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Lancaster School District Green Roof Report Card

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, November 16, 2011

By Andrew Cole Yanders

 

Photo By ~ Kat Harrold

Last week, Andrew and Kat traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania by request of the School District of Lancaster and LIVE Green Lancaster to tour and evaluate three green roofs in the district.  The report card was not good.  Parent-teacher conference bad.  We have made available a detailed school-by-school evaluation of each roof, containing a diagnosis and recommended treatments. 

To find out more about the diagnosis and recommended treatments visit our Resources page.

We are Expanding to Canada Eh

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, November 09, 2011

By Kat Harrold

 

Photo by Jorg Breuning

Green roofs are blooming in Toronto and so are we.  With the help of our newest member Patty, we will be opening a new office in the fair city of Toronto. 

Patty Jordan is the powerful and creative force behind our new branch in Toronto.  As the current owner of Alive in Colour Decorating Services, Patty has a real eye for design and style with the business knowledge to get it all done.  

Her ability to assess business requirements and create innovative solutions to improve organizational performance. Being a native to Canada and having worked in public policy will also be an invaluable asset as we move into this new territory.

Be sure to stop by soon to find our more about the new endeavor in a world where even the sky isn't the limit!

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Patty Jordan

 

Easy as ABC - Bronx Week 2

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, November 07, 2011

By Kat Harrold 

Photo By ~ Kat Harrold

It has been a long and exciting journey as we reach the homestretch of this project.  What started out as a question of whether or not a green roof on a warehouse is structurally possible has blossomed into a its first week of construction. 

In the beginning we worked with the structural engineer and determined that the best design for the roof was to have the vegetated area cover 12’ wide sections on the support beams.  Given the unique character of the planter like beds created by this design root barrier was added to the layered system.  

After the design phase we helped the Sustainable South Bronx acquire materials for the roof and construction.  Working with Sustainable South Bronx is always a real treat for us.  Having helped train their initial in green roof installation crew, we have the joy of seeing old friends and the peace of mind knowing that the roof is in good hands.

Last week after some weather delays we were able to bring the growing media onto the roof and into its respective planting beds.  It was a dirty job but somebody had to do it.  Despite the gritty nature of the work it was visually relaxing seeing the roof begin to resemble a garden more than a roof.

This week the planting will be finished just in time for the plants to settle in and prepare for a long winter nap.
Once the roof is done a weather station as well as precipitation and temperature sensors will be added to monitor the green roof and regular roof.  

This green roof will be open to the public for educational tours.

 

ASLA National Convention - San Diego 2011

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Saturday, November 05, 2011

By Kat Harrold GRP

 

Photo By Kat Harrold GRP

Sunny skies and cool autumn temperatures set the stage for Green Roof Technology's first exhibition at the  American Society for Landscape Architects national conference.  For a conference covering everything from urban planning to garden design, San Diego was setting a shining example and keeping it classy as always.  Will Ferrell's character Ron Burgundy would have been proud. 

Tours, seminars, and awards ceremonies took center stage this year covering everything from floating islands to ecoroofs.  Next to the Expo hall, the keynote address took place.  With the end of the closing statement the Beach Boys’ “Lets Go Surfing” resonated through the hall and a tidal wave of landscape architects flooded the Expo hall.  While many visitors were from California, professionals from all over the country, and in some cases the world, were present.  This was a great trade show for Green Roof Technology as we were eagerly received as a guiding mentor for green roof design and green roof implementation.

Curious professionals weren’t the only one’s visiting our booth.  Day one of the expo fell on Halloween.  Trick or treaters, most of which were teeter toddlers or stroller bound, roamed the expo hall in search of delectable treats.  The added sugar rush also helped maintain high spirits for the adults as they trick or treated for business cards and brochures.

Over all the trade show was a great success.  Even though the attendance in the hall was a little lower than expected, the contacts were high quality for Green Roof Technology.  Discussions and concerns about the industry were very thought provoking.  With concerns everywhere about mitigating heat island effect and stormwater management, the future of green roofs looks very bright indeed.

