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Lancaster School District Green Roof Report Card

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, November 16, 2011

By Andrew Cole Yanders

 

Photo By ~ Kat Harrold

Last week, Andrew and Kat traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania by request of the School District of Lancaster and LIVE Green Lancaster to tour and evaluate three green roofs in the district.  The report card was not good.  Parent-teacher conference bad.  We have made available a detailed school-by-school evaluation of each roof, containing a diagnosis and recommended treatments. 

To find out more about the diagnosis and recommended treatments visit our Resources page.

We are Expanding to Canada Eh

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, November 09, 2011

By Kat Harrold

 

Photo by Jorg Breuning

Green roofs are blooming in Toronto and so are we.  With the help of our newest member Patty, we will be opening a new office in the fair city of Toronto. 

Patty Jordan is the powerful and creative force behind our new branch in Toronto.  As the current owner of Alive in Colour Decorating Services, Patty has a real eye for design and style with the business knowledge to get it all done.  

Her ability to assess business requirements and create innovative solutions to improve organizational performance. Being a native to Canada and having worked in public policy will also be an invaluable asset as we move into this new territory.

Be sure to stop by soon to find our more about the new endeavor in a world where even the sky isn't the limit!

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Patty Jordan

 

Easy as ABC - Bronx Week 2

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, November 07, 2011

By Kat Harrold 

Photo By ~ Kat Harrold

It has been a long and exciting journey as we reach the homestretch of this project.  What started out as a question of whether or not a green roof on a warehouse is structurally possible has blossomed into a its first week of construction. 

In the beginning we worked with the structural engineer and determined that the best design for the roof was to have the vegetated area cover 12’ wide sections on the support beams.  Given the unique character of the planter like beds created by this design root barrier was added to the layered system.  

After the design phase we helped the Sustainable South Bronx acquire materials for the roof and construction.  Working with Sustainable South Bronx is always a real treat for us.  Having helped train their initial in green roof installation crew, we have the joy of seeing old friends and the peace of mind knowing that the roof is in good hands.

Last week after some weather delays we were able to bring the growing media onto the roof and into its respective planting beds.  It was a dirty job but somebody had to do it.  Despite the gritty nature of the work it was visually relaxing seeing the roof begin to resemble a garden more than a roof.

This week the planting will be finished just in time for the plants to settle in and prepare for a long winter nap.
Once the roof is done a weather station as well as precipitation and temperature sensors will be added to monitor the green roof and regular roof.  

This green roof will be open to the public for educational tours.

 

ABC Carpet Goes Green Week 1

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, October 18, 2011

By Kat Harrold GRP


 

 Photo~ Jorg Breuning

After much anticipation and preparation, the ABC Carpet and Home green roof has officially begun construction!  We met with Construction Manager, Micheal Cluer, and Forewoman, Collen Loft, yesterday at ABC to check on the progress and to discuss project details.

The first few days consisted of meticulously cleaning the roof so as to remove all debris, such as nails and small stones, that might damage the waterproofing.  A thorough examination of existing roof conditions was also performed to check for any preventable trouble spots.  While the weather had called for only 10% chance of precipitation with sunny skies Monday, that 10% decided to make a visit early that morning which turned the sweeping into more of a mopping procedure.  On the bright side the roof will be squeaky clean and puddles were quick to evaporate.  

The next step after cleaning the roof will be to find the support beams and mark out where the green roof segments will go.  Once this is done, edging will be cut and assembled to frame the green roof planting areas.  Because of all the pipes present on the green roof there will be some areas that will be segmented so that they can be built around the pipes.  

Check in next week as we get into the dirty business blowing the growing media onto the roof.  For those of you not familiar with what that entails just think of a snow machine.....but one that blows dirt instead of snow.

 

 

 

ABC Carpet Goes Green

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, October 10, 2011

 

 Photo courtesy of ~ ABC Home and Carpet

As the leaves begin to fall, a new roof is being raised as Green Roof Service and the Sustainable South Bronx prepare for the installation of ABC Carpet and Home's series of green roofs at its Bronx location.

Building a green roof on a warehouse can be a difficult task since the building is a wide open structure with little support for the roof.  To circumnavigate this issue, we designed green roof strips to go on every other support beam of the roof.  By keeping the green roofs on the strongest segments of the roof we were able to cover 10,000 square feet of the roof without over stressing the roof.

