Picture: Stuttgarter Nachrichten
Picture: Stuttgarter Nachrichten
Over 15 Million square feet of Green Roofs in 2 days!
In the World’s Green Roof capitol it isn’t a problem to walk over 15 million square feet of Green Roofs in two days.
Grinnell College Students, Architects and Professors joined me this year on a two day trip though out Stuttgart Germany.
Within the city limits and a population of around 700,000, Stuttgart can offer likely over 200 millions square feet of extensive and highly divers Green Roofs – more than the entire USA and probably Canada together.
The two days tour emphasized Green Roofs that are between 15 and 30 years old and that host over 40 different plants species. Remarkable is that not a single Green Roof was ever irrigated, nor fertilized in the last 10-15 years and most of them are maintained only once a year.
No Green Roof was ever replaced or fixed and the water proofing under all Green roofs never, ever leaked (in the US 50% of the green roof are getting fixed or replaced in the first 5 years). The average installation costs were at around $4-6/sf (in the US around $12-18/sf).
All Green Roofs have three major functions: stormwater retention, stormwater retention and stormwater retention.
Green Roofs in Stuttgart are part of a building like windows or doors. There is no necessity to make a big fuss out of it.
Being the World Champion in modern Green Roof technology is nothing to celebrate – it is the responsibility of sustainable and environmental conscious lifestyle combine with common sense.
The highlight of
the tour was the Bosch Parking Garage with the world’s largest Solar
Green Roof that was designed with extremely high diversity of plants
that are found only in (local) native dry meadows.
While the Green Roof measures around ¼ Million square feet the PV is designed for 1 Megawatt.
Unmatched world record in this combination on building structure that is 100 feet above a 6 lane Highway.
Thank you for all the comments on the blog post:
We believe a lot of people in North America agree with the comment that in some areas Green Roofs can't thrive without irrigation. We at Green Roof Technology don’t disagree nor agree. Allow us to bring the discussion into a fundamental perspective:
Before you built a structure, you have to remove nature or simpler living plants that nobody watered before. Modern green roof technology is able to mimic this type of environment and allows to promote exactly this drought tolerant and hardy vegetation. With a little more understanding of this technology, it is even possible to increase the plant varieties or the plants density.
Nevertheless the attractivity might not meet the expectations of us (humans). Our picture in mind of a roof garden is a lush green vegetation form that is created with plants that please us (humans), that are not poison or dangerous. In some areas we can achieve this goal by utilizing resources that haven’t been available at this location before the structure was built.
By using natural resources (and water is the most valuable) we start changing our environment (we take water away from somewhere – from plants somewhere) just for our own comfort. Understanding that and the value of water should create an awareness to green roof professionals or engineers to design modern green roof technology in a way that no water or super highly restricted amounts of water are utilized.
Unfortunately, the irrigation industry and most of the green roof designers grew up in an environment where resources are endless. With that said the current waste of water on green roofs is simply not acceptable to me and in these cases green roofs are an environmental nightmare - just for our pleasure (and cash) and that things look “nice and green”.
When I drive around in neighborhoods in San Francisco in the morning, my car is being washed by all the sprinklers and nobody has a problem with that…..
Simple and efficient technology is here since many decades but not in the interest of the industry, nor “re-invented” in the US or there is a lack of common sense – maybe it is a combination of all.
Most issues I am confronted with, are a result of high tech irrigation that is just not doing what it is supposed to do, there is not the right app, poorly designed and installed, too complicated for facility people etc. or simply drains the budget of building owners over time this water costs are going up.
Let’s discuss further and email us directly: email@example.com
Comment by Jure Šumi ((LinkedIn):
Interesting input Jorg. Yes, extensive roofs should be self-sufficient where they can be. But in my mind this is not possible in really arid areas like Jim is saying. With our partners in Abu Dhabi we are now investigating what plants should be used there, where top temperatures are regularly reaching 120 F in summer months (with no rain for years). If you use local plants that are surviving in desert than they are surviving only due to the fact that the roots are extremely long and go deep in to the ground to find some moisture (not possible on the roof). Limited irrigation is still needed but the roof needs design with minimised ET, so also irrigation is as low as possible.
Maybe another thing to consider. Yes or no irrigation is also a question of what someone wants from green roof. Nice look is one aspect, stormwater managment is another. We should not forget Energy efficiency. According to our investigation and perfromance tests, evaporation has big effect on energy efficiency in the summer due to cooling effect. If moisture in the green roof system drops below certain level, the cooling effect is limited. So to have best energy perfromance of the roof, than you need irrigation.
Response Jörg Breuning:
Thank you Jure.
My starting point of thoughts about irrigation on extensive green roofs goes back to a fundamental point and only a handful people make these considerations.
