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Pittsburgh Goes Green

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, June 14, 2012

By Kat Harrold

 

Photo by Jorg Breuning

This past week Kat Harrold joined Ian Cooke of Monrovia and Mike Coraggio from EcoWalls for an ASLA green wall lecture series.  The trio gave an informative presentation on vital elements to consider from design phase to maintenance of green walls.

Ian charmed the audience with illuminating and entertaining descriptions of key specimens to utilize for climbing green walls.  He also provided a nice over view of different systems and materials to consider when selecting green wall support systems.

Kat provided detailed climbing green wall information from a case study of a recent project.  The case study discussed the evolution of the project from the architects concept drawings to plant selection and custom planter designs.  This project demonstrated how once can create an inexpensive and ecologically effective outdoor green wall on a LEED retrofit.

Mike finished up the presentation with beautiful creations that only he and the Imagineers of Disney could dream up.  Intensive green walls for both indoor and outdoor displays lit up the screen with a variety of themes and ornate designs showing the true aesthetic potential for this green medium.

 

 

 

Biodiversity on Intensive Green Roofs

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, June 12, 2012

By Kat Harrold


Photo By ~ Jorg Breuning

Intensive green roofs with great media depth and plant selection offer ample opportunities for biodiversity.  Ramps or tiered levels offer roof access to non-aerial fauna setting the stage for the introduction and interaction of the surrounding ecology.  Just because a large animal such as a bear or moose may inhabit the local area does not mean that the intensive green roof must attract it to make the biodiversity effort a success.  Creating an environment which supports a variety of plants and fauna on the lower levels of the food chain benefit the entire food web for the surrounding area.  

Visit us again next week as we discuss biodiversity and rooftop farming!




Creating Biodiversity on a Green Roof

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, June 04, 2012

By Kat Harrold

 

Photo by ~ Jorg Breuning

Creating biodiversity on a green roof or green wall is significantly different than restoring it on ground level.  On a rooftop there is no preexisting ecology to enhance; everything is from scratch.  In most cases the growing media is drastically different from the soil down below which in turn dictates what ecology can be supported.  Accessibility, high winds, and proximity to the sun can also be challenging issues for organisms.

Studies show that plant selection and depth of growing media have a greater influence on the biodiversity of a green roof than height.  In the translation of research covering the biodiversity of green roofs, “Where the Beetles are Crawling and the Honeybees are Humming,” the biodiversity found on green roofs as tall as 400 feet were comparable to that of lower green roofs.

Tray or modular green roof systems create the visual impression of a green roof by placing a series of planters close together.   The history of German trays, introduced in 1978, show that in most cases the performance of pre-planted boxes fail to meet performance and maintenance expectations.  The composition of a modular system simply does not provide the right set-up to reliably enjoy the 30 to 50 year lifespan expected from a built up equivalent system.  Additionally there tends to be incredible amounts of species die back during the first 5 years creating a sparsely vegetated monoculture setting.  These factors create a very poor and unreliable environment for biodiversity to take place.

Visit us next week for more information on bio-diverse intensive green roofs!

 

 


Engaging the Senses

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, May 31, 2012
By Kat Harrold

   

Photos by ~ Green Roof Technology

When designing green roofs which encourage human interaction it is important to keep in mind the 5 senses, taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound.  

Taste – While the a green roof may be a tough environment for some vegetation to grow, there are still several edible herbs that can provide delicious accents to a meal or tea.  Mint, chives, parsley, cilantro, thyme, oregano and rosemary are just a few edible herbs that thrive on extensive to semi-intensive green roofs. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Touch – Flowing grasses with prickly seed heads and the fuzzy leaves of Hieracium create a dynamic contrast to the lush springy texture of succulents and sedum.  Small berms can be used to integrate ornamental grass areas into extensive green roofs while keeping weight restrictions in check.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smell – Closely related to taste, many culinary herbs can also employ a richly scented environment.  Other fragrant options for green roofs are lavender, polyantha rose “the Fairy”, sage, and Echinacea Daydream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sight – One of the many beautiful things about a green roof is there are a multitude of drought tolerant plants which provide year round interest.  Late winter and spring welcome a blast of color from crocus, Sedum hybridum “Czar’s Gold,” Dianthus, and Allium.  Summer brings forth a variety of extended bloomers including Sedum kamtschaticum, Hieracium, and Telinum.  Fall offers a variety of color from Aster Purple Dome, Snowcap Shasta Daisy as well as a red and gold glow from the foliage of several sedums.  Winter blankets the roof in festive greens and reds.  Sedums kamtschaticum, ‘Czar’s Gold,’ ‘Blue Spruce,’ and spurium ‘John Creech’ maintain their green foliage while Sedum spurium ‘Fuldaglut,’ moranense, album ‘Coral Carpet,’ and rupestre ‘Angelina’ brighten the season with displays of red and gold.