Harford Glen Recieves Donated Green Roof

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, September 20, 2011
By Kat Harrold

 

Photo by ~ Kat Harrold

Despite flooding and hurricane winds Harford Glen Environmental Education Center completed it's demonstration green roof.  The demonstration green roof was donated by Green Roof Service LLC and features a regular black rubberized roof adjacent to an extensive green roof.  Designed at an angle, this green roof is set up to allow for visibility for students of all heights that visit Harford Glen.

Harford Glen is a critical resource in teaching school age children about the environment and the great out-doors.  Amanda Koss, one of the teachers at Harford Glen and lead advocate for this project, was a tremendous help with this project and so excited to finally have a green roof for the school.  This demonstration green roof will be a helpful hands on aid as part of their out-door class room lessons.  From this set up students can learn plant identification, stormwater management, heat island effect, green roof technologies, and ecology.  

The demonstration green roof sits on a "reclaimed wood" platform with an EPDM waterproofing membrane.  A protection fabric covers the green roof portion, followed by a drainage board, filter fabric, and extensive growing media.  The growing media was graciously donated by Skygarden.  Two drains are were also installed, one on the green roof side and one on the regular roof.  

The plants are a mix of sedums and herbaceous plants.  Some of the herbs consist of oregano, thyme, and chives.  A potential tasting addition to a school lunch!  

 

 

Photo by~ Jorg Breuning

Endangered Fern Calls Franklin and Marshall Home

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cliffbrake Fern (Pellaea glabella) at Franklin and Marshall College - Kat Harrold

Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster PA already has a reputation for being green as it sports a large collection of green roofs.  During the installation of their latest green roof on Schnader Hall, a "green wall" was discovered.  Clinging to a shaded brick support wall on the roof a collection of tiny ferns were found.  Upon further examination these plants were discovered to be Pellaea glabella, commonly known as smooth Cliffbrake Ferns.

The Smooth Cliffbrake fern is a small evergreen fern with fronds reaching 2 to 8 inches long.  The Smooth Cliffbrake fern is native to the US and parts of Canada.  True to its name, these ferns are commonly found on limestone cliffs and ledges.  A rather rare species, the Smooth Cliffbrake is also considered endangered in Connecticut and Maryland, and is classified as threatened in New York according the USDA.

This just goes to show that sometimes you don't need a fancy set up to have a green wall.  From a mockery stand point, this "green wall" is maintenance free, requires no fertilizer schedule, or irrigation system, and uses exclusively native plants.  Sometimes mother nature just has the best system.

Tellus 360 Reclaims its Roof

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tellus 360 green roof days after planting - Jorg Breuning

During one of the hottest weeks in the summer a couple of Irish lads with no fear of heat stoke began the challenging task of putting a garden on their roof.  

Joe Devoy and Martin Donnelly are the proud owners of the Irish antique and furniture store Tellus 360 in Lancaster, PA.  The store is an incredible treasure trove of home goods and furniture crafted from reclaimed wood.  Thier slogan "old wood, new story," beautifully describes not only their products but also their roof.  

The roof at Tellus 360 was in disrepair and needed replacing.  After finding out about possible funding for a green roof through Live Green in Lancaster the search was on to find a suitable candidate to make this green roof a reality and affordable.  Green Roof Service met the challenge and was able to work with the grant program providing a comprehensive design while staying on budget.  

Being a store full of hand crafted products it only seemed fitting that the lads at Tellus 360 get their hands dirty and build the green roof themselves.  Under the supervision of Green Roof Service the lads of Tellus 360 managed to beat the blistering heat.  Despite temperatures of around 110, they managed to get everything up and assembled on the roof to a very fine quality indeed.  With a beak from the heat as added motivation they were even able to complete the project in record time.   

One of the most challenging parts of the project was keeping the plants happy while they were waiting to be planted.  The extra efforts to keep the plants shade and in the ground as soon as possible were rewarded though.  While we were setting up our sprinkler system to help the plants establish, mother nature decided to lend and helping hand dropped what felt like the equivalent of a small lake from the sky.

It has been a few weeks now since the install the plants are doing great.  The roof is also much cooler and more bearable thanks to the greenery.  It took a while to get a permit for the patio area, but it is in and a design competition will soon follow!  Before long the project will be complete and a lovely bar with the best view of the city will be in place.  Sounds like a perfect way to end a strenuous day of shopping in Lancaster. 

