On Tuesday, December 3rd, Jörg Breuning and Bill Foley will present at a Sustainable Green Trends Workshop at the Holiday Inn in East Windsor, New Jersey. The topic: Planning, Implementing and Maintaining a Green Roof System for Sustainable Projects. The session will start at 1:40 pm, directly after the complimentary lunch and will last until 5:40 that evening.
The Sustainable Green Trends workshop is one of many programs held by DPC Associates in order to promote sustainable building practices in the northeast.
Cool Roofs Might Increase Air Pollution
Approximately 35 years ago I learned in horticultural chemistry class how plants utilize the energy of sunlight. This process is called Photosynthesis and is an everyday example of Photochemistry, a sub-discipline of chemistry or the study of chemical reactions that proceed with the adsorption of light by atoms or molecules.
Other examples of Photochemistry are the degradation of plastics and the formation of Vitamin D with Sunlight.
Skin aging: caused by 80% of the Sunlight
Over the last half century, it has been well studied that heat and sunlight have a tremendous effect on air quality. Both, and independent from each other, heat and sunlight can transform the atoms and molecules in the air around us into other chemical combinations that are often harmful for human health. The same photochemical transfer occurs also with most other particles and substances in the air and increases the chemical cocktail in the air we breathe substantially.
In a recent study of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) it was confirmed that at night – without the energy of sunlight – nitrate radicals naturally help cleanse the atmosphere. Acting as a “janitor” of the night sky, the nitrate radical scrubs away air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds that would otherwise form smog and ozone. The cleansing compound only works nightshifts, however, since sunlight destroys the light-sensitive molecule. The study suspects that the street lights in cities reduce this cleansing effect.
It doesn’t take much to understand that Cool Roofs or Reflective Roofs multiply the light energy in the air, reducing not only light-sensitive molecules but also converting most other atoms, molecules and particles in the air into potentially more harmful chemical combinations.
This can be proven by many simple observations:
Sunburn on plant leaf.
Nowadays numerous studies (typically sponsored my manufacturers) focus only on the surface temperature making everybody believe that cool roof, or so called reflective roofs, are environmentally friendly because of the lower surface temperature. Isn't it worth to look at the bigger picture of what happens when reflecting sunlight off of roof tops – i.e. polluting the air with additional sunlight? I am not suspecting that they were paid to ignore this dramatic effect but it shows to me that the responsibility of researchers is in some cases is questionable. My countryman Albert Einstein would have said: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
"Cool Roofs" or "Fool Roofs"?
Installation of reflective roofs requires additional protection for workers.
American Society of Landscape Architects is holding their annual meeting and expo this year in Boston from November 15th until the 18th.
On Monday, Nov. 18th at 8:00 am, Jorg Breuning and Rob Tilson will hold an education session titled "Solar Panels and Green Roofs Fully Integrated - The Smart Future Development."
The collaborative presentation between Green Roof Technology and Tilson Group will showcase two of the leaders in the green roof industry pushing the boundaries of their field.
The benefits of combining green roofs with solar panels is well documented. The two technologies have been used together for many years, beginning in Germany nearly 30 years ago when both technologies were only first being developed.
Over the decades both technologies have advanced greatly. Today, fully integrated green roofs with solar panel systems, known as Solar Garden Roofs, have been developed that maximize the two technology's beneficial synergistic effects.
The Learning Objectives of Jorg and Rob's discussion are as followed:
By: Samantha Yurek
Or does it? We're not talking about baseball caps or a pair of mittens here. Green roofs are a living system that on their own should thrive heartily in the environment in which they reside. Not all green roofs are similar, nor should they be. Diverse climates call for various approaches in construction a green roof to handle precipitation efficiently. The vegetation for any green roof should reflect local climate and growing conditions.
Uniform systems will most likely work out fine, but depending on the region, may need constant maintenance to uphold the health of the green roof. At this point, the question is if the green roof is actually doing its job. A green roof is supposed to thrive naturally, as a part of the ecosystem. It defeats the purpose when an irrigation system is put in place or the green roof is over maintained to avoid natural diversity.
Each green roof should be unique in a way that works most efficiently for that particular location. Here at Green Roof Technology we strive to create a living space that will thrive under specific conditions. There should be very little need for additional time, effort and money once a green roof has been put in place.
Resiliency was the motto of the 11th Cities Alive conference held in San Francisco last week. With more than 100 speakers, the conference demonstrated once again that modern green roof technology and living architecture are essential to address resiliency by adapting to urban environmental changes and climate change. Large scale extensive green roofs without permanent irrigation or solar garden roofs are the most sustainable solution for reducing the continuously mounting costs of disasters that are weather or climate related.
The conference disclosed many new details about cutting edge designs and it is now time to see how these can be implemented, how effective and how economical they are. Especially in cities where we created habitats for ourselves with asphalt and concrete. The conference showed refreshing trends for more natural environments. It isn't known whether rooftop farms (urban farming) are a solution, but these efforts create awareness, recreation and educate about living organisms and the importance in reducing food waste.
In different presentations, the combination of solar (PV) and extensive green roofs were marked as the most efficient roof top addition with the highest payback for the owner and the environment. Our solar garden roof fits perfectly into this future trend.
Great conference and great people, thank you GRHC.
An extensive study about the fully integrated Photovoltaic and Green Roof solution is finally available in English. Green Roof Service LLC / Green Roof Technology performed excellent work that demonstrates all the features of a Solar Garden Roof and Sun-RootTM module.
Successful implemented on European projects over more than 5 years, the Solar Garden Roof can now catch-up in North America. “I am often wondering, why the American market is hesitating in regards of living green innovation,” says Jörg Breuning, "the savings or payback potential of green living technologies is in the US so much higher than in any other country of the world."
It is estimated that Washington, DC alone has a potential of over 2 Million square feet of green roofs combined with PV in the next 24 month. This could reduce the stromwater run-off by over 25 Million Gallons per year and produce over 26 Megawatt hours of electricity in only 12 month. Most of these smart rooftop solutions would actually payback in less than 5 years.
A bare roof with exposed water proofing has no payback.
Interested developer, architects and planners are welcome to visit two demonstrations projects – one in New York, Randal’s Island and another one in the DC area at Prospect Solar.
The system will be also presented at Cities Alive in San Francisco next week.