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

Green Roof Technology Blog

Green Roof on Floating Home "Siberfisch"

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, January 21, 2013

First Sustainable Home on the Water with a Green Roof

 

With the cost of living in large cities constantly rising, the search for viable alternatives is constant.

Flo Florian and Sascha Akkermann of design firm Confused-Direction and the project-developer Bernhard Urich had urban affordability in mind when they designed the Silberfisch houseboat.

The house is a thoroughly modern floating home that, instead of occupying a valuable plot of land, is anchored in a body of water. In theory, the Silberfisch would allow residents to remain in a location indefinitely or relocate on a whim. It’s an interesting concept whose acceptance by the general public might be debatable.

However, the eco-friendly principles underlying the house are universally appealing. Two of the primary “green” methods used in the house’s construction are a green roof planted with vegetation and the use of reclaimed wood wherever possible. The toilet is an Eco-Toilet which saves water recources. Additionally, the house produces zero emissions. As home prices and eco-friendliness become increasingly critical issues, Confused-Direction’s Silberfisch houseboat may become a realistic option.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silberfisch houseboat is a floating home by Bernhard Urich and the guys from the design firm Confused-Direction Flo Florian and Sascha Akkermann. This eco-friendly project, with zero emissions, represents a balanced mix of design and maritime romance. It has been designed for the areas with big water surfaces or in cities where property costs are high house boats offer an alternative.

Visit also their home page:  www.schwimmhausboot.de/

 

Common Sense

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, December 20, 2012

By: Jörg Breuning



Recently we have been receiving more and more calls regarding performance issues on extensive green roofs. Most of these roofs have been installed between 2-5 years ago by various green roof companies or supplied by different manufactures. Common complaints include dying plants, drainage system failure, growing media erosion and waterproofing leaks. Especially pre-vegetated systems (planters, trays, modules) mostly don’t meet expectations or even minimum requirements for green roofs. More often than not, green roof failures are the result of simple design or maintenance mistakes.

Many failures start within the design. A poor design leads to a snowballing effect of problems, growing and gaining velocity with every movement forward. Failures also occur during the construction phase when inexperienced installers claim a certain expertise because of a prior job, a way-back education or simply because they once watched a green roof installation. 

But problems can arise even sooner. We also noticed that many initial design and construction decisions are made ‘democratically’ or as a team consensus because no one person wants to carry the full responsibility on their own shoulders. Often these decisions are wrong and unrealistic. Physics, biology and chemistry are natural laws and cannot be compromised, even if done democratically.

Engineers must work within the parameters of reality and the best course of action is to always to use common sense.

In most cases things could be so easy if people would just use their own common sense and experience instead of believing all the nonsense they find on the internet.

Our commitment is to common sense, never nonsense. 



The Enclave

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Enclave Gets a Lawn

Last week Green Roof Technology, with the help from some friends from Highview Creations, spent  3 days installing a 4300 sf. sod lawn at The Enclave in College Park, Maryland.  The project was a huge success.  Every step of the way went nearly as smoothly as we had imagined.  

Here's a succession of photos taken over the course of the install.  Enjoy!

Just a note to everyone out there:  Rolling out 4300 sf of sod in 100 degree heat is HARD work.  I spent most of the day soaking myself down under the sprinklers.   

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. 

 

 

 

                                                                              

 

 

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.




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. 





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.

 

 

 

EXTENSIVE GREEN ROOF IRRIGATION – WHY?

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, February 21, 2012

 By Andrew Yanders

Here at Green Roof Technology we are often confronted with a perplexing industry occurrence.  Frequently we visit extensive green roof sites or monitor extensive green roof projects online that have installed an irrigation system.  It is difficult to justify the necessity of an irrigation system for extensive green roofs.  Sedums, other low growing succulent species, many grasses, and herbaceous plants require no irrigation.  The proper selection of plant species is crucial and species not suited for extensive green roof purposes should not be used.  An irrigation system wastes potable water on plants that do not need it.  This excess water only serves to promote the growth of unwanted plants from foreign origins.

Four to five inch extensive green roof systems are well suited to most regions and do not require irrigation.  (Depending on when the extensive green roof is installed, a temporary irrigation program may be necessary during the establishment phase until the cooler months.)  Weight-saving systems less than 4 inches are typically designed with an irrigation system to compensate for their inability to retain sufficient water for the plants’ needs.  If the purpose of an extensive green roof is to retain stormwater, then why design a system that does not retain water sufficiently and requires the use of additional potable water?  It is again difficult to justify the need for an irrigation system on extensive green roofs.  

