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Lancaster Green Roofs Receive a Little More Green

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, April 25, 2013

By Andrew Yanders


E. King Fire Station after receiving 70 lbs. of Sedum Cuttings.  Five varieties of cuttings were spread that day and 6 varieties of   herbaceous plugs

Last week I traveled to the City of Lancaster to oversee the install of 155 lbs. of Sedum cuttings on the Dewatering Building and E. King Street Fire Station green roofs.  Both green roofs were installed earlier this year during the winter months.  The Dewatering green roof was installed January 22nd through the 25th and just under two months later Fire Station green roof was installed. 

There is a common misconception that green roofs cannot be constructed and vegetation planted during the winter months.  Actually, we believe installing green roofs when spring is just around the corner is ideal.   The weather may not be to the likely of many fair-weather green roofers, but for those who are willing to brace the cold and wet, the payback for the client is well worth it.  By establishing the vegetation in its new soil media prior to the start of the growing season, plants are able to jump start their growth and the first 2 months of the growing season can be equal to more than 6 months of growth if the same plants were planted later in the year.  Unfortunately, too often vegetation (in this case the Sedum cuttings) is not available until the spring when it is more advantageous for the nursery.

It was so cold the week we installed the Dewatering Building’s green roof that the growing media and Sedum mats arrived frozen solid.  The growing media had to be defrosted overnight inside the garage portion of the building and the Sedum mats that could not be unrolled were left out in the sun for one day.  Despite being completely frozen prior to install, the health of the Sedum mats was not compromised at all. 

There is one detail that must be given special attention when planting during the winter months.  When planting plugs, it is critical that they are planted as deep as possible.  If this requires loosening or removing a portion of the bottom, so be it.  But if they are not planted deep and the soil well compacted around them, then plugs will migrate up out of the soil during periods of freeze and thaw.  This can happen to the extent that a plug becomes completely removed from the soil, exposing the root system to the elements, and often results in the plug withering and dying.  Plugs are not cheap and a negligent planting technique is a waste of the client’s money. 

 

The color of the Sedum mats on the upper portion of the Dewatering Building's green roof has changed from mostly reds to a variety of lush greens.  New growth is abundant.  

Preparing the soil for Sedum cuttings is critical.  Because the soil was installed several weeks prior, the top layer of the soil needed to be loosens and leveled.  This increases the contact area between the soil and the cuttings, promoting more abundant rooting.

Even though there was a light rain while spreading the cuttings, we still watered the green roof.  We wanted to ensure there was uniform moisture throughout the roof, but also the moisture helps to hold the cuttings in place until they begin to root out in a few days.  

First Steps to Planning a Green Roof

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, April 23, 2013

 By: Samantha Yurek

Happy Earth Week! Hopefully everyone has taken some time out of their busy lives to lend a hand to our beautiful planet we inhabit. Whether it is picking up some litter, planting a tree or deciding to go all out and look into acquiring a green roof! Here are a few things you should have a good idea of before you leap into the planning process.

1. How sturdy is your roof?  Adding growing media and plants to your rooftop adds weight to your structure. Make sure your roof can handle some extra weight first. Find out the materials and structure of your building.

2. Is your roof sloped?  A slight slope is perfectly fine, but anything steeper than 15 degrees, the roof might become a slide for the plants without additional constructive design.

3. How much are you willing to spend?  Implementing a green roof is an investment for the future. Simple extensive vegetated roofs usually cost around $10-$15 a square foot (pre-grown planter boxes or modular systems are more expensive). Many local programs will help pay for green infrastructure, based on the environmental benefits. 

4. What type of green roof are you looking for?  A simple meadow-like area, not accessible and mainly for the environmental benefits (extensive) or an intensive roof, complete with recreational room and the potential for larger plants such as trees.

5. How are the sunlight conditions?  The majority of green roof plants enjoy direct sunlight to flourish. If the building is situated in a heavily shade area, the green roof plant selection becomes limited.

6. Do you want an integrated solar green roof?  The Sun-Root™ System is the newest of technologies, a fully integrated system and an ideal symbiosis of PV panels and an extensive green roof. It is easy to install and will not penetrate the roof. The entire system has the potential to pay back within 5 years and also meets stormwater requirements in all cities of North America.

 

Do your homework first before deciding on a green roof, our website is a great starting point to increase your green roof knowledge. If you're interested in a green roof or have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us, we would be happy to help you get started today!

Green Roof Technology Partners with Anacostia Watershed Society

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Friday, April 19, 2013

By: Samantha Yurek


Photo Credit: Anacostia Watershed Society

Green Roof Technology has recently partnered with the Anacostia Watershed Society; an organization dedicated to keeping the Anacostia River clean and healthy. Through our partnership we hope to achieve a common goal to increase green spaces and to protect our Anacostia River watershed which runs through our nation's capital and into Maryland. Since 1989, the Anacostia Watershed Society has been the first organization dedicated to protecting the Anacostia River.

ThAnacostia Watershed Society had recently put forth a Green Roof Rebate Program, aimed to encourage residents and building owners to reduce their stormwater runoff on-site and decrease the burden on the District's Combined Sewer Overflow. Available for residential, commercial and institutional properties, this rebate program will reimburse you with $5 per square foot of green space implemented on the property.For most commercial green roofs, that rebate can reduce your overall costs dramatically.

The District Government's Green Roof Rebate Program is administered by the Anacostia Watershed Society and encourages to contact us to see if they are eligible. Feel free to check out the Anacostia Watershed Society homepage here.


