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Heat Wave 2012

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Friday, July 06, 2012

 

The unceasing heatwave gripping the Northeast is quickly moving into the absurd.  With temperatures consistently hovering around 100º F there are few places outdoors you would consider pleasant.  Especially not a roof top smack in the middle of New York City, straddled by an interstate highway. Despite the Extreme Heat Advisory, we decided to send Andrew back to the Park & Rec Building to check up again on the Sun-Roots.  

Andrew was happy to report that the sweat pouring from his brow was more than enough to irrigate the sun-baked Sedums.  During conditions like these we continue to be amazed at the ability of Sedum to thrive in such extreme hot and dry conditions in minimal growth media.  Stressing times like these are good for the Sedums, it develops their hardiness.  It is important not to spoil your green roof plants by irrigating them.  They may suffer a little bit, but they will survive and reestablish themselves even stronger for the next heatwave.  

Episcopal Academy Raises the Roof

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, June 28, 2012

By Kat Harrold

 

Photos by Jorg Breuning

As the procession of minivans dropped off their little darlings for another exciting day at summer camp the sound of heavy machinery and green roof construction joined the chorus.  Green Roof Technology and UrbanEcoforms with the help of the Episcopal Academy's green roof advocates Joe and John made record time with the installation of the Episcopal Academy's first two green roofs.

The already eco-minded school has an impressive collection of energy efficient buildings and outdoor learning opportunities.  The green roofs are an invaluable asset in expanding their commitment to the environment and hands on learning.

Both green roofs are visible from glass hallways providing excellent observation of seasonal changes.  The extensive green roofs feature a mix of sedum plugs and cuttings with a grass swale and picturesque clusters of allium. 

 

 

 

                                                                              

 

 

Revolutionary Philadelphia Green Roof

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, June 21, 2012

By Kat Harrold

 

Image by Realen Properties

Philadelphia has one of the most progressive green roof programs in the country.  Their support for green roofs in based on an aggressive stormwater management plan to hold all run off on site.  Beginning late this fall, The Philadelphia Convention Center Parking Facility will open utilizing an architectural marvel featuring a combined blue roof and green roof system designed by Green Roof Technology and Realen Properties.

Green roofs and blue roofs are both great for capturing stormwater onsite.  Green roofs retain water by acting like a giant sponge while blue roofs hold the water on the roof similar to a rooftop swimming pool.  Blue roofs may hold more water than green roofs during intense storm events, however the standing water can create stress on the building and breed mosquitoes and bacteria.  The revolutionary green roof on The Convention Center Parking Facility combines only the best of both these technologies.  The green roof has an extra deep profile affording higher water storage capacity.  In addition to the added growing media, a specially designed insert for the roof drains holds water up to a couple of inches within the lower layers of the growing media.  When a 100 year storm event occurs this insert has an overflow mechanism allowing the roof to drain freely once the max saturation level has been reached.      

Beauty and intelligence are key to the success of this project.  Not only is the function of the green roof innovative and practical, the aesthetic will be just as exquisite.  The green roof will be visible from the Philadelphia Convention Center and accordingly will feature an eye catching seasonal display of color through a mixture of native ever greens, grasses, and perennials.  Crocus, and daffodils burst with color in the spring providing seasonal interest.  In the fall and winter months scarlet mahonia and evergreen ferns add to the festive decor.



Pittsburgh Goes Green

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, June 14, 2012

By Kat Harrold

 

Photo by Jorg Breuning

This past week Kat Harrold joined Ian Cooke of Monrovia and Mike Coraggio from EcoWalls for an ASLA green wall lecture series.  The trio gave an informative presentation on vital elements to consider from design phase to maintenance of green walls.

Ian charmed the audience with illuminating and entertaining descriptions of key specimens to utilize for climbing green walls.  He also provided a nice over view of different systems and materials to consider when selecting green wall support systems.

