In 1992 Jörg Breuning, Green Roof Service LLC and Thomas Heuman, Heuman Gartenanlagen provided consulting services to Hundertwasser's architects, Springmann and Associates. It was quite an effort the contemporary artist and the City of Plochingen to develop an entire block of the city's historical district. This city has been around since the year 1146.
From the outside the historical buildings still remain the same and all facing to an intensive greenroof courtyard in the back. This courtyard and the backside of the buildings received an artists' distinguished signature in 1993. Efficient and gorgeous, the entire courtyard resides on a two story parking garage and grocery store, meanwhile the lush green environment above creates a different feeling. Hundreds of various plants decorate the landscape with paving materials snaking their way through to make perfect paths. The sloped roofs facing the courtyard are also fully or partially greened. Approximately fifty green roofs occupy the colorful, wavy historical buildings.
This particular construction of modern green roof technology underlines the artist's inspirations as well as supports diverse vegetation. The structure is a magnet to tourists and a true landmark of the region for over twenty years and well worth a visit!
October 23rd to the 26th San Francisco will be alive with Green Roof Professionals. Our very own Jörg Breuning will be featured in a lecture series at the Cities Alive Annual Green Roof and Wall Conference. The topic, Design with Maintenance in Mind, will highlight four sub-topics - one of which Jörg will be explaining the how the Solar Garden Roof System works, specifically highlighting the very first project installed on Randall's Island in New York City.
Insects, spiders and other arthropods on green roofs are not uncommon. Actually, long term studies show that arthropod colonization on green roofs, whether one-story tall or 20-stories tall, mimics ground level colonization, sometimes with even greater diversity. Arthropods are a vital component for any healthy ecosystem and their diversity in an ecosystem keeps pesky and damaging arthropods in check.
However, infestations on green roofs do occur. Last Fall, we helped Swarthmore College diagnose and treat a white grub infestation on one of their green roofs. By recognizing the infestation signs early, the college’s professional horticulture team was able to control the grub problem through organic pest control methods.
Recently, a red spider mite infestation was reported in a school in the UK with a 12-month old green roof. The infestation on the green roof was allowed to go unchecked for so long that the bugs made their way into the school via air ducts. When children began complaining of bites the school had to close down for several days to fumigate.
Naturally, all green roofs are susceptible to infestation. Red spider mites are a common household and nursery pest. Spider mites thrive in hot, dry conditions. Being aware of their preference for hot, dry conditions and the effect they have on infested plants is vital information all professional green roof maintainers must possess.
It is important to remind installers that all nursery plants arriving on a project site should be checked for possible disease and pest infestation. Green roof installers and maintainers must be able to recognize the early signs of infestation and know how to control their populations first through non-chemical methods and finally with a targeted plant-based, non-toxic pesticide if necessary.
Yesterday morning, Jorg Breuning spoke at the Sustainable Green Trends Workshop at Holiday Inn Midtown, NYC.
Jorg, along with William Foley of Tremco Inc., presented a 4-hour lecture titled "Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Green Roof System for Sustainable Projects."
The presentation explored the many ways green roofs can help develop sustainable design solutions. Listeners learned how green roofs aid in stormwater management and the compelling reasons to design and implement green roofs in all types of construction environments. Practical advice, plant selection, the history, and proper detailing of a green roof were covered as well.
Reflective Surfaces on Buildings are an Environmental Nightmare!
A new building on London's skyline nicknamed the Walkie Talkie has been blamed for melted car parts due to the intense sunlight reflected from its glass exterior. In a broadcast for Sky-News (movie) one reporter proves that it is possible to fry an egg in the reflected sunlight. Developers say they are working to rectify the problem by coating the windows with a less reflective material. The skyscraper's magnifying glass effect will continue for the next few weeks until the sun's elevation in the sky changes.
Reflecting sun light from building reaches up to 192°F ! Good to fry eggs.
While white roofs are not typically curved and are less reflective than the glass clad skyscraper, the physics behind these surfaces are exactly the same. They both are designed to reflect a high amount of the sun light back to the atmosphere. And by doing so, the reflected sun light has a second chance of being captured by particles in the air, increasing atmospheric temperatures surrounding the buildings. Certainly London’s Walkie Talkie skyscraper is an extreme example due to the unique shape of the building. However, it shows very clearly the physics of reflective surfaces, the damage they cause to the surrounding environment and a lot about the lack of common sense of architects, researchers and self-promoted experts.
With this last example, the discussion of high albedo building coverings (above Albedo 0,55) as being environmentally friendly should be at an end. Governments (e.g. EPA, LEED) should ban reflective surfaces on buildings immediately if they are serious with their environmental programs. Whether they were blinded by incomplete research, spoiled by the Dollars of manufacturers or simply think they can trick physics, it does not matter at this point.
Green Roof and Greens Walls (with low albedo) are the better and most advanced choice - naturally.
