanc has in store!