Kat provided detailed climbing green wall information from a case study of a recent project.  The case study discussed the evolution of the project from the architects concept drawings to plant selection and custom planter designs.  This project demonstrated how once can create an inexpensive and ecologically effective outdoor green wall on a LEED retrofit.

Mike finished up the presentation with beautiful creations that only he and the Imagineers of Disney could dream up.  Intensive green walls for both indoor and outdoor displays lit up the screen with a variety of themes and ornate designs showing the true aesthetic potential for this green medium.

 

 

 

Begining of a Green Generation at the Episcopal Academy

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, May 17, 2012

By Kat Harrold

 

The Episcopal Academy -  Photo courtesy of Archdaily.com

The Episcopal Academy has long been known for leading the way in academic excellence.  Adding to this commitment to enhance the mind, body, and spirit of it's pupils the academy will be installing a series of green roofs on their academic buildings under the guidance of Green Roof Technology.

The green roofs will feature an extensive greenroof set up composed mainly of sedum plants and hardy herbs.  The green roofs will be used to promote local ecology, aesthetic appeal, in addition to being an interactive learning tool.  Visible from high traffic areas in the building, these green roofs will be an ever present and key tool in promoting the latest in sustainable practice and design.

 

 

 

A Feast for Fauna - Creating Biodiversity for Pollinators

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Friday, May 11, 2012

By Kat Harrold

 

Photo - By Kat Harrold

Green roofs are more than just a lush tool for stormwater management.  Green roofs have other benefits such as the potential to bring forth a bountiful feast to pollinators.  Pollinators are critical to our survival making it possible for grow the crops that feed our hungry nation and aiding in the replication of vegetation which purify our air and bodies of water.  Pollinators include a variety of areal insects as well as a few birds and bats.  

A shining example of this style of green roof we have worked on is the Hamerschlag Hall at Carnegie Mellon.  Hamerschlag Hall features extensive and semi-intensive green roof areas with a variety of ground covers and tall grasses.  Herbaceous plants and sedums provide food while an array of evergreens creates opportunities for shelter.

On the rooftop of the Resource Conservation Technology Ice House we created a garden specifically for honey bees.  Fragrant drought tolerant herbs and bulbs bloom from February to November creating both seasonal interest and a consistent food source.  

Click here find out more about the specific plants used in the garden.

 

 

ABC Carpet Green Roof Environmental Monitoring

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, April 30, 2012

By Andrew Yanders


Photo By Kat Harrold  -   Featuring Jorg Breuning (left) and Andrew Yanders (right) at ABC Carpet and Home

In 2010, the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC), in partnership with the Bronx Borough President’s Office, submitted a proposal to the Bronx River Watershed Initiative to fund a 10,000 square foot green roof on the ABC Carpet Bronx Outlet building at 1055 Bronx River Avenue, Bronx, NY.  Green Roof Technology worked with the BOEDC to manage the project, beginning with the design all the way through training and supervising a local workforce to install the green roof.  The installation at ABC Carpet was completed in early November of last year.

This past Friday, Jorg, Kat and Andrew traveled to the Bronx to check on the health of the green roof and to construct 4 environmental monitoring stations.  All 4 stations are approximately 1 m tall with a 1 m x 1 m x 0.15 m box integrated on top.  Two of of the top-mounted boxes are filled with an extensive green roof system and the other two are only lined with a waterproof membrane.  Each box is equipped with 3 temperature probes and a tipping bucket.  In the coming weeks, a stand alone weather station will be installed on the roof to monitor wind speed, relative humidity, air temperature, and sun intensity.  