By: Samantha Yurek
With a growing number of green roofs appearing, the city of Baltimore is slowly climbing up the green ladder. I wanted to take some time to highlight a few green roofs located right in our neighborhood. In a dense urban setting, green roofs can play a huge role in sustainability efforts because of their ability to mitigate storm water during large rain events. Urban watersheds are especially vulnerable to environmental issues consequence of a high density of people mixed with large amounts of impervious surface area.
Created to aid the aquarium's conservation efforts, the extensive green roof atop the National Aquarium in Baltimore stretched for 4,000 square feet. Built in 2005 by the Furbish Company, the flourishing roof has been a pleasant addition to the inner harbor.
2. Hilton Hotel
The largest of them all, at 32,000 square feet would be located on the Hilton Hotel, installed by the Furbish Company in 2008. Adjacent to the Baltimore Convention Center and Camden Yards, the hotel has 757 rooms available. The green roofs reside on both the east and west wings of the building and create additional outdoor green space for citizens to enjoy.
3. Baltimore Convention Center
The Baltimore Convention Center followed in 2010, with the Barrett Company working to install a 15,000 square foot green roof. Doubling as a recreational area, this roof has been transformed into a green oasis in the heart of an urban space.
Also in 2010, Mercy Medical Center stepped up and installed three green rooftops to assist with patient health. With 17,500 square feet, these intensive green roofs are also viewed from many of the patient's windows. This project was completed with the help of Mahan Rykiel Associates.
An increase in green space in Baltimore is a fantastic step toward a more sustainable city. Keep up the good work Baltimore!
By: Samantha Yurek
Recently making an appearance on the front page of TIME Magazine honey bees are really starting to stir up popular interest. But why all of the sudden? About a decade ago honey bees started dying off an alarming rates. This past winter, nearly one third of honey bee colonies in the United States died or disappeared. In June over 25,000 honey bees were found dead in a Target parking lot in Oregon. Cause of death: an insecticide which contained neonicotinoids - a topic I covered back in May when the European Union took a stand and banned these killer pesticides.
Recognition of the significance of this issue is finally surfacing. Although started back in 2009, National Honey Bee Day was a more popular holiday this year. A grassroots effort by beekeepers and interest groups to promote community awareness on honeybees, this holiday was celebrates this past Saturday August 17th. The theme this year: "Beekeeping - Ask Me How to Get Started." Farmer's markets and nature centers among others all over participated, educating the public on honey bees.
All this commotion about these buzzing little creatures is beginning to pay off. The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a reduction in the use of widely known pesticides and a change in labeling on pesticides to educate the consumer on the harm to certain pollinators.
Photo Credit: Jörg Breuning
Honey bee efforts have been popping up all over the country. These efforts have not only been seen on rural farms, but even on rooftops in the city! One example perched seven floors up, 100,000 honey bees buzz busily, hard at work to keep a Manhattan green roof flourishing. Green roofs are a great place to start an undisturbed honey bee colony. Let's not forget how important these little creatures are in our ecosystem and how essential they are to our food production. Take some time to learn more about the amazing honey bee!
Green Roof Technology doesn't allow the use of herbicides or pesticides on any green roof project since 1980!
By: Samantha Yurek
Flowering plants are a common sight spotting in any hospital wing, mainly attached with get well soon tags. The new trend seems to be green that will last more than a week or two. Many hospitals and health wellness buildings are incorporating green space, much of it making an appearance on the rooftops. Staring at an attractive green landscape rather than an unappealing tar-stained rooftop has the potential to make every patient calmer and happier on a daily basis. It has been proven that views of natural landscapes have a positive effect on the emotional and mental health of those being treated, as well as those visiting.
The Baltimore Sun recently published an article in their healing section titled, Garden Rx: Hospitals and homeowners alike are investing in the therapeutic properties of landscaped places. The article highlights the addition of healing gardens in well-known hospitals in Baltimore such as Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore Washington Medical Center, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins Hospital and the UMD Rehabilitation and Orthopedic Institute.
Many of these healing gardens are designed to give patients, family and employees green space to relax and learn and heal within. The addition of green roof space provides many hospital rooms with preferred views of green plant life instead of a bland, brick building. Mercy Medical Center incorporated both healing gardens within a green roof, utilizing their space for both environmental and social benefits.
But not all patients can experience the benefits of an outdoor garden consequence of a compromised immune system. Months spent in the hospital battling leukemia created a unique opportunity for one SUNY-ESF landscape architecture student, Kevan Busa. Determined to graduate on time, but confined within the walls of a hospital, Kevan completed his final project on the healing potential of landscape design from a patient's perspective. Highlighted in the June 2013 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine, Kevan explains the frustration of a poorly designed healing space. A visit to an outdoor garden is out of the question for many patients. Busa wrote, "the solution may be gardens that can be experienced from indoors, through glass. This idea may not sound terribly inviting, but it is a far preferable alternative to 100 days of brick walls."
Green roof space that can be viewed from individual hospital rooms could be the solution to a quicker healing time and happier patients.
A well-known hospital in Germany, Diakonie-Klinikum Stuttgart, has approximately 150,000 square feet of green roof along with indoor plants as large as trees. The greening of this hospital has been an ongoing process since 1990.