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Harford Glen Recieves Donated Green Roof

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, September 20, 2011
By Kat Harrold

 

Photo by ~ Kat Harrold

Despite flooding and hurricane winds Harford Glen Environmental Education Center completed it's demonstration green roof.  The demonstration green roof was donated by Green Roof Service LLC and features a regular black rubberized roof adjacent to an extensive green roof.  Designed at an angle, this green roof is set up to allow for visibility for students of all heights that visit Harford Glen.

Harford Glen is a critical resource in teaching school age children about the environment and the great out-doors.  Amanda Koss, one of the teachers at Harford Glen and lead advocate for this project, was a tremendous help with this project and so excited to finally have a green roof for the school.  This demonstration green roof will be a helpful hands on aid as part of their out-door class room lessons.  From this set up students can learn plant identification, stormwater management, heat island effect, green roof technologies, and ecology.  

The demonstration green roof sits on a "reclaimed wood" platform with an EPDM waterproofing membrane.  A protection fabric covers the green roof portion, followed by a drainage board, filter fabric, and extensive growing media.  The growing media was graciously donated by Skygarden.  Two drains are were also installed, one on the green roof side and one on the regular roof.  

The plants are a mix of sedums and herbaceous plants.  Some of the herbs consist of oregano, thyme, and chives.  A potential tasting addition to a school lunch!  

 

 

Photo by~ Jorg Breuning

Extensive Green Roof Maintenance

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, September 13, 2011

 

Extensive green roof being planted - Kat Harrold 

 

By Kat Harrold GRP

A common misconception with green roofs, especially extensive ones, is that they require no maintenance.  While some green roofs may be fairly self-sustaining and require little maintenance there is still some regular maintenance required to keep the green roof as a system working to it’s fullest. The three main things to consider are the plants, media, and timing.

Plant selection is very important in determining when you need to fertilize and weed.  Also deciding what is a weed is very important.  A weed very often is as subjective as beauty; often it is simply within the eye of the beholder.  Newly planted green roofs will need more weeding than established roofs to cut down on competition of resources while they try to get a foot-hold.  

Green roof media blended properly should have very little organic matter.  While extensive green roofs generally don’t require much additional nutrients they do need a balanced low-level fertilizer with micro-nutrients applied twice a year.  Do NOT use an organic fertilizer such as manor or compost.  The organic material can break up into very fine particles, which over time could clog the filter fabric and cause drainage problems.  Specifics on fertilizer content for green roofs can be found in the translated German green roof guide the FLL.

Timing is very important in terms of preserving both plants and your sanity.  On an establishing extensive green roof be sure to weed once every 2 months for the first year.  You can cut back your weeding to 3-4 times a year once the plants have established.  Taking extra care in the springtime and after a heavy rain can save a lot of time weeding seedlings instead of full grown weeds.  Grasses should be cut back in late winter to early spring.  FLL specified fertilizer should be applied once in the spring and once in the fall for the first year.  Have a professional check your roof after that to advise how much is needed there after.  

The Sky is Falling: A Critique of Failed Sloped Extensive Green Roofs

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, September 06, 2011

By Jorg Breuning


As of late we have been receiving more and more calls from building owners in distress about their green roofs.  The most serious of these complaints being erosion problems on their sloped roofs.  Sloped green roofs are a bit more complicated to design, install, and maintain than flat roofs and as a result people who disregard or don't know of the established FLL guidelines for sloped roofs, have created dangerous and costly situations ranging from mudslides to roof collapse.

One of the most infamous of these rooftop blunders was last winter in St. Charles, Illinois.  The project was designed to be the largest sloped roof in the US and during a heavy snow storm the roof collapsed.  Fortunately no one was hurt however the damage was devastating.  

Why did the roof collapse?  The problem lies in the drainage.  Snow is frozen water and where you have more water accumulating on a roof you will also have greater amounts of snow accumulate.  This insufficient or clogged drainage system and poor growing media is the most likely culprit in areas that held water or snow.  All this added weight during an extreme winter put the roof way beyond its capacity.

Sadly, this situation and others like it could have been avoid simply by hiring a true expert and checking their performance history for similar projects.  To read more about the dangers of improperly design sloped extensive green roofs and how to avoid them click here.