Sharing History -- Swarthmore College -- Skyland USA LLC

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It is no secret that rooflite green roof growing media produced by Skyland USA LLC is the leading brand in the North American green roof industry. However it is not widely known that Swarthmore College - one of the nation's finest institutions of higher learning – and Skyland USA LLC are sharing lots of common green roof history.

In 2001/2002 Professor E. Carr Everbach, Professor of Engineering already discovered the advantages of “European style” green roofs including their tremendous benefit for the environment. After a successful but small research project on a maintenance building he was encouraged to implement more “green technology” on the campus at Swarthmore College near Philadelphia, PA. In 2002/2003 there were not many key players in the American market and so he contacted Jorg Breuning in Germany (today principal at Green Roof Service LLC and Co-owner of Skyland USA).

Jorg hopped on the next plane and flew to Philadelphia for a first meeting at the College where he presented a feasibility study to implement a green roof on their newly designed dormitory – Alice Paul Residence Hall.

Surprisingly the College agreed to most of his ideas but they needed an American company for the design, specification, site supervision and quality control. For Jorg Breuning the decision was made and together with Peter Philippi he formed Green Roof Service LLC. Next they signed the contract with Swarthmore College. Shortly after that they realized that sourcing installers and suppliers is a challenge. It took Peter and Jorg many visits at Laurel Valley Farms until Joe Di’Norscia was able to convince his bosses investing in a new market together with Green Roof Service. Finally Skyland USA LLC was born and shortly after that Furbish Company Baltimore, MD was founded as one of the first green roof installing company on the East Coast followed by Resource Conservation Technology as the first supplier for green roof components.

It was an amazing chain reaction of new innovative companies all based on ideas of two visionaries who found each other at the campus of Swarthmore College. Still today Swarthmore College is the green roof leader in the area with currently around 15,000 sq. ft of green roofs and much more in planning. These green roofs are also inspiration for many other green roofs in the area like Villa Nova University, University of Pennsylvania and many residential projects. Skyland’s rooflite is the key element for success on each project – leading materials for leading projects.

There is a lot of great information about the Swarthmore College projects which includes extensive information about installation with pictures and even fabulous movies.

Natural, Less Fat and Dirty Jobs

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nothing can top a cozy evening on the sofa with some Chunky Chips Ahoy cookies and watching my favorite show on Discovery Channel – Dirty Jobs. Usually I don’t buy Chunky Chips Ahoy cookies but while at the groceries the box promised “Less fat than the originals” and that was good with me after all these Christmas food. Well, after I finished more than a quarter of the box I decided to read the label and discovered that the serving size is one cookie (yes, 1). I am not sure who eats only one cookie but I was getting curious and started some research on the web. I learned that the “old” Chunky Chips Ahoy cookies had exactly the same nutrient facts as the one I just enjoyed. However they reduced the serving size (not the recipe) and as by wonder they suddenly have less fat!

This reminded me of many misleading statements in the green roof industry. There are suppliers who sell garden-like, rich blooming and nature-like green roof systems on their web sites which weigh less than 14 pounds per square feet. Once you worked yourself through all the specifications you learn that specifically the 14 pounds per square foot green roof is only a 2 inch deep system which requires regular irrigation, periodically nutrients and supports only a few Sedum species – far away from the earlier seen rich and colorful diversity. In other words it is much less of what you thought at the beginning. In the fine print you might also find that it depends on the location, availability of materials, organic content, saturation of the media and many other things including the unpredictable weather. As an architect or designer you can get lost just before you even started with the idea of implementing a green roof - unless you don’t care.

I also like RUFFLES® Natural Reduced Fat Sea Salted Potato Chips. However during my research I also learned that there they are not even close to healthy and probably from gene manipulated potatoes of vast chemical treated fields, naturally.

rooflite® Certified Green Roof Media is no dirt and so the Skyland USA LLC guys also can’t do any dirty jobs. They have only a few products and you easily will find the information you are seeking for. Their product line and production is definitely State-of-the-Art. Jörg Breuning and Peter Philippi had the idea long before anybody in the US thought about highly standardized products so Skyland USA LLC was founded in 2004 with a nice green roof project at Swarthmore College. Rooflite® is the most preferred and reliable green roof growing media through out the US and the owners of Skyland USA are known as the most experienced professionals for green roof technology in Europe as well as in Northern America. They truly care about the quality of the product, your project and a sustainable and honest growth of the entire green roof industry.

Top Ten misleading labels in the food industry


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