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University of Maryland to Install More Green Roofs

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, March 11, 2013

By: Samantha Yurek

The University of Maryland installed their first extensive green roof back in the fall if 2008 on Cumberland Hall.  Approximately 6,000 square feet of the rooftop is covered in vegetation.  The Adele H. Stamp Union building also completed renovations which involves yet another two new green roofs in 2009.

 

Picture courtesy of UMD

Summer of 2010 brought a Rooftop Food Garden on top of the South Campus Dining Hall. Planters made from salvaged wooden pallets hold all sorts of food including cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, mint and lavender, to name a few. In addition, the space is available for individual gardening projects and other student research or coursework. In the fall of 2011, the Denton Dining Hall followed suit, when the re-opened building integrated green and cool roof systems.

Although this makes up very few of the many buildings at the University of Maryland, each green roof helps to alleviate storm water runoff, the heat island effect, and each building's heating or cooling costs. 

The University of Maryland's Council on the Environment recently rewarded a grant to two graduate students, to extend on their solar energy and vegetated roof research.  Read the full story by the Diamondback here. 

In the future, it wouldn't be surprising to see more building constructed or renovated complete with green roof systems. The technology is available and the industry has definitely grown in the past few years.  

Green Roofs & Solar: Double Your Benefits!

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, March 04, 2013

Green Roofs & Walls of the World - Virtual Summit 2013 is striving to inform, share and create a global social media experience for learning and networking around green roofs and living walls.  

 

Join Jörg Breuning & Ryan Miller on Thursday March 7th at 1pm Eastern time as they discuss the benefits of combining solar power and vegetated roofs!

Immediately after Green Roof Technology's video, a 15 minute live Q&A will take place with Jörg and Ryan.  The video will touch on the benefits of a solar green roof, cost-benefit analysis, two interviews with the president of Solar Gaines, Hans Wittich and Artie Rollins, the assistant commissioner for city-wide services with the NYC Parks & Rec Building, along with much more. 

If you're interested, tune into the video and Q&A session, you may register on the Summit Website

 

FBB Green Roof Symposium 2013

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Photo: Jorg Breuning

The German FBB (Fachvereinigung Bauwerksbegrunung e.V.) is the oldest Green Roof Association in the world and with around 120 members, probably one of the smallest. However, most FBB members are considered leaders in modern green roof technology and their average green roof experience is far over 20 years. It is an elite group that has seen everything you can imagine related to vegetation on impervious areas.

As the father of all green roof associations, this year's event was again filled with innovations, information and trends.The FBB president, Dr. Gunter Mann, pointed out that there is a huge potential for the industry to increase the annual green roof construction. In 2012, the 120 FBB members reported over 40,000,000 square feet of new construction, a significant addition compared to the previous years. The true annual new green roof construction in Germany might be doubled compared to the rest of the world. However, Germans are modest and not interested in quantity, but specifically in quality. Quality of installation, intelligent research and decent public relations are the foundation of the FBB.

In partnerships with other associations (Landscape Association, Concrete Association, Roofing Association, Association for Water Protection, along with many more) it is impressing to hear about the successful public awareness on green roofs.

The elite group at the FBB does a great, inexpensive and super-efficient job for a better and sustainable environment, mainly throughout Germany and reaching out into the world. For many decades they have been setting milestones for a growing, global industry and it is always a blessing to mingle with the biggest, most experienced and best-educated green roof professionals in the world.

Bravo!

 

Budget Cut for Green Roofs

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Saturday, February 09, 2013

by Jorg Breuning

 

There is now enough evidence to believe that the American economy is starting to recover.  However, ongoing clashes over taxes and spending threaten to delay or derail recent improvements.  Comparing to State Governments, most Counties, Cities or Townships do not have the luxury of drawn out debates.  They are short on money and have to make decisions and/or cuts quickly.

Over the last few years the subsidies for green roofs have increased consistently and there is hardly anybody who knows exactly how much cash or monetary value you can get in any certain area.  The cash cow with the name ‘Green Incentives’ is present.   Big corporations hire people simply to source these cash incentives and focus on these areas with their Armada of sale forces simply because the profit margins are higher in these places (milking).  For these companies it is almost like an additional return on their paid taxes- if they paid taxes at all.

Trade associations typically operate the same way and support this domino effect for more subsidiaries in the green roof industry. They are mainly financed by large corporations that are lobbying generously in both fields and utilize them to increase incentives and cash subsidies at the Federal, State, County, or City level.  For outsiders it can be seen as a closed loop system of slush funds.

To reduce competition in the green roof business, the big dudes also support Non-Profits to compete against smaller green roof companies for smaller jobs.  They often do that under the guise of the Good-Samaritan to create awareness and jobs for the unemployed young generation.

However, all of these hardworking and well educated smaller companies are the source of innovations, inventions, increase of efficiency and the guarantor of quality.  They are the specialists that deliver to the client what they promised, they developed experiences over years that can’t be taught in a seminar and they relatively pay the most taxes.

Cutting the cash incentives for green roofs by cutting budgets is their chance to prove their capability and creativity.  They would be able to move the industry forward by increasing the long term sustainability of green roofs and the industry by offering precisely what the client wants and to develop cost reductions without compromise.

The green roof industry is old enough to walk alone without breast feeding, although not old enough that it can survive entirely on its own.  Many Cities in the USA and around the world have shown that indirect incentives for green roofs (tax breaks, faster permitting, reducing stormwater fees, depreciation write-offs etc.) are much less costly and more effective.  Utilizing the saved budget money for educating a new generation, entire green infrastructure industry is more sustainable for the decades to come.  

