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'Sun-Root' FAQ's Answered

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, February 23, 2012

By Kat Harrold

Photos ~ by Optigrun

Since the release of our Sun Root living roof system we have been receiving a lot of questions about the benefits of this system and what makes it so different from other solar panel or photovoltaic (PV) systems.

To answer these questions we have composed an information packet which shines a light on the most frequently asked questions.  

 

Some of the topics in this packet include :

 

EXTENSIVE GREEN ROOF IRRIGATION – WHY?

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, February 21, 2012

 By Andrew Yanders

Here at Green Roof Technology we are often confronted with a perplexing industry occurrence.  Frequently we visit extensive green roof sites or monitor extensive green roof projects online that have installed an irrigation system.  It is difficult to justify the necessity of an irrigation system for extensive green roofs.  Sedums, other low growing succulent species, many grasses, and herbaceous plants require no irrigation.  The proper selection of plant species is crucial and species not suited for extensive green roof purposes should not be used.  An irrigation system wastes potable water on plants that do not need it.  This excess water only serves to promote the growth of unwanted plants from foreign origins.

Four to five inch extensive green roof systems are well suited to most regions and do not require irrigation.  (Depending on when the extensive green roof is installed, a temporary irrigation program may be necessary during the establishment phase until the cooler months.)  Weight-saving systems less than 4 inches are typically designed with an irrigation system to compensate for their inability to retain sufficient water for the plants’ needs.  If the purpose of an extensive green roof is to retain stormwater, then why design a system that does not retain water sufficiently and requires the use of additional potable water?  It is again difficult to justify the need for an irrigation system on extensive green roofs.  

Green Roof Technology has recommended that local governments establish a clear consumer-oriented guideline for the best-practice in extensive green roof construction in their communities.  This document would clear-up any misunderstandings among potential green roof investors and serve well to educate the wider public on the functions of the various layers involved in green roof systems.  

An excerpt from the City of Stuttgart’s “Green Roof–How to do?” handbook is well suited to be referenced:

  • In extensive roof planting a minimal depth of soil is used (generally less than 15 cm), with the objective of being able to leave the planting to its own devices after an initial establishment phase.  Plants selected for such conditions are able to survive on a long term basis with minimal reserves of moisture and nutrients.  

Additionally:
  • The construction of an extensive roof garden is the same irrespective of the system that is employed.  The first layer, a root protection membrane, is laid directly on top of the waterproof roof surface.  Above this comes a drainage layer, then filter mat and on top of this the planting medium.

The City of Stuttgart’s green roof handbook is an excellent source of information on extensive green roofs and provides critical information for anyone looking to invest in a green roof.  Green Roof Technology has work with the City of New York and the City of Lancaster to develop similar books on green roofs.  We believe it would benefit everyone if local governments across North America adopted a similar program and published a how-to-green roof document for their citizens.  Green Roof Technology would be pleased to work with your community to create a suitable green roof handbook for your citizens.



Akron University Green Roof

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Friday, February 17, 2012

By Andrew Yanders

 

Rendering by ~ Kat Harrold

Green Roof Technology is pleased to announce its newest partnership with Irie Kynyk Goss Architects.  IKG Architects, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, is a well-respected architectural and engineering service firm that specializes in the design and construction of environmentally conscious facilities.  Green Roof Technology and IKG Architects will collaborate to design Akron University’s first green roof.  Green Roof Technology has a proud history of working with leading educational institutions to establish their first green roofs, see Swarthmore & Carnegie Mellon.  The green roof on the Sydney L. Olson Research Center will be an 18,000 sf. extensive system planted with a diverse variety of sedums and hardy flowers and herbs.  The Olson Research Center green roof will be the first monolithic, or wall-to-wall, green roof on a university building in Ohio.  

The Podium Roof Garden at Toronto City Hall Case Study

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Friday, February 10, 2012

By Jorg Breuning 

Photo - By Jorg Breuning

In an earlier posting we highlighted the Podium Roof Garden and how it has fallen victim to a psychology of unobtainable and opportunistic design expectations and the consequences have been expensive.  After a deeper analysis of the project we have compiled a case study covering this highly visible example of a green roof designed and constructed in a mistaken fashion. The aim of any green roof, or any other kind of BMP, is to create a sustainable, low-maintenance environment in the most cost-effective way possible.

