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ABC Carpet Green Roof Environmental Monitoring

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, April 30, 2012

By Andrew Yanders


Photo By Kat Harrold  -   Featuring Jorg Breuning (left) and Andrew Yanders (right) at ABC Carpet and Home

In 2010, the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC), in partnership with the Bronx Borough President’s Office, submitted a proposal to the Bronx River Watershed Initiative to fund a 10,000 square foot green roof on the ABC Carpet Bronx Outlet building at 1055 Bronx River Avenue, Bronx, NY.  Green Roof Technology worked with the BOEDC to manage the project, beginning with the design all the way through training and supervising a local workforce to install the green roof.  The installation at ABC Carpet was completed in early November of last year.

This past Friday, Jorg, Kat and Andrew traveled to the Bronx to check on the health of the green roof and to construct 4 environmental monitoring stations.  All 4 stations are approximately 1 m tall with a 1 m x 1 m x 0.15 m box integrated on top.  Two of of the top-mounted boxes are filled with an extensive green roof system and the other two are only lined with a waterproof membrane.  Each box is equipped with 3 temperature probes and a tipping bucket.  In the coming weeks, a stand alone weather station will be installed on the roof to monitor wind speed, relative humidity, air temperature, and sun intensity.  

Over the last decade Green Roof Technology has worked with numerous organizations and academic institutions to design and set up their green roof monitoring programs.  Beginning in the late 1990’s, GRT helped establish the first FLL green roof media testing laboratory at Pennsylvania State University and advised their leading researchers on how to set up their own green roof research center.  Since those early days in North American green roof research, Green Roof Technology has had the pleasure of establishing research programs at Carnegie Mellon University, Swarthmore College, the City Hall in Chicago, and Villanova University.  In 2007, Green Roof Technology worked with the BOEDC to design and install green roof research stations at the Bronx County Court House.  These stations were the first green roof boxes to be tested in North American according to the strict FLL guideline and the FLL’s standardized testing procedures.

 

 

 

 

What to Know When Working With TPO

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

By Kat Harrold

 

Photo - Jorg Breuning

Working with green roofs for quite some time we have come to appreciate the compatibility of the TPO waterproofing with the Electric Field Vector Mapping System (EFVM).  Something important to consider however is the relation between the insulation and the waterproofing in determining the type of EFVM system.  

A project using waterproofing adhered to the insulation requires a metal mesh EFVM system in between the waterproofing and insulation whereas the system that has the waterproofing mechanically fastened to the insulation requires only a wire perimeter on top of the waterproofing.   Aside from being more labor intensive to install and modify, some roofing manufacturers would not warrantee their TPO with the metal grid between their waterproofing and insulation.  Proceed with caution when roofers site incompatibilities with their TPO and an EFVM system.  You may want to consider another manufacturer. 





ASLA Tour Lancaster Green Roofs

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, April 23, 2012

By Kat Harrold

Franklin and Marshall Schader Hall  -By Kat Harrold

This past Friday, our very own resident green roof guru, Jorg Breuning, acted as an impromptu green roof tour guide in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  They city was host to American Society of Landscape Architects’ Pennsylvania-Delaware chapter’s annual meeting.  The city of Lancaster boasts many thriving extensive green roofs and has recently announced its commitment to becoming a national role model for urban green infrastructure through its LIVE Green program.  Green Roof Technology has had the pleasure of designing several green roofs in Lancaster City.  Jorg led a group of 30 landscape architects around the city explaining the different green roof systems on display.  The tour group visited two green roof designed by our firm, located at Franklin & Marshall University and Tellus 360

 

 

Swarthmore's David Kemp Hall Reaches Tenure

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, April 18, 2012
By Kat Harrold


Photo ~ By Green Roof Technology

For some, green roofs may seem a novel addition to a green minded institution but to Swarthmore College it was an essential and strategic move.  In 2008 when the college needed to add a dormitory to accommodate its growing student body, there were concerns about the increased run off from the new construction.  Sustainable architecture through green roofs offered a solution that minimized the building foot print making construction of the new dorm possible.  The green roof was spear headed by a few brave faculty, dedicated alumni and students, and Green Roof Technology.  To stay on budget the school chose to invest in a green roof instead of the costly LEED certificate while still building to LEED standards.  This dorm was recognized in 2010 with the American Institute of Architects Housing Award.

The 8,600 sf green roof is the home to many plant species including sedum album murale, sedum spurieum roseum, delosperma nubigerum, and some indigenous plantings.  The green roof also features a raised planting bed for experimental vegetation such as cacti.

The profile of the green roof is a shallow extensive system and has a total profile of 3.5 inches with the growing media depth composed of 2 inches.  While Swarthmore may have a reputation for having the best maintained green roofs in the area, the maintenance required on the roof is blissfully minimal.  To maintain its pristine state Gardener Lars Rasmussen weeds occasionally as needed and irrigates only when drought conditions exceed two weeks.  The roof is minimally fertilized and occasionally cutting back of the overly aggressive plants takes place to encourage more diversity on the roof.

Since its installation the green roof has reduced run off, air pollution, and saved energy on the top floor of the building by as much as 25%.  While the green roof is not available for students to congregate it is open for guided tours and classes and is visible to all from the third floor.









Mulch is Great for the Ground. Is it Good for the Roof?

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, April 12, 2012

By Kat Harrold

Photo By Jorg Breuning

Mulching season is upon us the air is ripe it's fragrance.  While the good gardener may protect their garden from unwanted weeds with a coat of mulch this can actually kill the functionality of a green roof. 

The fine organic matter produced from the decaying mulch creates a hotbed for weeds that take advantage of the added nutrients.  These same fine particles also clog the filter fabric and drains which result and standing water and roof load issues.