Below the renovated roof after it collapsed. Suddenly the green portion shrinked by at least 1/4.

What is the difference between “Pay-if-Paid" and "Pay-when-Paid?"

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, August 30, 2011
By Jorg Breuning

Recently I read an interesting article in the BusinessCredit of the National Association of Credit Management regarding “Pay-if-Paid" and “Pay-when-Paid” clauses in contracts.  Parallel to this article the topic was discussed in the “Construction Advisory Today”.

In the green roof industry there are good opportunities for people to start a new company or to switch jobs. Once in this new industry many find themselves caught in a shark tank. The sharks (prime contractors or general contractors) identify fresh blood immediately and bargain for the lowest possible price because of the desperate need for references.  This is common practice in the construction industry and there is nothing to complain about.  However it is also still common practice that the sharks try to make you sign a contract with a “Pay-if-Paid" or “Pay-when-Paid” clause.  Roofing manufactures or roofing companies especially stick to one of these clauses like a bug smashed on the windshield.

Once the subcontractor has signed a contract with “Pay-if-Paid” clause he might soon feel like a bug smashed on the windshield.  In other words if the prime or general contractors do not get paid, the subcontractor doesn’t see a Penny.  The subcontractor carries full risk when problems such as insolvency somewhere in the “food chain” occur.  The subcontractor also has no realistic chance to solve any payment problems on a higher level and so the little fish will be swallowed by the sharks.  Thankfully many States discovered this serious problem with “Pay-if-Paid” clauses and have outlawed the use of this clause.  Whether it is legal or illegal in your State don’t do it.  It is an unjust rip-off and doesn’t hold any responsibility for the prime or general contractor.  To prevent a “Pay-if-Paid” agreement the subcontractor may contact the prime/general contractor’s client and notify them that this bad practice can be solved elegant and quickly.

“Pay-when-Paid” – according to my knowledge – is legal in all States.  In a “Pay-when-Paid” contract there is a realistic chance that you will get money after a reasonable period of time.  This looks like a safe contract but my experience has told me that most GC’s take advantages of the situation “reasonable period of time”.  All payments will typically come later – much later than expected.

The guaranteed payment with a “Pay-when-Paid” clause appears to be the only advantage in this agreement for a subcontractor.  However the subcontractor must still add costs to his proposal that consider delays of payment, time spent finding out whether the GC is paid, and to pre-finance materials over a much longer time.
 
Conclusion:

Green Roof Service LLC’s division Green Roof Technology stays away from both types of contracts because this increases the costs, makes the entire construction process less efficient, and is great breeding ground for unnecessary tension between the contractors.  All things that will influence the final quality, service, and timeline are not in the interest of the investor in a “Pay-if-Paid” or “Pay-when-Paid” contract.

Make contracts with clear payment term and conditions –it is as simple as that.

Tellus 360 Reclaims its Roof

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tellus 360 green roof days after planting - Jorg Breuning

During one of the hottest weeks in the summer a couple of Irish lads with no fear of heat stoke began the challenging task of putting a garden on their roof.  

Joe Devoy and Martin Donnelly are the proud owners of the Irish antique and furniture store Tellus 360 in Lancaster, PA.  The store is an incredible treasure trove of home goods and furniture crafted from reclaimed wood.  Thier slogan "old wood, new story," beautifully describes not only their products but also their roof.  

The roof at Tellus 360 was in disrepair and needed replacing.  After finding out about possible funding for a green roof through Live Green in Lancaster the search was on to find a suitable candidate to make this green roof a reality and affordable.  Green Roof Service met the challenge and was able to work with the grant program providing a comprehensive design while staying on budget.  

Being a store full of hand crafted products it only seemed fitting that the lads at Tellus 360 get their hands dirty and build the green roof themselves.  Under the supervision of Green Roof Service the lads of Tellus 360 managed to beat the blistering heat.  Despite temperatures of around 110, they managed to get everything up and assembled on the roof to a very fine quality indeed.  With a beak from the heat as added motivation they were even able to complete the project in record time.   

One of the most challenging parts of the project was keeping the plants happy while they were waiting to be planted.  The extra efforts to keep the plants shade and in the ground as soon as possible were rewarded though.  While we were setting up our sprinkler system to help the plants establish, mother nature decided to lend and helping hand dropped what felt like the equivalent of a small lake from the sky.