Over the last decade Green Roof Technology has worked with numerous organizations and academic institutions to design and set up their green roof monitoring programs.  Beginning in the late 1990’s, GRT helped establish the first FLL green roof media testing laboratory at Pennsylvania State University and advised their leading researchers on how to set up their own green roof research center.  Since those early days in North American green roof research, Green Roof Technology has had the pleasure of establishing research programs at Carnegie Mellon University, Swarthmore College, the City Hall in Chicago, and Villanova University.  In 2007, Green Roof Technology worked with the BOEDC to design and install green roof research stations at the Bronx County Court House.  These stations were the first green roof boxes to be tested in North American according to the strict FLL guideline and the FLL’s standardized testing procedures.

 

 

 

 

ASLA Tour Lancaster Green Roofs

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, April 23, 2012

By Kat Harrold

Franklin and Marshall Schader Hall  -By Kat Harrold

This past Friday, our very own resident green roof guru, Jorg Breuning, acted as an impromptu green roof tour guide in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  They city was host to American Society of Landscape Architects’ Pennsylvania-Delaware chapter’s annual meeting.  The city of Lancaster boasts many thriving extensive green roofs and has recently announced its commitment to becoming a national role model for urban green infrastructure through its LIVE Green program.  Green Roof Technology has had the pleasure of designing several green roofs in Lancaster City.  Jorg led a group of 30 landscape architects around the city explaining the different green roof systems on display.  The tour group visited two green roof designed by our firm, located at Franklin & Marshall University and Tellus 360

 

 

Swarthmore's David Kemp Hall Reaches Tenure

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, April 18, 2012
By Kat Harrold


Photo ~ By Green Roof Technology

For some, green roofs may seem a novel addition to a green minded institution but to Swarthmore College it was an essential and strategic move.  In 2008 when the college needed to add a dormitory to accommodate its growing student body, there were concerns about the increased run off from the new construction.  Sustainable architecture through green roofs offered a solution that minimized the building foot print making construction of the new dorm possible.  The green roof was spear headed by a few brave faculty, dedicated alumni and students, and Green Roof Technology.  To stay on budget the school chose to invest in a green roof instead of the costly LEED certificate while still building to LEED standards.  This dorm was recognized in 2010 with the American Institute of Architects Housing Award.

The 8,600 sf green roof is the home to many plant species including sedum album murale, sedum spurieum roseum, delosperma nubigerum, and some indigenous plantings.  The green roof also features a raised planting bed for experimental vegetation such as cacti.

The profile of the green roof is a shallow extensive system and has a total profile of 3.5 inches with the growing media depth composed of 2 inches.  While Swarthmore may have a reputation for having the best maintained green roofs in the area, the maintenance required on the roof is blissfully minimal.  To maintain its pristine state Gardener Lars Rasmussen weeds occasionally as needed and irrigates only when drought conditions exceed two weeks.  The roof is minimally fertilized and occasionally cutting back of the overly aggressive plants takes place to encourage more diversity on the roof.

Since its installation the green roof has reduced run off, air pollution, and saved energy on the top floor of the building by as much as 25%.  While the green roof is not available for students to congregate it is open for guided tours and classes and is visible to all from the third floor.









NYC Botanical Garden : The Orchid and Green Wall Show

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

By Kat Harrold


Photo ~ Kat Harrold

For those of you looking to escape the cold snap and visit the warm weather again try the NYC Botanical Orchid Show.  Not only will you get your warm weather fix but you will also be privy to an incredible display of living art featuring vertical gardens by french botanist Patrick Blanc.  

The show runs till the end of the month and features orchids of every color, shape, and species imaginable.  As an avid orchid fan I have spent countless hours admiring the orchid displays of Longwood Gardens and this might even trump their Orchid Extravaganza.  What makes this particular orchid display so amazing is the integration of so many varieties into several Patric Blanc designed green walls.

Like an artist carefully apply strokes of paint to a canvas, Patrick Blanc give sweeps of color to these green walls with dedrobiums, cymbidiums, cattelyas, and many more.  The use of ephiphytes, plants that absorb moisture and nutrients from the air or accumulating debris, are an excellent choice for maximizing water and nutrient resource conservation in green walls.

 

 

 

 

 


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