Run-Off Quality - Extensive Green Roofs

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Saturday, October 22, 2011

Green roofs are vegetated soil filter where the naturally loosened root zone creates an enhanced degradation and retention of pollutants. The older the green roof the better the performance - considering the green roof was designed, constructed and maintained according the worldwide accepted FLL Guideline. Based on higher temperatures in summer the release of nutrients can be higher but will be still far below the strictest German drinking water ordinance as different studies showed in long term studies between 1999 and 2003 in Germany (W. Kolb, G. Mann, M. Köhler). However most run-off is more or less stained by humic substances that are typically caused by organic matter including releasing substances of the plants.

Since this is just a visual issue (no overall quality problem) the run-off water can be easily stored in cisterns. The water can be used for toilet flushing, irrigation, car washing and other purposes. Colored water is not recommended for doing the laundry, it might stain white fabrics. Research from Köhler (1993) and Liesecke & Borgwardt (1995) also showed that green roof have the ability to filter airborne pollutants efficiently, like lead, copper, zinc and formaldehyde.

To minimize run-off water coloration the initial organic content of the growing media can be reduced. Ideal are green roof layers with high mineral content (drainage and green roof soil). Within the FLL guideline Green Roof Technology is able to enhance the removal of pollutants and run-off coloration at the same time. Specially engineered green roof growing media will perfectly customize for our clients need and based on leading research performed in Germany over the last 15 years. 

Since extensive monolithic green roofs retain as an average 50-75% the storage of the run-off (cistern size) has to be adjusted accordingly and is typical larger than without green roof.

Data from any Run-Off Quality research done in the United States or Canada can be just used as a rough speculation. We don't know any research performed with standardized components (e.g. growing media) and further more there is no uniform standard for compost or organic ingredients going into the growing media. Without uniform and standardize research all results are only speculation. Independent research (not sponsored by manufacturers) in Germany did consider these important facts and therefore the results are useful and easy to implement on real projects.

Any kind of plastics (drainage boards, chemical substances or modular systems) doesn’t support the cleaning power as much as perfectly engineered wall-to-wall green roof systems. More and more experts starting researching on how much chemicals are released by plastic components and water proofing materials since it well know that plastic components affect sea life  - where all run-off ends up.

On request Green Roof Technology will translate any information about leading green roof research done in Germany over the last 25 years. 

ABC Carpet Goes Green Week 1

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, October 18, 2011

By Kat Harrold GRP


 

 Photo~ Jorg Breuning

After much anticipation and preparation, the ABC Carpet and Home green roof has officially begun construction!  We met with Construction Manager, Micheal Cluer, and Forewoman, Collen Loft, yesterday at ABC to check on the progress and to discuss project details.

The first few days consisted of meticulously cleaning the roof so as to remove all debris, such as nails and small stones, that might damage the waterproofing.  A thorough examination of existing roof conditions was also performed to check for any preventable trouble spots.  While the weather had called for only 10% chance of precipitation with sunny skies Monday, that 10% decided to make a visit early that morning which turned the sweeping into more of a mopping procedure.  On the bright side the roof will be squeaky clean and puddles were quick to evaporate.  

The next step after cleaning the roof will be to find the support beams and mark out where the green roof segments will go.  Once this is done, edging will be cut and assembled to frame the green roof planting areas.  Because of all the pipes present on the green roof there will be some areas that will be segmented so that they can be built around the pipes.  

Check in next week as we get into the dirty business blowing the growing media onto the roof.  For those of you not familiar with what that entails just think of a snow machine.....but one that blows dirt instead of snow.

 

 

 

ABC Carpet Goes Green

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, October 10, 2011

 

 Photo courtesy of ~ ABC Home and Carpet

As the leaves begin to fall, a new roof is being raised as Green Roof Service and the Sustainable South Bronx prepare for the installation of ABC Carpet and Home's series of green roofs at its Bronx location.

Building a green roof on a warehouse can be a difficult task since the building is a wide open structure with little support for the roof.  To circumnavigate this issue, we designed green roof strips to go on every other support beam of the roof.  By keeping the green roofs on the strongest segments of the roof we were able to cover 10,000 square feet of the roof without over stressing the roof.

