Optigrün International AG (1-800-627-4955) recently released a completely redesigned green roof edging system. Created from 3.5 mm recycled ABS (with UV stabilizers of course), the new edging system uses hinge and click connections. The 3-point connection system is quick and makes laying perfectly straight edges a breeze.
The Type SKL edging system is available in 8 cm & 12 cm heights. The edging system consists of two types of pieces, 1100 cm lengths and 300 cm corners.
The versatile and easy to ship system can be designed for numerous applications such as separations, terminations & drainage channels. For more information and purchase opurtunities in North America please contact us at Green Roof Technology.
Ideal for roof slopes up to 5°.
Picture: Optigrün / Green Roof Technology
For eleven years, the green roof industry has been running into the issue of finding a lack of Sedum cuttings between November and May. Green roof plant nurseries are not able to produce Sedum cuttings during this time because they obviously never learned better. During this time they rather grow these plants in pre-vegetated plastic or metal boxes, sitting in a controlled greenhouse for bigger sales in late spring and leaving the clients alone later when exactly these expensive and high carbon foot print containers do not acclimate in their final destination. They call themselves green roof plant experts but hardly understand the typical life cycle of the plants they are growing.
When average temperatures drop most Sedums (most plants) store their nutrients and energy produced during the growing season in their stems and roots. The best indicator for that is the changing color of the leaves in the fall and when under stress. Once these reserves are stored in the little stems, they are extremely powerful and “programmed” for rooting - not for producing leave mass. Many Sedums root quicker in winter than in hot summers where they have to deal with high evapotranspiration because of their denser leave mass while their roots are not able to supply them with water to offset the water loss.
Utilizing Sedum cuttings on green roofs can reduce the cost for plants and planting by 90%, assuming the applicators know what they are doing. At the end, the overall costs will drop dramatically which leads into more green roofs and less subsidies from public agencies and non-profit groups. The plant pieces broadcasted in winter are most likely adapted to the conditions in their final location in less than 2-3 months and hardly require watering on hot spring days or in summer. This also reduces maintenance time and costs.
Jörg Breuning: “The lack of common sense and real expertise is the biggest problem in the North American green roof industry. My person is controversial discussed, many feel intimidated based on my experience and that I address problems directly, which are avoided by other professional or trade associations. I see myself as the stimulus in a literally growing industry.
From an environmental point of view longevity at acceptable costs, low maintenance, no supplemental watering, and the long-term health of the plants are crucial for ongoing success. Customer orientated work requires that we adjusted to nature – nature will never adjust to humans”.
Now that rooftops have been discovered to be a potential area for urban farming, many people believe this this is the solution for providing healthier and locally grown produce. They believe in this place despite its over average air pollution, lack of natural symbiotic opponents, high costs for water, poorly nutrient retaining soils, high labor costs and no machinery.
However and completely disconnected from all the above mentioned disadvantages food can also grow in the inside of any building. Modern green roof technology implemented in old yogurt containers to act like a modular system and can easily find a place close to a light source. Depending on the system, they require less than once a week watering. The water could even be recycled cold coffee (no sugar), tea or flat sparkling water before it is dumped into the sink. Instead of sieving out of the tea leaves or coffee grounds these waste products can be supplements to regular plant fertilizer. The run-off of these simple systems is zero since nobody wants water puddles in the living room, office or conference room. The results can be remarkable and some additional vegetables for lunch are always good.
The systems work without high tech, with fully recycled and recyclable materials, comes without an App, no power outlet and any other gimmicks.
The fresh green of the plants creates a nice living and working atmosphere, keeps the humidity in the comfort zone and additionally cleans the – already filtered – air. In our office peppers and pineapple are the favorites.
Green Roof Service LLC/ Green Roof Technology
Your Green Roof Technology team is able to develop low maintenance concepts for plants far beyond yogurt container solutions in private-, professional- and public environments. Furthermore, we design individual service packages concerned with the maintenance, health of plants and plant arrangements. From European studies we know that a better professional environment increases the motivation of people.
By Jörg Breuning Picture: Daily Harrald
Back in February of 2011, the lower end of Aquascape's headquarters collapsed after a heavy snow event that blanketed Chicago with 2 feet of snow in 24 hours. The building once held the title as the "largest sloping green roof in North America," covering over 256,000 square feet.