Green Roof Technology has recommended that local governments establish a clear consumer-oriented guideline for the best-practice in extensive green roof construction in their communities.  This document would clear-up any misunderstandings among potential green roof investors and serve well to educate the wider public on the functions of the various layers involved in green roof systems.  

An excerpt from the City of Stuttgart’s “Green Roof–How to do?” handbook is well suited to be referenced:

  • In extensive roof planting a minimal depth of soil is used (generally less than 15 cm), with the objective of being able to leave the planting to its own devices after an initial establishment phase.  Plants selected for such conditions are able to survive on a long term basis with minimal reserves of moisture and nutrients.  

Additionally:
  • The construction of an extensive roof garden is the same irrespective of the system that is employed.  The first layer, a root protection membrane, is laid directly on top of the waterproof roof surface.  Above this comes a drainage layer, then filter mat and on top of this the planting medium.

The City of Stuttgart’s green roof handbook is an excellent source of information on extensive green roofs and provides critical information for anyone looking to invest in a green roof.  Green Roof Technology has work with the City of New York and the City of Lancaster to develop similar books on green roofs.  We believe it would benefit everyone if local governments across North America adopted a similar program and published a how-to-green roof document for their citizens.  Green Roof Technology would be pleased to work with your community to create a suitable green roof handbook for your citizens.



The Podium Roof Garden at Toronto City Hall Case Study

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Friday, February 10, 2012

By Jorg Breuning 

Photo - By Jorg Breuning

In an earlier posting we highlighted the Podium Roof Garden and how it has fallen victim to a psychology of unobtainable and opportunistic design expectations and the consequences have been expensive.  After a deeper analysis of the project we have compiled a case study covering this highly visible example of a green roof designed and constructed in a mistaken fashion. The aim of any green roof, or any other kind of BMP, is to create a sustainable, low-maintenance environment in the most cost-effective way possible.

Two key factors led to the writing of this study: an independent inspection of the site on November 2011 and the subsequent investigation into the project, which was highlighted by the discovery of the exceptionally high cost per square foot).  In this case study Green Roof Technology (GRT) will report that the landscape architect’s design for the green roof led to higher installation costs and higher future maintenance costs, which were not included in the total cost of the green roof.  By not employing the most economical approach to green roof design and construction, the City of Toronto missed an opportunity to either reduce costs by more than 50% or install another green roof of similar type and even greater area.

Toronto must remain a progressive city, rewarding its citizens with a safe, healthy, and beautiful place to live. The green roof program is an essential aspect of Toronto’s long-term goals. What is required of the city, and of any other city in North America, is to establish a clear consumer-oriented guideline for the best-practice in green roof construction. An industry wide effort must be made to reduce the market price of designing and installing green roofs. The result will benefit the multitude over the few in the decades to come.

Click here for the full version of this case study.


FLL Revisited

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, February 07, 2012

By Andrew Yanders

Edited by - Kat Harrold

Photo ~ Jorg Breuning

The FLL Green Roofing Guideline first appeared in 1982 as the “Principles of Green Roofing” and since 1992 has been reworked many times as “Guideline for the Planning, Construction and Maintenance of Green Roofing – Green Roofing Guideline.”  It is recognized as the benchmark set of regulations for green roofing in Germany.  The FLL Roof Greening Guideline is also widely accepted abroad and serves in some neighboring countries as the basis for developing their own regulations.

This latest edition covers the 2008 edition of the FLL Green Roofing Guideline.  The preface clearly states the importance and relevancy of the Guideline and the constant diligence taken to adapt and outline the newest developments in the green roofing industry.  The Guideline is the result of unpaid technical and scientific cooperative work and is intended to be a recognized code of practice or State-of-the-Art; it is a basic tool for the planning, construction and maintenance of reliable and high quality performing green roofs.  The Guideline also includes transparent, consumer oriented testing methods for the investigation of vegetation, substrates and aggregate drainage materials and the investigation of resistance to root penetration of roof membranes and protective layers. 

Three sections of this paper provide a brief summary of the three major components of the Green Roofing Guideline:  Planning, Execution, and Maintenance.  It is important to note that the Guideline requires a fundamental background in horticultural science and engineering principals.  The Guideline is not an IKEA step-by-step construction manual designed to enable any Do-It-Yourself project. 

Click here to read the full version.


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
Go To Resources Page