It has been a few weeks now since the install the plants are doing great.  The roof is also much cooler and more bearable thanks to the greenery.  It took a while to get a permit for the patio area, but it is in and a design competition will soon follow!  Before long the project will be complete and a lovely bar with the best view of the city will be in place.  Sounds like a perfect way to end a strenuous day of shopping in Lancaster. 

Maiden Voyage of the Silhouette Lawn Club

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, August 11, 2011

Silhouette alcoves and lawn club - Jorg Breuning

Despite the down economy people are still flocking to cruise ships for their vacation getaway.  This year Royal Caribbean's Celebrity Cruises came out with yet another ship and this one features an actual lawn.  The Silhouette is the fourth ship by Royal Caribbean in the Solstice class to offer a lawn.  However, this one is a little fancier and offers some added features.

In addition to the field games such as bocce, croquet and golf putting offered on previous cruse ships, the Silhouette features luxurious alcoves with adjustable canopies for shade.  These alcoves provide comfortable seating on the lawn area and come stocked with an iPad 2.  

There is also a grill area where you can cook your own surf and turf with the expert guidance of one of their chefs or you can just enjoy the show and have them cook it for you.

The lawn club also feature a collection of hammocks perfect for taking a nap after a long day at port.  The lawn has become a favorite place for people to gather and picnic whether the ship is at sea or in port.

Leaky Roof Insurance

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, May 23, 2011

Testing a roof for leaks using an Electric Field Vector Mapping system 

It's been a tough week in terms of trying to get working conditions dry enough to do anything let alone put up a roof.  If your are planning on putting up a new roof and or green roof, be sure to consider getting a waterproofing membrane that is compatible with an electric field vector mapping system (EFVM).  This beauty can be installed before or after a new waterproofing is assembled and can find leaks that wont show up in a traditional flood test.  A leak may be in one section of the house however, the water may travel several feet before coming through the ceiling and playing a nice tune in your pets water bowl.  Having one of these systems prevents you from turning your roof into swiss cheese or a patchwork quilt trying to find and fix that illusive leak.  This also saves your green roof from total annihilation by knowing exactly what area to dig up.  In the long run this saves time and money and is cheaper than most waterproofing membrane insurance.  

Sharing History -- Swarthmore College -- Skyland USA LLC

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It is no secret that rooflite green roof growing media produced by Skyland USA LLC is the leading brand in the North American green roof industry. However it is not widely known that Swarthmore College - one of the nation's finest institutions of higher learning – and Skyland USA LLC are sharing lots of common green roof history.

In 2001/2002 Professor E. Carr Everbach, Professor of Engineering already discovered the advantages of “European style” green roofs including their tremendous benefit for the environment. After a successful but small research project on a maintenance building he was encouraged to implement more “green technology” on the campus at Swarthmore College near Philadelphia, PA. In 2002/2003 there were not many key players in the American market and so he contacted Jorg Breuning in Germany (today principal at Green Roof Service LLC and Co-owner of Skyland USA).

Jorg hopped on the next plane and flew to Philadelphia for a first meeting at the College where he presented a feasibility study to implement a green roof on their newly designed dormitory – Alice Paul Residence Hall.

Surprisingly the College agreed to most of his ideas but they needed an American company for the design, specification, site supervision and quality control. For Jorg Breuning the decision was made and together with Peter Philippi he formed Green Roof Service LLC. Next they signed the contract with Swarthmore College. Shortly after that they realized that sourcing installers and suppliers is a challenge. It took Peter and Jorg many visits at Laurel Valley Farms until Joe Di’Norscia was able to convince his bosses investing in a new market together with Green Roof Service. Finally Skyland USA LLC was born and shortly after that Furbish Company Baltimore, MD was founded as one of the first green roof installing company on the East Coast followed by Resource Conservation Technology as the first supplier for green roof components.

It was an amazing chain reaction of new innovative companies all based on ideas of two visionaries who found each other at the campus of Swarthmore College. Still today Swarthmore College is the green roof leader in the area with currently around 15,000 sq. ft of green roofs and much more in planning. These green roofs are also inspiration for many other green roofs in the area like Villa Nova University, University of Pennsylvania and many residential projects. Skyland’s rooflite is the key element for success on each project – leading materials for leading projects.