Photo Credit: Anacostia Watershed Society

Extensive verses Intensive - Which Would You Choose?

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, April 16, 2013

By: Samantha Yurek 

A lot of thought goes into the design process when starting a green roof project. One of the biggest questions involves the type of green roof you want; extensive or intensive? This decision will dictate everything that will need to happen for your green roof to become a success. Let us take a quick look at the differences between intensive and extensive green roofs.


Extensive Green Roof: Swarthmore College of PA, Photo Credit: Green Roof Technology

Extensive green roofs are considered the simpler version because the roof structure is usually equipped to withstand the little bit of extra weight. With only a maximum of 6" of growing media and mostly ground cover covering plants, and extensive roof is certainly of a lower profile. The plants consist mainly of sedums and other succulents, herbs, grasses, mosses and low-growing perennials. An extensive roof is mainly for environmental benefits and and occasionally accessible to the public. Extensive green roofs can be excellent combined with Solar panels what increases the environmental benefits and increases return of investment substantially.


Intensive Green Roof: The Ledge Restaurant in Boston, Photo Credit: High View Creations

Intensive green roofs on the other hand can become quite extravagant. The roof must be very sturdy in order to hold foot traffic, deeper growing media and larger plants. The plants found on an intensive green roof range from shrubs and perennials to larger trees. Accents such as ponds and recreational spaces are a possibility. An intensive green roof is a busy and more expensive system with more potential for greater designs and biodiversity.

Stormwater Fee Looming Overhead

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, April 11, 2013

 By: Samantha Yurek


Photo Credit: The United States Geological Survey

The Chesapeake Bay is the heart of Maryland. Not only does it fuel our economy and recreational activities, with over 64,000 square miles it is home to over 2,700 different species of flora and fauna. It is an important resource that should be cared for adequately.

Excessive runoff is a huge culprit of transporting trash, chemicals, nutrients, along with other things that end up polluting the bay. With storm season lurking around the corner, Maryland is trying to prevent these mini flood events from polluting the Bay even more.  To mitigate for these rushing stormwater events, stormwater fees  will soon be added to everyone's quarterly water bill. There is no avoiding this fee that will essentially be paying for the impervious surface area one has on their property. Residential properties won't have such a heavy fine, but businesses may have to start paying a pretty penny. For example, take a look at any mall, the entire property is a combination of roof and blacktop.

The stormwater fee may be something you worry about, but there are ways to reduce the fees.  Planting trees, implementing rain gardens, and most importantly, adding vegetation to your rooftop are all proven ways to earn credits toward reducing the cost of the fees. Let's strive to keep Maryland beautiful; the Chesapeake Bay thanks you.


Photo Credit: Green Roof Technology

Living Green in Airports

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Incheon International, Seoul

Photo: penny_7b /Flickr


Seoul's massive airport is a popular destination for connecting fliers headed to other parts of East Asia from the Americas and Europe. Thanks to its comfortable transit seating areas, expansive duty-free shopping mall and airy main terminal, Incheon earned the highest overall score on the 2012 Skytrax customer satisfaction survey. Incheon also is one of the world's most family-friendly airports. Not only does it have a children's play area, but also childcare lounges and nursing rooms. Older kids might enjoy spending some pent-up energy at the Ice Forest, a large skating rink in the airside terminal.  
 
Other bonuses: This is one of the few airports in the world where you can get free access to a computer and Wi-Fi. Incheon has an impressive seven gardens in the passenger terminal and one in the transportation center. Finally, a free cultural center features exhibits on Korean culture and traditional dance and folk music performances.

Photo: penny_7b /Flickr

10 airports where you'll welcome a layover at mnn.com

Education & Green Roofs - A Learning Experience

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, April 03, 2013

By: Samantha Yurek     

                 
                                                     Photocredit: The Calhoun School

The Calhoun School in NYC is a great example of a school utilizing green roof space to form environmental curriculum and promote a hands on learning experience. Back in May of 2005, renovations presented the perfect chance to retro-fit the building with a brand new intensive green roof. The green roof wasn't simply installed for environmental benefits; these renovations created a unique opportunity for outdoor science classrooms and an herb garden in the heart of an urban space. 

Implementing intensive green roofs, extensive green roofs or educational rooftop farms within urban schools would be a great learning tool as well as a benefit to the environment. Besides the obvious positive environmental aspects (stormwater mitigation, insulation, urban heat island relief, etc.) this green space can be used as an outdoor classroom, gardening space or for research.

Incorporating environmental education into an elementary cirriculum is beneficial for two main reasons. Learning to respect the environment at an early age is relatable to environmental ethics later in life. An environmentally friendly routine during childhood makes it more likely that these habits will continue down the road. And spending secondly, spending time outside improves self-esteem, motivation, reading ability and imagination, along with calming capabilities and decreases stress levels.

In the current age of technology, it is easy to spend the majority of your day staring into a glowing screen considering our dependence on computers, smart phones, TVs and e-readers amongst others. Children especially spend a significant amount of time with electronics as companions, inside and outside of school. I may still be in my early twenties, but within the past decade trends have quickly changed; my childhood was spent outside, no internet, no cable, and no smart phones, unlike today. The consequence of a lack of time spent outside has been researched in depth by journalist and author, Richard Louv. He has deemed this phenomenon as Nature Deficit Disorder, and explains the issues associated with a lack of nature in childhood in his book "Last Child in the Woods," published in 2005.

Intensive green roofs can bring a whole new set of opportunities right into the classroom. Hands on experiences, the potential for learning about and growing fresh food, and an on-site outdoor classroom are a few worth mentioning.


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