Search
Back to Home Page
Home   |   Contact Us Ph: 443-345-1578

Green Roof Technology Blog

Mid Atlantic Green Roof Symposium Wrap Up

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, August 22, 2012

by Andrew Yanders


Mr. Toad doesn't care to reinvent the wheel.

Last Thursday and Friday Jorg and I subjected ourselves to the horrendous Baltimore - DC traffic and attended the The First Annual Mid-Atlantic Green Roof Science & Technology Symposium at the University of Maryland.  The title of the symposium was "Redefining Green Roof Science" and the mission statement clearly states why:

Standards for green roof performance have not been established. The MGRST symposium is dedicated to disseminating results of scientific research that will lead to the establishment of green roof performance standards for the Mid-Atlantic region.

Year after year we attended similar academic conferences and each year we are confronted with the same     experiments and the same conclusions, all of which we know have been done and confirmed a decade ago in Germany.  For us, the researchers are only confirming what we believe to already be ‘common sense.’  We are certainly not disparaging the work of researchers who are attempting to better understand the green roof field they have recently entered.  What we truly regret is the inability of academic researchers to acquire and process the information already available rather than attempting to reinvent the wheel.     

What the green roof industry needs from its academic partners is a strict methodology and process to assess all the green roof components / complete systems available on the market.  Nearly a decade ago, the Green Roof Media Testing Laboratory was successfully implemented at Penn State University and has undoubtedly beneficially impacted the green roof industry.  A similar manufacture’s test for all other green roof components would best serve the entire green roof industry by setting minimum requirements and disabling inferior products from being dumped on the market.  

Episcopal Academy Green Roof Check-up

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, August 20, 2012

By Andrew Yanders

Last Friday I drove up to Newtown Square, PA to check-up on two green roofs we installed earlier this summer at the Episcopal Academy.  I was joined by two of our Philly friends from Urban Ecoforms, Zach and Jared.  

July was a remarkable month.  The extreme heat coupled with the lack of precipitation made the first days of establishment especially stressful.  We placed the roofs on a strict regime of water - beginning with the first week and gradually reducing the amount of water week by week until irrigation ceased after 4 weeks.  

As expected, many of the plants did exceptionally well.  Notably, Delosperma cooperi and Allium schoenoprasum had no problem handling the conditions.  Our Sedum cuttings did not fare so well.  The surface of the growing media dried too quickly and became too hot for roots to adequately form.

This hot area on the roof where the cuttings did not establish well was planted with a couple of trays of Sedum sexangulare and Sedum reflexum and a five gallon buckets worth of assorted Sedum cuttings was again spread.  The weather has cooled significantly in August and we feel the Sedum cuttings should establish nicely this time.

Planting a green roof is not a precise science.  Trial and error is the only way to find out if a species is going to work or not in a specific location.  We are finding out on the Academy roof that shading is creating two distinct zones on the small 700 sf roof.  The temperature and exposure difference between the two zones is dramatically impacting the growing habits of the plants on the roof.  

Station Mall Going Green

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, July 26, 2012

by Andrew Yanders

Along the banks of the St. Laurence River in Sault Ste. Marie, ON sits the Station Mall.  The expansive 42 acre plot dominates the town's waterfront.  When viewed from above the entire property is an island of asphalt and rubber roofing.  This impervious area creates an incredible 28 million gallons of stormwater runoff each year, equivalent to 42 Olympic swimming pools.  Last month Jorg and Andrew traveled to Ontario to meet with an executive team from the Mall and discuss ways to improve the environmental performance the property.  Green Roof Technology is proud to report they have signed a contract with the Station Mall to create a 'Greening Master Plan' for the Station Mall.  Designs are under way, so stayed tuned for updates, but in the mean time enjoy some photos of our most recent trip to beautiful Sault Ste. Marie.

A new boardwalk provides pedestrians an enjoyable passage from the town center to the historical Sault Ste. Marie Canal and beyond to the Whitefish Island natural preserve.  