Green Build 2011

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, October 10, 2011

 

Last week in Toronto Canada thousands of green minded people from all over North America gathered to discuss the latest in green innovations.  While classes and seminars took place, the trade show exhibit halls buzzed with energy.

As one might guess, there were green building vendors of every service and material imaginable.  A very exciting development this year was the amount of green roof oriented vendors.  Over a dozen vendors selling green roof products were present.  

For us, the trade show was a tremendous success with lots of great contacts established as well as an award for our booth! In addition to the typical displays of some key projects we have done, we also had a display showing the difference between storm water quality in a neighborhood with traditional roofs and ground surfaces versus one which utilizes green roofs, rain gardens and porous surfaces. 

We would like to thank all the wonderful people who stopped by our booth and the USGBC for organizing this event.  It would have been a very long and boring trip without you.  We hope you had a great time at Green Build and look forward to seeing you again in the near future!   

 

Green Roofs and Facades: A Habitat Template Approach

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Friday, September 30, 2011

by Jeremy T. Ludholm

 

Review by Kat Harrold GRP

Great article on using the potential our built environment presents for plant life rather than trying to turn it into an environment it simply is not.  This article explores how we can use plants adapted to rocky surfaces and windy areas to green our cities and our green roofs.   

Are there any rocky areas in a park near where you are?  What kind of plants do your find growing there and how might you be able to create a habitat for them in your built area?


Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, September 27, 2011

By Kat Harrold GRP

Photo courtesy of greenroofs.com

Today was a long but exciting day in the green world.  At 7 am (est) the world of greenroofs and green walls just got a little greener as leaders in the eco minded community gathered together for a summit that no one had to drive to. Linda Velazquez started off the summit with a lovely introduction and welcomed key note speaker Charlie Miller of Roofsmeadow.

Charlies' opening broadcast was very informative perspective on the evolution of green roofs in the US and how there have been some misconceptions about the feasibility of these living structures.  One very interesting and key thing to remember from his talk was that while there may be a certain level of guilt about our built environment and the nature that it has displaced you simply can't "bring back" the landscape that originally occupied the city.  The geographic location may be the same as it once was but the micro-climate of a city roof on a windy street is drastically different from that of a deciduous forest floor.

Other presentations that followed were a very inspiring and entertaining discussion panel with Christine Thuring, Nathalie Baumann, Gary Grant, and Dusty Gedge.  Very excited to see so much research done on the older roofs and the long term ecological benefits and community's one can encourage.

Ralph Valazquez from Tremco gave a great presentation on corporate social responsibility.  I find that there are times where it seem that businesses and corporations have more power to change the quality of life in an area than the government.  Kudos to you Ralph for leading such a community and socially responsible organization and for encouraging others to do the same.

Chris Walk gave a refreshingly honest and informative presentation on Ranking Energy Benefits by Mission, Climate and Construction.  Through careful analysis of elements effecting a building's energy usage Chris examined several different types of buildings in various climates and how green roofs effected their energy usage.  In short far as the question "How much energy can I save with a green roof?" is concerned it's all relative.  In general green roofs can save energy for a building but that amount depends greatly on the construction of the building and location.

Nigel Dunnet gave a stunning presentation on options for designing ecologically diverse green roofs with a large visual impact.  Many times while the function of a green roof may be successful often it is visual boring or sterile.  Nigel also provided many wonderful approaches for maximizing seasonal and visual interest while still providing a richly diverse environment and functioning green roof.

The last presentation of the day was done by the Portland Ecoroof Program.  For anyone looking to start a green movement in their area this is a wonderful presentation for inspiration.  This presentation explored the history of green roofs in Portland and how the Portland Ecoroof Program grew from one green roof on a garage to over 30 acres of green roofs across the city.

Very nice presentations and much needed topics for the industry.  Tomorrow is sure to be equally as exciting!  I can't wait to see what green wall artist Patric Blanc has in store!









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