 

 

Sound – Green roofs have the to power to not only clean rain and air pollution but sound pollution as well.  When designing a green roof to function as a patio space, consider using plants which rustle in the wind such as grasses.  The tall reeds create white noise which helps mask the sound of a busy street.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biodiversity

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, May 29, 2012

By Kat Harrold

The American Heritage Scientific dictionary describes biodiversity as, “the number, variety, and variation of different organisms found within a specific geographic region.”  

A biodiverse environment can have both native and introduced species.  A mono-culture of a native species can be just as detrimental as having a monoculture of an invasive species.  The key word in a biodiverse environment is diversity.  For an environment to thrive there must be competition and prey predator relationships to strengthen the key players within that ecology.  

On ground level, efforts to promote biodiversity are typically geared toward enhancing or restoring the surrounding to preexisting environment.  Preexisting elements such as soil and accessibility play a critical role in what species can thrive there.

As a result of development, there exists a lot of fragmented habitat creating connectivity and migration challenges.  Some creative ways that connections can be made between severed environments are wildlife bridges, tunnels, and green corridors.  Wildlife bridges and tunnels serve not only as key instruments allowing safe passage from one environment to the next, they also cut down on traffic accidents.  Green corridors are often an area around a stream left wooded in a heavily developed area.  This area serves as a haven for bird and mammal migration.

While green roofs can provide habitat for biodiversity to exist they often have a similar challenge of disconnect for non-aerial fauna.  To create access to a green roof one option would be to design the building so that it is built into a hill or create a ramp which wraps up the side of the building to the roof.  Terraced landings or steps can also be used to promote access to the roof.  Species and size of fauna depending, green walls consisting of vines can also be a method of access.  

 

 

 

 

Begining of a Green Generation at the Episcopal Academy

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, May 17, 2012

By Kat Harrold

 

The Episcopal Academy -  Photo courtesy of Archdaily.com

The Episcopal Academy has long been known for leading the way in academic excellence.  Adding to this commitment to enhance the mind, body, and spirit of it's pupils the academy will be installing a series of green roofs on their academic buildings under the guidance of Green Roof Technology.

The green roofs will feature an extensive greenroof set up composed mainly of sedum plants and hardy herbs.  The green roofs will be used to promote local ecology, aesthetic appeal, in addition to being an interactive learning tool.  Visible from high traffic areas in the building, these green roofs will be an ever present and key tool in promoting the latest in sustainable practice and design.

 

 

 

Green Power for NYC

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, May 14, 2012

By Jorg Breuning

Sun Root with solar panel at the NYC Dept. of Parks and Rec, Randall's Island ~ Photos by Jorg Breuning

Big things are happening in New York!

The first Green Roof & Solar Panel Installation by Green Roof Technology is now powered-up. A few weeks ago Green Roof Technology and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation installed the first non-roof-penetrative PV-Green Roof combination in Northern America.  The installation took place at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation building on Randall's Island as an addition to their already extensive green roof system collection

The Sun-Root system - promoted by Green Roof Technology - is the most advanced system solution that considers enhanced water storage for the plants and optimized evaporative cooling for solar panels at the same time.  Drought tolerant succulents were graciously donated by Mother Plants and the growing media was provided by Rooflite. This green roof system is truly unparalleled.  The project is accessible by appointment. Please contact info@greenrooftechnology.com

Learn more about the amazing Sun-Root™ System.  (YouTube Video) Click on the picture for more information on the marvels of combining solar and green roofs on our webpage. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun Roots soaking up the sun after installation at NYC Dept.
Parks and Rec Building ~ Photo by Jorg Breuning

 

The NYC Department of Buildings oversees the property tax abatement's for the installation of solar and or green roofs in New York City. To find  out more about application deadlines and tax abatement's click on the NYC buildings logo above.

