World’s First Modular Green Roof System
Green Roof Professionals around the globe often wonder or speculate how and when the commercial modern Green Roof industry really took off. There are many opinions and alternative facts out there but only a few really know that the hot spots with patents were in Basel Switzerland and in Stuttgart Germany for seamless or wall-to-wall Green Roof systems.
The World’s first modular (or tray) system has been developed in Stuttgart by Brecht and Hämmerle, mainly known as the Brecht System (if one doesn’t consider terracotta pots on roofs as a modular system).
The Brecht System was a basic polystyrene box with a three-layer Green Roof system. The system was available in extensive, semi- intensive and intensive planting depth. With this simple three-layer system the inventor combined many benefits in one box. All systems had a water reservoir for maximum water retention – more than any other Tray system currently on the market and more than any fabrics, foams or mineral wools, and the boxes contained standard nursery soil for a healthy fast growth and to lower costs.
There were different options for covering the less attractive boxes, with either wood or metal (aluminum). Today we call these frames around the boxes: Edging.
Based on the polystyrene, the boxes were very lightweight and easy to install. Actually, they fitted into each other to create different heights and different planting depths. I would describe them as a Modular –LEGO-like planting system.
Unfortunately, any polystyrene as a limited lifespan when exposed to UV or biological activity and so many of these roof gardens had problems after 5-10 years. Further, many of the plants rooted out of the boxes (drainage holes) and penetrated the waterproofing.
Around 1992 the last Brecht System was removed and replaced by wall-to-wall or seamless Green Roof systems. All of these Green Roofs are still existing - if the building still exists.
The Brecht Modular Green Roofs system had also other issues that are similar to the currently existing systems. However, nowadays the tray systems use metal, other plastics, and mainly with irrigation systems. This makes them last longer, but as often only delays the point of failure. The roots of plants and the biological activity on healthy Green Roofs are often underestimated as well as the functional lifespan of foams, polystyrene drainage mats, and mineral wool products.
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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
American Society of Landscape Architects is holding their annual meeting and expo this year in Boston from November 15th until the 18th.
On Monday, Nov. 18th at 8:00 am, Jorg Breuning and Rob Tilson will hold an education session titled "Solar Panels and Green Roofs Fully Integrated - The Smart Future Development."
The collaborative presentation between Green Roof Technology and Tilson Group will showcase two of the leaders in the green roof industry pushing the boundaries of their field.
The benefits of combining green roofs with solar panels is well documented. The two technologies have been used together for many years, beginning in Germany nearly 30 years ago when both technologies were only first being developed.
Over the decades both technologies have advanced greatly. Today, fully integrated green roofs with solar panel systems, known as Solar Garden Roofs, have been developed that maximize the two technology's beneficial synergistic effects.
The Learning Objectives of Jorg and Rob's discussion are as followed:
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!
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.
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
Photo Credit: Flickr - Sidstamm
I am pleased to inform you that Green Roof Technology will be moving to a new location. On the corner of Roland Avenue and 37th Street in the heart of Hampden. We have acquired more space and a delightful location!
We will be relocating June 1st. Please feel free to stop by and check out the new place! Our phone and fax numbers will remain the same.
3646 Roland Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21211