 Budget cuts of cash incentives are the right direction for our industry. 

DC Green Roof Education and Outreach Event

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

On Friday, November 16th Jorg and Ryan will be in Washington DC to give a presentation on Solar Green Roofs.  

The event is hosted by the Anacostia Watershed Society and will focus on 3 important issues: a) the benefits and design of solar green roofs, b) the design and plant selection for green roofs, and c) methods to reduce the installation and life-cycle costs of green roofs.

If you wish to join us on Friday, please RSVP to greenroofs@anacostiaws.org  Space is very limited, as we expect a full house.

Mid Atlantic Green Roof Symposium Highlight

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

One topic on discussion during the symposium I believe is in need of even more discussion is the implementation of a requirement to monitor the long-term performance of green roofs.

The need for annual green roof monitoring is essential.  Too often we encounter failing green roofs.  The green roof ecosystem is fragile, especially in its early establishment years, and can fail for many reasons.  They can fail due to poor design, poor installation, wrong material choices or negligent maintenance, and none are mutually exclusive.  The effect this has on the performance of a green roof is dramatic.  A complete failure of a green roof system can occur rapidly and it is a huge liability, both economically and for safety reasons.  Let us also not forget that a bad green roof is an image problem for all of us and reflects badly on the entire industry.  Each green roof that fails to support its vegetation or leaks is one more stigma the entire industry has to overcome.

A mandatory green roof monitoring system, whether operated by a government agency or an independent 3rd party, would be able to identify failing green roofs and require whatever is necessary to restore the green roof to a proper level of performance.  We believe any green roof that is supporting a healthy ecosystem, complete with year-round vegetation cover, is more likely than not properly functioning and meeting leading performance metrics.

Recently, buried within Maryland’s Stormwater Management – Watershed Protection and Restoration Program was a clause that requires annual monitoring of stormwater bmp’s: 

            (III) PROCEDURES FOR MONITORING AND ANNUALLY VERIFYING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE ON–SITE SYSTEMS, FACILITIES, SERVICES, OR ACTIVITIES IN REDUCING THE QUANTITY OR IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF STORMWATER DISCHARGED FROM THE PROPERTY.

Striking ‘annually’ from the clause is disappointing and the legislators have essentially gutted this clause of its ability to secure long-term performance effectiveness.  Once again we believe a mandatory monitoring system is essential and it is only a matter of time until one is implemented.  Who will be the first?

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.  

IDS 2012 - Interior Design Show in Toronto Rolls Out the Emerald Carpet

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, February 01, 2012

By Kat Harrold

IDS Show Floor ~ Photos by Jorg Breuning

Green Roof Technology is back from the premier interior design show in Canada IDS 2012.  At this show we were presented with the design challenge, "How do you live urban?" and responded with a challenge of our own, "How do you make the urban environment alive?" 

One of the most obvious and easiest ways to add green to the urban environment and make it come a live is to create a balcony garden or balcony green roof.  Where ground space is limited or not available at all, a balcony garden is the perfect solution for that green transition from inside to out.  Depending on your space, a green roof may be an easy low maintenance option.  For a more formal effect planters can be used to add a splash of color and create a dynamic space with height and texture.

For making a seamless transition from the outdoors in a green wall offers a compact and space saving solution.   Tropical plants offer a full pallet of color, shapes, and textures making even the bleakest winter days feel bright and lively.

During the warmer months or for a hotel lobby, a moss wall is a great alternative to a regular cement wall.  Studies have shown that the color green helps people relax which can often be a difficult achievement in the stress filled urban environment.  Meditation aside, the quality of air will be increased due to the filtration qualities of the vegetation. 

Vegetation, water, and fire all add exciting elements to our environment.  Some are green in color and others are green in function.  When selecting a fire feature, fountain, or green wall consider the carbon foot print of the feature.  Woodless fire pits are green alternatives just a closed system vegetated walls are the greener solution for irrigated green walls.


 

 


IDS 2012 - Interior Design Show in Toronto Goes Green

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

By Kat Harrold

Photo by ~ Jorg Breuning

Four days and nights Canada's elite designers graced the halls of the Toronto Convention Center for the 2012 Interior Design Show.  Exhibitions of conceptual and ground breaking designs in interior design and industrial design challenged the we live and create the space around us.  While going green has come into vogue in the design world, none showcased this concept better than Green Roof Technology.  

In collaboration with Jill Greaves Design, Green Roof Technology created a seamless transition from the comforts of the interior space to the interactive green space of the urban balcony.  The green roof balcony featured a lush sedum carpet of blues and greens accenting the simple yet elegant lounge and table by Avenue Road.  The design is a perfect marriage of form and function creating a place of beauty for relaxation with the environmental benefits of a green roof. 

 

 

IDS12: Toronto Interior Design Show 2012

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, January 02, 2012
By Andrew Cole Yanders


Photo Courtesy of www.interiordesignshow.com

The party begins on January 26.   Toronto’s largest contemporary design fair kicks off with a party Thursday night with local DJ Karim Rashid spinning tracks.  The 4 day event will showcase the best and brightest from Canada’s flourishing design scene.  In addition, leading designers from all corners of the world will be exhibiting their newest creations.  Green Roof Technology has the special privilege of collaborating with Jill Greaves Design to create a stunning rendition on ‘How do you live’?  The exhibit will focus on the style of urban living.  Where green is the new black, green roof technologies will be taking center stage as the latest in eco-chic. 


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