Humans are capable to replace nature with a manmade structure on any location on Earth and they make it suitable for people to live there. In these fundamental thoughts, I expect that humans are also able to create this lost part of nature on top of these structures.
I agree this is not always cheap and not everybody is blessed with creativity or experience. Nevertheless, it is possible and it is our responsibility if we respect nature.
The rooting depth of plants is certainly a key element - it isn’t a road block. It seems it is the preferred excuse that we don’t need to feel responsible in what we re doing and that we don’t feel guilty.
I also think it using water for cooling buildings in an open system (what any green roof is) is considered - in my world - using elementary, limited and precious resources for our convenience. In the case that producing water (in dessert states) for the wasteful irrigation of plants (to make our close environment nice) might be a problem to justify to more than 100 million people that have no access to dependable water resources.
What I am saying is, that growing plants even in areas where plants would hardly grow can be done with extremely low impact on natural, precious resources at costs that are lower in the short or long term. The current hype for green roofs can create significant drawbacks in 15 or 20 years from now to building owners if the costs of water continue to rise. Keep in mind a 20 year old green roof is not even the half of the life span of a green roof (at least that is what I know from experience).
Professionals need to start thinking long term and not for quick profit, they should disregard fancy fashions or get away from desperate LEED point collecting terms if they seriously respect nature.
Picture: Deep rooting plant on roof with hardly any soil and never intentially planted (in Texas at the border to Mexico).
Next Generation of Sustainable Buildings
Baltimore, MD / Hershey, PA --- The Sustainable Roofing and Waterproofing Alliance (SRWA) hosted its fifth annual fall conference from October 8-11, 2013 in Hershey, PA. The event brought together a global audience of architects, roof consultants, green roof experts, building design professionals, contracting firms, and building owners. This unique program featured in-depth educational courses and hands-on demonstrations designed to inform and advocate for advanced green building practices.
Enhanced moisture control of super insulated, high performance buildings envelopes in each climate zone on Earth is the key for long-lasting, low-impact and healthy buildings. Proper solutions will maximize the payback of investments for building owners and drastically reduce the environmental footprint of building structures at the same time.
The speakers at the SWRA Conference paired common sense with decades of scientific research and developed best management practices for any building envelope application.
“With over 200 attendees from 19 countries around the world the fifth SWRA conference set a new milestone for building professionals”, said Jorg Breuning, Green Roof Service LLC – Green Roof Technology, “vegetation on top of buildings are the ultimate transition from manmade structures to the natural environment.”
Effective, economic design and maintenance principals of modern Green Roof Technology was presented and discussed by Jorg Breuning. With over 34 years of experience, Jorg Breuning demonstrated that thinking outside the box or a ridged modular grid will separate the wheat from the chaff.
The SRWA team led by Samir Ibrahim, Director of Design Services at Carlisle did a phenomenal job to make this conference happen.
Green Roof Innovation
Green Roof Technology Reveals Latest Study about Mineral Wool on Living
Green Roof of the Year 2014 – 30 Years and Counting
The second oldest Green Roof Association* in the world, FBB (Fachvereinigung für Bauwerksbegrünung), awarded a prize for Green Roof of the Year 2014 to a 30 year old Green Roof on the Allianz Insurance Company in Stuttgart, Germany. Oldest Green Roof Association DDV (Deutscher Dachgärtner Verband).
The roof is one of the first projects where Jörg Breuning, CEO at Green Roof Service LLC / Green Roof Technology was substantially involved in the realization. Allianz Insurance Company decided in 1981 to build their local headquarters in the heart of Stuttgart. At that time the office building was already a big step forward for urban development in many regards. Along with very advanced, environmentally friendly technologies it was also one of the first buildings to achieve the split between living green working space and luxurious living in downtown of a large City.
The Green Roof is generally assembled around the building and on different levels. Most people in the offices have a view into the green spaces. Some areas of the Green Roof are accessible for coffee breaks and, on the highest floors there is usable garden space for the Condominium owners. The top floor even offers extensive lawn areas as playgrounds for kids.
All Green Roofs together measure over 21,000 sf. This inner city oasis utilized an advanced Optigreen Green Roof Systems with fully automatic high tide and low tide irrigation system in the mineral drainage layer. The plants “decide” when they need irrigation; no drop of water is wasted or can evaporate before reaching a plant. Neither a person nor electricity is needed to operate this fully mechanical system and it leaves enough room for precipitation to fill up the water storage under the plants. This green roof represents a smart combination of Blue Roof and Green Roof as Green Roof Service LLC / Green Roof Technology is still doing it on projects today. It is a foremost and 100% accurate irrigation system far beyond most irrigation systems that are operated by sensors, electricity, Apps, tubes, pipes or other highly vulnerable and expensive equipment we see every day on projects in North America or around the world.