In a blog post, Green
Roof Technology covered the roof collapse back in 2011, blaming the
failure of the green roof on poor engineering regarding the drainage of
the system. Blog post 09/06/2011
We also wrote a Case study about the dilettantism and ignorance of so-called experts that are designers, engineers and construction companies when it comes to modern green roof technology (download PDF: Fixer Upper or Lawsuit? Sloped Extensive Green Roof Critique).
Since we've collected even more examples that are not mentioned in the press, that are fixed “quietly” or where the client has been convinced that certain problems are “normal” for a green roof. We estimate the potential of law suits on existing green roofs over 80 million Dollars, which is probably more than the entire Grant money spent so far for the implementation of green roofs.
Many of these self-promoted experts are still playing an important role in the American green roof education system (GRP) and within the North American industry. It is interesting to mention that in other countries where green roofs have been established over decades and where there are 10 times as many built annually, that there were never such incidents reported. These countries not even have a “highly developed” green roof professional education system. What they have is called Common Sense; the understanding of how small indicators could cause huge problems and they understand their responsibility to the industry even when they are not directly involved. There is no ignorance, dilettantism or vanity – just pure professionalism based on solid education.
Now two years later, Aquascape has sued 9 different contractors, construction companies, engineers and architects for $13 million in damages. These companies include Artisan Design Build LLC, Senekteks, Tricon Construction, Olsson Roofing, Tecza Environmental Group, Applied Ecological Services, Metallic Building Company, Area Erectors and Dewberry Architects (Read the Daily Herald Article) and we still have the cart in front of the horse.
Green Roofs & Walls of the World - Virtual Summit 2013 is striving to inform, share and create a global social media experience for learning and networking around green roofs and living walls.
Immediately after Green Roof Technology's video, a 15 minute live Q&A will take place with Jörg and Ryan. The video will touch on the benefits of a solar green roof, cost-benefit analysis, two interviews with the president of Solar Gaines, Hans Wittich and Artie Rollins, the assistant commissioner for city-wide services with the NYC Parks & Rec Building, along with much more.
If you're interested, tune into the video and Q&A session, you may register on the Summit Website.
Photo: Jorg Breuning
The German FBB (Fachvereinigung Bauwerksbegrunung e.V.) is the oldest Green Roof Association in the world and with around 120 members, probably one of the smallest. However, most FBB members are considered leaders in modern green roof technology and their average green roof experience is far over 20 years. It is an elite group that has seen everything you can imagine related to vegetation on impervious areas.
As the father of all green roof associations, this year's event was again filled with innovations, information and trends.The FBB president, Dr. Gunter Mann, pointed out that there is a huge potential for the industry to increase the annual green roof construction. In 2012, the 120 FBB members reported over 40,000,000 square feet of new construction, a significant addition compared to the previous years. The true annual new green roof construction in Germany might be doubled compared to the rest of the world. However, Germans are modest and not interested in quantity, but specifically in quality. Quality of installation, intelligent research and decent public relations are the foundation of the FBB.
In partnerships with other associations (Landscape Association, Concrete Association, Roofing Association, Association for Water Protection, along with many more) it is impressing to hear about the successful public awareness on green roofs.
The elite group at the FBB does a great, inexpensive and super-efficient job for a better and sustainable environment, mainly throughout Germany and reaching out into the world. For many decades they have been setting milestones for a growing, global industry and it is always a blessing to mingle with the biggest, most experienced and best-educated green roof professionals in the world.
Our very own Ryan Miller was recently interviewed for the Solar Power World Magazine, focusing on our Sun-Root™ System. Solar Power World is written with a focus upon Technology, Installation and Development, reaching tens of thousands of industry professionals. “Four Questions with Ryan Miller of Green Roof Technology” will be featured in the upcoming April issue of the Solar Power World Magazine. The online version can already be previewed on their website, SolarPowerWorldOnline.com!
SPW: What is the concept behind the Sun-Root System?