To protect your green roof from unwanted plants there are two main things you can do.  The first is if it is a sedum roof, don't irrigate unless extreme drought lasting more than a month.  The dry conditions often fry the seeds before they get a chance to germinate.  Use only a small amount of slow release fertilizer twice a year for the first 4 years.  Poor soils with a low level of nutrients are ideal for sedums.  Excessive fertilizer can actually be detrimental to sedum growth while simultaneously providing excellent conditions for weed growth.

 

 

 

NYC Botanical Garden : The Orchid and Green Wall Show

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

By Kat Harrold


Photo ~ Kat Harrold

For those of you looking to escape the cold snap and visit the warm weather again try the NYC Botanical Orchid Show.  Not only will you get your warm weather fix but you will also be privy to an incredible display of living art featuring vertical gardens by french botanist Patrick Blanc.  

The show runs till the end of the month and features orchids of every color, shape, and species imaginable.  As an avid orchid fan I have spent countless hours admiring the orchid displays of Longwood Gardens and this might even trump their Orchid Extravaganza.  What makes this particular orchid display so amazing is the integration of so many varieties into several Patric Blanc designed green walls.

Like an artist carefully apply strokes of paint to a canvas, Patrick Blanc give sweeps of color to these green walls with dedrobiums, cymbidiums, cattelyas, and many more.  The use of ephiphytes, plants that absorb moisture and nutrients from the air or accumulating debris, are an excellent choice for maximizing water and nutrient resource conservation in green walls.

 

 

 

 

 

First American 'Sun-Root' Installation at NYC Parks Dept.

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, April 04, 2012

 By Kat Harrold

 

Photo~ Jorg Breuning

It's official!  The 'Sun-Roots' have landed in America!   The first installation of 'Sun-Roots' took place on the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation at Randall's Island.  The 'Sun-Roots' are part of their on going green roof research program that tests over 25 different green roof systems. 

Check back soon for more information on this revolutionary system pending the installation of it's solar panels!

 

 

 

Burn Baby Burn...If you Can - Fire Safety and Green Roofs

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, March 28, 2012

By Kat Harrold

Photo ~ Green Roof Technology

In 1988 fire research testing on green roofs was begun by the Research and Material Testing laboratory of Baden-Wurttemberg in Stuttgart Germany.  Initial testing began with the evaluation of bituminous waterproofing layers.  It was discovered that the bituminous waterproofing when burned produced 50 kWh/m2.  Alternatively when this burn test was done on an extensive green roof with dry grasses only 3 kWh/m2 were produced.  

 

Tests were then done to see if it was possible to establish a fire that would spread across an extensive green roof and or start a glowing/burning of the growing media.  After several tests the conclusion was made that it was nearly impossible to create a fire on an extensive green roof that would spread across the roof or ignite the growing media.  Conversely it was discovered that a bare regular bituminous waterproofing membrane was 15-20 times more likely to catch fire than an extensive green roof with grasses and perennials.  It is for these reasons that many Germany insurance companies offer a 10-20% discount on fire insurance when a building has a built in place green roof.

 

On large extensive green roofs with grasses where there is a concern of fire spreading by wind carried sparks, spreading can be reduced or contained by use of fire breaks in the form of vegetation free strips.  These vegetation free strips can measure approximate 3 feet wide and be composed of river rock or gravel.  Vegetation free zones around roof hatch openings and other roof penetrations can also reduce harm to the building.

For more information on Fire and Wind on Extensive Green Roofs visit our resources page for a downloadable report.



Fire Tests in Germany Picture By: Universität Paffenwald





Tellus 360 Reflects on Green Roof's First Year Anniversary

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, March 26, 2012

By Joe Devoy ~Tellus 360

 

Photos by Tellus 360

 

A year has passed since the Tellus 360’s green roof was installed and we caught up with Tellus 360’s owner, Joe Devoy.  We asked Joe to write a few words reflecting on his new urban oasis.

“One day we were standing on our big flat roof, the sun shining down, the wind gently blowing, having a chat.  We were looking at the Marriott and Convention Center being built next door.  Coming up to the roof had become a kind of ritual, a pleasant place to relax and reflect.

When we were on the roof we were still part of the city, but it was a different part of the city. Captured all around us were the sounds of city but we were still removed somehow.  After a few of these trips the decision was made; a green roof must be built on our roof.  We all needed a therapeutic place where city and nature could meet, where the sounds of life relax not excite.

As we talked to Fritz Schroeder of LIVE Green Lancaster and met Jörg and Kat from Green Roof Technology, our vision of a community oasis developed in our mind.  “A better way to live and a better life for our building.”  Our vision for our building has always been for it to be alive, that it could breathe with the city.  We want it to expand and contract, to participate in our life and to help us be better in the way we live.

Our new green roof has achieved that and the life it has brought to our building and our community has been equally amazing.  Now I return each morning for my daily ritual.  The smell of earth and the sounds of a city alive surround me as I enjoy my breakfast from the local farmers market.  I love to hear the city breathe, I love to hear our building breathe.”

 

First American Sun-Root Installation

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, March 12, 2012

 By Kat Harrold

 

Photo Courtesy of Optigrun

Next week the New York City Parks Department will be adding a landmark addition to their green roof research facility.  The NYC Parks Department oversees the largest know US green roof systems test facility and will be adding the Sun-Root solar living roof to their collection.

Located on Randall's Island, the Parks Department Five Borough Administrative Building houses over 29,000 square feet of test green roofs making the collection the 5th largest green roof in New York City.  The outdoor laboratory features over 25 different systems of various growing media depths.  Weather stations and temperature sensors minor the conditions on the systems and update findings every 15 minutes on their website for public comparison. 


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