Green Roof & Solar Panel Installation in NYC  NYC Buildings

A Feast for Fauna - Creating Biodiversity for Pollinators

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Friday, May 11, 2012

By Kat Harrold

 

Photo - By Kat Harrold

Green roofs are more than just a lush tool for stormwater management.  Green roofs have other benefits such as the potential to bring forth a bountiful feast to pollinators.  Pollinators are critical to our survival making it possible for grow the crops that feed our hungry nation and aiding in the replication of vegetation which purify our air and bodies of water.  Pollinators include a variety of areal insects as well as a few birds and bats.  

A shining example of this style of green roof we have worked on is the Hamerschlag Hall at Carnegie Mellon.  Hamerschlag Hall features extensive and semi-intensive green roof areas with a variety of ground covers and tall grasses.  Herbaceous plants and sedums provide food while an array of evergreens creates opportunities for shelter.

On the rooftop of the Resource Conservation Technology Ice House we created a garden specifically for honey bees.  Fragrant drought tolerant herbs and bulbs bloom from February to November creating both seasonal interest and a consistent food source.  

Click here find out more about the specific plants used in the garden.

 

 

The Dirt on Urban Farming

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, May 08, 2012

By Kat Harrold

Photo by - Jorg Breuning

For some the dream of farming on the roof is a mere extension of window box gardening while for others it can literally mean bringing the farm to the roof.  For those DIY farmers out there here are a few things to consider for your garden in the sky.

Whether you are creating an extensive or intensive green roof, always check to make sure the roof is strong enough for whatever weight load you might be adding to it.  The last thing you want is to wake up one morning feeling like a freshly planted spud.

Speaking of spuds, for the adventurous rooftop farmer looking to plant more than just a few herbs or the occasional tomato, consider creating raised planting beds.  When it comes to the health and safety of your green roof one of the most important things to keep in mind is proper drainage.    The organic material that is so good for your crops is a death sentence to the drainage system.  When the organic particles break down they get lodged in the filter fabric which can cause standing water and even bigger problems in the winter when it freezes.  To keep your roof happy and healthy, create a separate area, such as a planting bed with a bottom or container, for plants requiring deep rich soil like carrots and potatoes.  

Building raised planters can be advantageous for plant and farmer.  By having a set up allowing for the farmer to tend to the plants without crawling around the vegetation you protect the plants from accidental damage and compacting the soil.


Roof to Fork Menu

    Ratatouille (recipe courtesy of epicurious.com)

    (all vegetative ingredients can be grown in a regular semi-intensive green roof set up with no additional organic matter needed)

        1 onion, sliced thin
        2 garlic cloves, minced
        5 tablespoons olive oil
        ¾ lb eggplant, cut into ½  inch pieces (about 3 cups)
        1 small zucchini, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thin slices
        ¾ lbs small ripe tomatoes, chopped coarse (about 1 ¼ cups)
        ¼ teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
        ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
        ¼ fennel seeds
        ¾ teaspoon salt

        ½ cup shredded fresh basil leaves

In a large skillet cook the onion and the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and heat it over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the eggplant and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened. Stir in the zucchini and the bell pepper and cook the mixture over the moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the oregano, the thyme, the coriander, the fennel seeds, the salt, and pepper to taste and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the basil and combine the mixture well. The ratatouille may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated before serving.

 

 

 

Good News for EPDM Roofs!

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, May 03, 2012

By Kat Harrold

Photo courtesy of rv-roof-top.com

Good News!  EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) is a synthetic rubber waterproofing commonly used on roofs.  Once thought to be incompatible with (electric field vector mapping system), due to too much black carbon interference, now has compatible grey and white versions!  

What does this mean?  It means that if you want to use EPDM waterproofing under your green roof you can also have the piece of mind by having one of the most accurate leak detection systems installed as well!  In many cases the leak detection system is cheaper than the waterproofing warranty as well.





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