The entire depth of this highly efficient Green Roof technology is approximately 18 inch and has allowed lawn, perennials, shrubs and small trees to grow for over 30 year without replacement or changing out the growing media.
Green Roof Service LLC / Green Roof Technology is proud of this Award and we are pleased to offer more information about it. We offer Green Roof tours for anyone interested in this kind of technology.
This has been a landmark project for more than 3 decades and we congratulate all who are part of this Award!
*Note: Oldest Green Roof Association in the world: DDV (Deutscher Dachgärtner Verband).
Picture 2013 Optigreen
Release Date: 03/04/2014
Contact Information: David Sternberg, 215-814-5548 firstname.lastname@example.org
-New EPA Report Documents Savings-
Lancaster, like hundreds of other cities across the country, has both a combined sewer system (CSS) and a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). While the CSS collects both sewage and stormwater and conveys flows to a wastewater treatment plant, the MS4 collects only stormwater runoff and discharges flow directly to receiving streams.
A copy of the report can be accessed at this link:
By: Jörg Breuning
Every now and then we find studies comparing green roofs verses white roofs. It seems like and up-stream battle for the green roof industry against the big profits that are being made in the roofing industry with reflective water proofing membranes. All manufacturers of roofing material know that a reflective membrane will sell easier and with a higher profit than a traditional black tar roof. It is cheaper in production, and with the right crew, easier to install as well. In addition, because of the environmental benefit (discovered by LEED), the pricing can be more expensive.
Covering this membrane with a green roof should increase the profits - so we think. In reality, it isn't the case because the lack of horticultural understanding and human's natural fear of nature make it a high risk factor or even a potential lawsuit. Stockholders and risk managers for large roofing manufacturers offer green amenities (because this is good for their image), but never pressure these offers. Unfortunately, for roofing companies, protecting the revenue and profits is of higher priority over the environment and real sustainable practices.
It is no secret that selected manufactures support Universities in order to preform research on reflective membranes verses green roofs. These manufacturers tell the researchers precisely what to say and do so their reputation thrives. Since research jobs are not plenty full and Universities have the same economic pressure as roofing manufacturers, the results of this research may be questionable.
In an older selective or reductionist study at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the so-called scientist went a step further. Writing a paper, clearly motivated by manufacturers, they described their data as somewhat sparse - does that mean worthless?
We still try to understand the words that are used in this study:
"Somewhat" = to a moderate extent or by a moderate amount
"Sparse" = thinly dispersed or scattered
We at Green Roof Service LLC/Green Roof Technology don't need simplyfied research that says "maybe yes" and "maybe no" in one sentence without considerations of the entire picture. Many people in the green roof industry don't have a scientific backing, but it is a great gift that they have common sense and understand that bringing back nature to where it previously resided is way better than covering the earth under a white burial shroud.
The bear in the stream catching the battling salmon can't extinguish the species - as long as the water is clean. If the water is polluted because of the lack of nature in our built up Cities, there won't be any salmon left and the bear will shortly become extinct as well. Responsible research and researchers can help keep our waterways and neighborhoods clean - or address a topic holisitc.
See also our blog post:
By: Samantha Yurek
According to the EPA, green infrastructure is simply the title given to an approach using environmentally friendly techniques to manage stormwater. This can include multiple efforts such as green roofs, permeable pavement, rain gardens or even planting more trees. It is well known that green infrastructure aids in decreasing stormwater issues, and ultimately creating a healthier environment and more livable neighborhoods.
This past December, the Natural Resources Defense Council released a study on how investing in green infrastructure creates value for commercial properties. The environmental benefits have been obvious, but how can green infrastructure help YOU out??
Picture: First Blue Roof and Green Roof combination in the US
The NRDC explains that "Commercial properties with well-designed green infrastructure can reap the rewards of higher rents and property values, increased retail sales, energy savings, local financial incentives (such as tax credits, rebates, and stormwater fee credits), reduced life-cycle and maintenance costs, reduced flooding damage, reduced water bills, reduced crime, and improved health and job satisfaction for office employees."
If interested in reading the full article you may visit the NRDC official website.
DPC Continuing Education, Inc has recently released their 2014 Future Green Trends Workshop schedule. These workshops focus mainly on rainwater design, green energy, green roofs and green materials.
Next up will be at the Holiday Inn in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. Held on Wednesday February 19th.
And following February will be March 12th, at the Hilton Garden Inn, located in Troy, NY.
Our very own Jörg Breuning has been a guest speaker in the past during these workshops and will be appearing again. Workshops dates to be announced.
For an extended schedule or more information, you may visit the official DPC website.