Two key factors led to the writing of this study: an independent inspection of the site on November 2011 and the subsequent investigation into the project, which was highlighted by the discovery of the exceptionally high cost per square foot).  In this case study Green Roof Technology (GRT) will report that the landscape architect’s design for the green roof led to higher installation costs and higher future maintenance costs, which were not included in the total cost of the green roof.  By not employing the most economical approach to green roof design and construction, the City of Toronto missed an opportunity to either reduce costs by more than 50% or install another green roof of similar type and even greater area.

Toronto must remain a progressive city, rewarding its citizens with a safe, healthy, and beautiful place to live. The green roof program is an essential aspect of Toronto’s long-term goals. What is required of the city, and of any other city in North America, is to establish a clear consumer-oriented guideline for the best-practice in green roof construction. An industry wide effort must be made to reduce the market price of designing and installing green roofs. The result will benefit the multitude over the few in the decades to come.

Click here for the full version of this case study.


FLL Revisited

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, February 07, 2012

By Andrew Yanders

Edited by - Kat Harrold

Photo ~ Jorg Breuning

The FLL Green Roofing Guideline first appeared in 1982 as the “Principles of Green Roofing” and since 1992 has been reworked many times as “Guideline for the Planning, Construction and Maintenance of Green Roofing – Green Roofing Guideline.”  It is recognized as the benchmark set of regulations for green roofing in Germany.  The FLL Roof Greening Guideline is also widely accepted abroad and serves in some neighboring countries as the basis for developing their own regulations.

This latest edition covers the 2008 edition of the FLL Green Roofing Guideline.  The preface clearly states the importance and relevancy of the Guideline and the constant diligence taken to adapt and outline the newest developments in the green roofing industry.  The Guideline is the result of unpaid technical and scientific cooperative work and is intended to be a recognized code of practice or State-of-the-Art; it is a basic tool for the planning, construction and maintenance of reliable and high quality performing green roofs.  The Guideline also includes transparent, consumer oriented testing methods for the investigation of vegetation, substrates and aggregate drainage materials and the investigation of resistance to root penetration of roof membranes and protective layers. 

Three sections of this paper provide a brief summary of the three major components of the Green Roofing Guideline:  Planning, Execution, and Maintenance.  It is important to note that the Guideline requires a fundamental background in horticultural science and engineering principals.  The Guideline is not an IKEA step-by-step construction manual designed to enable any Do-It-Yourself project. 

Click here to read the full version.

IDS 2012 - Interior Design Show in Toronto Rolls Out the Emerald Carpet

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, February 01, 2012

By Kat Harrold

IDS Show Floor ~ Photos by Jorg Breuning

Green Roof Technology is back from the premier interior design show in Canada IDS 2012.  At this show we were presented with the design challenge, "How do you live urban?" and responded with a challenge of our own, "How do you make the urban environment alive?" 

One of the most obvious and easiest ways to add green to the urban environment and make it come a live is to create a balcony garden or balcony green roof.  Where ground space is limited or not available at all, a balcony garden is the perfect solution for that green transition from inside to out.  Depending on your space, a green roof may be an easy low maintenance option.  For a more formal effect planters can be used to add a splash of color and create a dynamic space with height and texture.

For making a seamless transition from the outdoors in a green wall offers a compact and space saving solution.   Tropical plants offer a full pallet of color, shapes, and textures making even the bleakest winter days feel bright and lively.

During the warmer months or for a hotel lobby, a moss wall is a great alternative to a regular cement wall.  Studies have shown that the color green helps people relax which can often be a difficult achievement in the stress filled urban environment.  Meditation aside, the quality of air will be increased due to the filtration qualities of the vegetation. 

Vegetation, water, and fire all add exciting elements to our environment.  Some are green in color and others are green in function.  When selecting a fire feature, fountain, or green wall consider the carbon foot print of the feature.  Woodless fire pits are green alternatives just a closed system vegetated walls are the greener solution for irrigated green walls.


 

 



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