There is a lot of great information about the Swarthmore College projects which includes extensive information about installation with pictures and even fabulous movies.

Natural, Less Fat and Dirty Jobs

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nothing can top a cozy evening on the sofa with some Chunky Chips Ahoy cookies and watching my favorite show on Discovery Channel – Dirty Jobs. Usually I don’t buy Chunky Chips Ahoy cookies but while at the groceries the box promised “Less fat than the originals” and that was good with me after all these Christmas food. Well, after I finished more than a quarter of the box I decided to read the label and discovered that the serving size is one cookie (yes, 1). I am not sure who eats only one cookie but I was getting curious and started some research on the web. I learned that the “old” Chunky Chips Ahoy cookies had exactly the same nutrient facts as the one I just enjoyed. However they reduced the serving size (not the recipe) and as by wonder they suddenly have less fat!

This reminded me of many misleading statements in the green roof industry. There are suppliers who sell garden-like, rich blooming and nature-like green roof systems on their web sites which weigh less than 14 pounds per square feet. Once you worked yourself through all the specifications you learn that specifically the 14 pounds per square foot green roof is only a 2 inch deep system which requires regular irrigation, periodically nutrients and supports only a few Sedum species – far away from the earlier seen rich and colorful diversity. In other words it is much less of what you thought at the beginning. In the fine print you might also find that it depends on the location, availability of materials, organic content, saturation of the media and many other things including the unpredictable weather. As an architect or designer you can get lost just before you even started with the idea of implementing a green roof - unless you don’t care.

I also like RUFFLES® Natural Reduced Fat Sea Salted Potato Chips. However during my research I also learned that there they are not even close to healthy and probably from gene manipulated potatoes of vast chemical treated fields, naturally.

rooflite® Certified Green Roof Media is no dirt and so the Skyland USA LLC guys also can’t do any dirty jobs. They have only a few products and you easily will find the information you are seeking for. Their product line and production is definitely State-of-the-Art. Jörg Breuning and Peter Philippi had the idea long before anybody in the US thought about highly standardized products so Skyland USA LLC was founded in 2004 with a nice green roof project at Swarthmore College. Rooflite® is the most preferred and reliable green roof growing media through out the US and the owners of Skyland USA are known as the most experienced professionals for green roof technology in Europe as well as in Northern America. They truly care about the quality of the product, your project and a sustainable and honest growth of the entire green roof industry.

Top Ten misleading labels in the food industry

Green Roof Technology

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, April 14, 2009



Green Roof Service LLC – with more than a quarter century of experience as leaders in the establishment of the green roof industry in German spoken Europe and Great Britain, the principals have actively designed, installed, monitored and perfected their craft. Having been involved with millions of square footage of green roof projects, their understanding of these systems is unsurpassed. As they have no allegiance to any specific product manufacturer, they select the materials and approaches that work best in any given circumstance.

The principals participated in the largest research green roof endeavour ever undertaken (at Optigrün International AG in Germany, begun in 1994/1995, still ongoing) and have access to the resulting data (not fully translated into English) and an intimate knowledge of the “behind the scenes” circumstances that affect data output. Having one of the largest libraries for green roof research and products in the US, they continually update their resources and knowledge of ongoing research and new projects even when they are done by others.

The unmatched experience of the principals, acknowledged by the German FLL e.V. the FBB/EFB (German/ European Green Roof Association) and the German Landscape Association (GALA-BAU e.V) brought them in 1999 to the United States of America. The City of Chicago was the first project in the US which was built according modern Green Roof technology and starting with this project the principals were able to promote, educate and train today’s and nation’s key-player in the green roof industry.

The founders of Green Roof Service LLC understand modern Green Roof technology which is the basis for successful projects. They also understand related roofing details and the execution of highly skilled on-site monitoring which makes the green roof reliable and lasting as long as the building itself.

The experience of 120 Millions square foot of annual new Green Roof construction in Germany, with all ordinary and extra ordinary solutions, with all the competitiveness and all the efficiency is represented by Green Roof Service LLC in the United States of America.

Their extensive background affords them the right to boast the ability to ensure the outcome of each project they tackle.


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