A brief stop at the Baltimore Convention Center Roof Garden

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, July 25, 2012

by Ryan Miller

This past Friday I traveled into the heart of Baltimore City to visit the roof garden atop the Convention Center.  On the second floor huge floor to ceiling windows frame the roof garden and encourage visitors to take a step out into nature.  With benches and tables scattered throughout the garden, you can tell the owner's intent was to bring people outside, not only to look onto the city surrounding them, but to sit down and enjoy the unique natural environment.

The roof garden was completed in 2010.  Initially, the Convention Center was only going to receive a new waterproof membrane, but the roofing company, Barrett Company, suggested the owners go above and beyond the traditional upgrade and take part of a growing trend, bringing nature back to our urban areas.  I for one am glad the Convention Center owner had the foresight and courage to install a roof garden and did not succumb to the hesitance many property owners do when deciding to go with green roofs.  

Throughout the hundreds of Black Eyed Susan’s in the garden you will see numerous bees flying about.  No need to worry though, they have too big of a playground to concern themselves with visitors.

During my visit, the national Firemans & EMT convention brought in thousands of visitors to the Convention Center.  Many of them took time to eat their lunch and relax in this oasis just two stories up from busy Pratt steet, which you could almost hear none of. 

As I visit other cities I’m jealous of the green spaces they have for people to just relax and take in nature.  I’m glad I visited this roof garden as I now have a place to show off to visitors and colleagues alike.

I plan on adding this roof to our tour of Baltimore City green roofs on September 13th.  Please email me if you are interested in attending this tour, Ryan@hvccb.com.  

Heat Wave 2012

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Friday, July 06, 2012

 

The unceasing heatwave gripping the Northeast is quickly moving into the absurd.  With temperatures consistently hovering around 100º F there are few places outdoors you would consider pleasant.  Especially not a roof top smack in the middle of New York City, straddled by an interstate highway. Despite the Extreme Heat Advisory, we decided to send Andrew back to the Park & Rec Building to check up again on the Sun-Roots.  

Andrew was happy to report that the sweat pouring from his brow was more than enough to irrigate the sun-baked Sedums.  During conditions like these we continue to be amazed at the ability of Sedum to thrive in such extreme hot and dry conditions in minimal growth media.  Stressing times like these are good for the Sedums, it develops their hardiness.  It is important not to spoil your green roof plants by irrigating them.  They may suffer a little bit, but they will survive and reestablish themselves even stronger for the next heatwave.  

Biodiversity on Extensive Green Roofs

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, July 03, 2012

By Kat Harrold


Photo by ~ Jorg Breuning

Despite issues of limited growing media depth and access an extensive green roof still offers a lot of potential for creating biodiversity.  The shallow system is capable of supporting a variety of drought tolerant herbaceous plants, succulents and grasses providing food and shelter year round.  Many insects and birds have found their way onto this type of green roof orchestrating ecological webs and food chains.  The limited accessibility of the green roof to terrestrial animals also offers sanctuary to ground nesting birds.  

 

 

 

Episcopal Academy Raises the Roof

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, June 28, 2012

By Kat Harrold

 

Photos by Jorg Breuning

As the procession of minivans dropped off their little darlings for another exciting day at summer camp the sound of heavy machinery and green roof construction joined the chorus.  Green Roof Technology and UrbanEcoforms with the help of the Episcopal Academy's green roof advocates Joe and John made record time with the installation of the Episcopal Academy's first two green roofs.

The already eco-minded school has an impressive collection of energy efficient buildings and outdoor learning opportunities.  The green roofs are an invaluable asset in expanding their commitment to the environment and hands on learning.

Both green roofs are visible from glass hallways providing excellent observation of seasonal changes.  The extensive green roofs feature a mix of sedum plugs and cuttings with a grass swale and picturesque clusters of allium. 