Miller: As a green-roof company for more than 30 years, we have seen many innovations to modern green roof technology that makes it more marketable and affordable. When you sit down with clients, they want to know how much they are spending and what is their return. The payback of a green roof lies somewhere between 15 years to 25 years in most cases, and for many building owners that is not something that excites them. So we looked for ways to shorten this payback period while still meeting our goal of increasing the world's green spaces.
Continue reading here at SolarPowerWorldOnline.com!
Ornithoport in Bonn
Airports are plentiful in our world, but a unique concept involves creating airports specifically for birds. An exhibition on the roof of the Art and Exhibition Hall over the summer of 2012, highlights this common area as a destination point for birds. To aid this bird airport (ornithoport), nesting boxes and feeders were installed, as well as approach and departure structures, complete with flashing airport signals and safety announcements. All together this presentation is not only an awesome art piece, but probably the best landing facility for birds from all around the world. The curator of this project, Professor Res Ingold explains, "In our case, it is an artistic project with scientific backing."
Founded in 1992, the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany has played an important role in the community of Bonn, Germany. Designed by the architect, Gustar Peichl, the building displays various exhibitions in fields of art, archeology, cultural history, science, and technology. Aside from exhibitions, the community center frequently hosts symposiums, conferences, performances and concerts. One of the more attractive aspects of the building is the intensive rooftop garden, which is often site for sculpture displays. This vegetated rooftop is a nice addition for relaxing with a fantastic view of the surrounding city. In the summer refreshments are served at the beer garden, wildflowers brighten the landscape and the air is busy with buzzing honeybees. Multiple honey bee colonies call this rooftop garden home. In 2012 these little magnificent creatures produced 1,200 pounds of honey! Accurate daily monitoring of the productivity of the honey bees is accessible online in German, French and English.
By Jörg Breuning
Well before modern green roof technology started in Germany in the 1970s, I was already collecting Sedums in the Alps. As a kid I liked the little ‘fir trees’ because I was able to carry them home in my stuffed Lederhosen pockets and miraculously they would survive, even after a 4-5 hours hike. Forty years later, there is still one surviving ‘fir tree’ growing out of a terra cotta pot at my Mom’s house. The last time it was repotted was more than 20 years ago.
When I was a teenager, Professor Hans Luz, a Landscape Architect from Stuttgart, Germany, was pioneering the implementation of green roofs on buildings and parking structures. A visionary, Luz recognized green roofs’ stormwater retention potential and their overall ability to reduce the environmental footprint of any building. From there green roofs went viral, spreading throughout Germany and Europe. It was not long before cities began realizing the relief green roof provided to their overloaded combined sewer systems.
By the nineties green roofs had spread all over Europe. Pockets of green roof believers had developed in cities across Europe. But modern green roof technology was struggling to spread beyond the borders of the EU.
During the nineties I frequently vacationed to the United States, notably the Southwest. Even while on vacation one part of my mind was always considering how green roofs could be introduced to the States. I desperately tried to make presentation about green roof in the USA but associations like International Erosion Control Association were never interested. I talked to many American landscape companies during my vacations, but they simply thought I was crazy.
In 1999 Chicago’s Mayor Delay visited Germany and saw a green roof for the first time and decided he wanted this technology on his City Hall. Almost 30 years after green roof technologies were first developed in Germany the time was finally right for the United States. I am proud that I brought green roof technology to this project in Chicago.
Twenty years from now I believe green roofs will be a fundamental part of all new buildings, as important a basic building feature as windows, doors, heating and cooling, water supply, etc. In the end it is all about reducing the footprint of a building and putting on top of a building what was once on the ground – this is just common sense. In my opinion it is simply our responsibility that we have to diminish our impact into nature. We can do it in many ways, but green roofs seem the most efficient. The longer we wait the more of our current profit and wealth we have to sacrifice later.
Success also means Green Roofs must be done right the first time. There is no need to over engineering, use irrigation, strive desperately for LEED points, embellish the aesthetic design or embrace crazy environmentalists’ ideas that want green roofs to save the entire world.
This reminds of another success story that started in Stuttgart, Germany when Gottlieb Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) invented the world’s first car. His invention went around the globe in a very short time and is the basis of any functional economy. From the same place, green roofs are now starting to go around the world and will be the basis of any functional urban ecology.