 

 

 

                                                                              

 

 

Biodiversity and Semi-Intensive Green Roofs

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, June 26, 2012

By Kat Harrold

Photo by ~ Jorg Breuning

They say variety is the spice of life and this indeed tends to be the case when creating a green roof to promote biodiversity.  Green roofs with both intensive and extensive portions have been found to support the highest amount of biodiversity.  The combination of sedum meadow, grasses, and shrubs provides not just food but shelter for several species.  More information covering biodiversity on semi-intensive green roofs can be found on our case studies page in "Where the Beetles are Crawling and the Honey Bees are Humming." 

Visit us next week as we conclude our biodiversity segment with biodiversity on extensive green roofs!

 

 

Revolutionary Philadelphia Green Roof

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, June 21, 2012

By Kat Harrold

 

Image by Realen Properties

Philadelphia has one of the most progressive green roof programs in the country.  Their support for green roofs in based on an aggressive stormwater management plan to hold all run off on site.  Beginning late this fall, The Philadelphia Convention Center Parking Facility will open utilizing an architectural marvel featuring a combined blue roof and green roof system designed by Green Roof Technology and Realen Properties.

Green roofs and blue roofs are both great for capturing stormwater onsite.  Green roofs retain water by acting like a giant sponge while blue roofs hold the water on the roof similar to a rooftop swimming pool.  Blue roofs may hold more water than green roofs during intense storm events, however the standing water can create stress on the building and breed mosquitoes and bacteria.  The revolutionary green roof on The Convention Center Parking Facility combines only the best of both these technologies.  The green roof has an extra deep profile affording higher water storage capacity.  In addition to the added growing media, a specially designed insert for the roof drains holds water up to a couple of inches within the lower layers of the growing media.  When a 100 year storm event occurs this insert has an overflow mechanism allowing the roof to drain freely once the max saturation level has been reached.      

Beauty and intelligence are key to the success of this project.  Not only is the function of the green roof innovative and practical, the aesthetic will be just as exquisite.  The green roof will be visible from the Philadelphia Convention Center and accordingly will feature an eye catching seasonal display of color through a mixture of native ever greens, grasses, and perennials.  Crocus, and daffodils burst with color in the spring providing seasonal interest.  In the fall and winter months scarlet mahonia and evergreen ferns add to the festive decor.



Creating Biodiversity Through Rooftop Farming?

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, June 19, 2012

By Kat Harrold

 

Photo By ~ Kat Harrold

Rooftop farming has the allure of self-reliance in a world of food uncertainties.

It is well known that urban agriculture on rooftops has recreational and educational value. However when it comes to economy and ecology these little pieces of intensive used land in polluted cities are more than questionable.

Depending on crop selection rooftop farms can provide habitat for several pollinators. At the same time they also provide food and shelter for insects, birds, and small mammals that might not be wanted. On ground remote locations it is very difficult and labor intensive creating a natural balance among wanted and unwanted organisms. Finally it depends on your goal, the time you like to invest, how much additional weight your roof can carry and last but not least your experience and knowledge in farming on impervious areas. Potentially urban agriculture on roofs or rooftop farms can be a diverse environment or – most likely - a monoculture stage for chemical warfare between man and nature.


Join us next week as we cover bio-diversity on semi-intensive green roofs!


Follow Us!

RSSGreen Roof Tech Blog
RSSGreen Roof Plant Blog


Recent Posts


Tags


Archive

Latest Blog Posts
  1. Best Green Roof Solution Green Team at Green Roof Technology, 02-Oct-2017
  2. Health Care and Green Infrastructure Green Team at Green Roof Technology, 01-Jun-2017
Facebook   Twitter   LinkedIn   Google+   YouTube
Testimonials
"We sought Mr. Breuning as a lecturer because his company represents one of the most successful, technically advanced, and progressive businesses associated with green roof technology in the USA."

Duncan H.
Program Manager
New York Botanical Garden
Go To Resources Page