Urban Planning in North America
Most American Cities like to have a diverse, sustainable, and thriving city of neighborhoods as the economic and cultural driver for the region.
In reality, these urban planners fall for nicely presented prestige projects that maybe have some green elements like bicycle storage, a solar panel, or living elements like a little green wall in the entrance area or roof terrace with some tomato plants. A little decoration of green is always trendy – whether it remains green or not. Important seems that the building is shiny, the investors and tenants have good names, and that it increases the prestige level of the city.
Urban planning in North America has hardly anything to do with long-term perspectives, environmental, people, or social aspects. “Urban” planning does not go further than maybe two or 3 blocks in a city. North America is a big continent with many tunnel-view urban planners, and since many of these planners have not much to do, they write daily blogs about “great ideas” of new ways for urban developments. It seems they write a lot and they do not do much.
In Europe, urban planning is almost on a helicopter- view basis, long-term with environmental and social aspects. Europe’s great urban planning doesn’t stop at the city or county line and it greatly reduces destructive urban sprawl. Being an urban planner in Europe is a tough job – they have no time to play on the internet posting great ideas. They just do it.
The picture below shows a neighborhood in Munich, Germany from google Earth. The development of this area started in 1994 and it is still going on. Developing an area like that over 20 years required a comprehensive urban planning long ago and with on single goal: minimize the environmental footprint.
1. The area is connected to a large park with sport arena, pools, gyms, and recreational facilities including beer gardens.
2. The community garden on the north allows people to grow their own flowers and vegetable.
3. Most roofs are covered with green roofs, some are used of recreation or growing flowers and food. Most buildings have balconies where plants grow up (extensive green walls).
4. Open space for socializing, playing games, walking dogs. Typically these areas are above underground parking garages.
5. Solar Garden Roof that combine solar with green roofs to max-out the environmental benefits.
6. Houses are entirely covered with PV.
All buildings have very easy access to a dense public transportation network and many office buildings can be reached within walking distance or by bicycle.
The annual CitiesAlive Green Roof & Wall Conference is happening next week (October 5-8) in New York City. This conference hotspot is the place for green roof and green wall professionals to learn and discuss the latest technologies.
Every year at CitiesAlive, the 36-year green roof veteran Jörg Breuning and his company Green Roof Technology present innovative products and people that help make your project successful, affordable, and maximally environmental-friendly. “I like to share my experience, horticultural knowledge, and understanding of nature’s principles,” says Breuning, “to help people prevent wasted time, money, and frustration.”
This year, Jörg Breuning will present:
Geocell. World leader in foam glass gravel, a 99% recycled product that substitutes for manufactured foam insulation in green roof construction.
ALT Global, the world leader in advanced cold liquid applied membrane systems.
Prior innovations introduced by Jörg Breuning include introduction of the German FLL Green Roof Guideline. “The guideline is the foundation of all current green roof standards, guidelines, and most specifications, and its continued use among green roof professionals demonstrates its success,” says Breuning.
He has also fostered many North American green roof experts in their early days, including Ed Snodgrass (green roof plant grower and author of Green Roof Plants: A Resource and Planting Guide), Charlie Miller (Roofmeadow), Kurt Horvath (Green Roof Solutions), and Michael Furbish (Furbish Company).
Come mingle with Jörg Breuning and the A-Team at the Green Roof Service LLC/Green Roof Technology booth (307, in the middle of the Trade Show floor).
The 2015 Trade Show opens with an evening reception on October 5th at 7PM and is open on October 6th
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.
More about the German record breaking Solar News at Treehugger
Since 5 years Green Roof Service LLC / Green Roof Technology is desperately trying to convince North Americans of the combination Solar and Green Roof.
Whether it is the world’s famous Universities, the world’s biggest corporations, the National Roofing Association or the Green Roof Association of North America, none of them seems the future of combined modern technologies.
Short term profits, ignorance and greed semm to blind North America - it isn't the sun blinding. These egoistic behaviors are reasons why North America is losing more and more ground in the technology sector, respect in the world and last but not least Millions of jobs.
I hope there is an App for it …. Well, without power it might not help.
Today I we received an email by the USGBC requesting to oppose the MD House Bill 207. In the last decades the USGBC grew dramatically. Beside their originally great intention, LEED increased the costs of buildings super proportionally to the benefits for the environment.
In our opinion it is now necessary to naturally develop sustainable practices, solutions and technologies that can be much easier adopted and implemented by environmentally conscious people. With very simple tools (“rain tax”, higher taxes on energy, and responsibility for costs to reduce the negative environmental foot print of buildings etc.) the government now has a great opportunity giving back to builders and building owners the freedom of making their own decisions without the overwhelming pressure and costs from LEED.
Bill 207 helps to increase environmental consciousness of all American individuals and gives them back their freedom and responsibility in making their own decisions.
What is described as a setback by the USGBC is just a desperate reflex and fear of losing revenue and influence. USGBC must learn this lesson and USGBC has to prove that they are still competitive once Bill 207 passed.
If the USGBC can’t take this as challenge they are worthless to start with.
We support MD House Bill 207
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:
An extensive study about the fully integrated Photovoltaic and Green Roof solution is finally available in English. Green Roof Service LLC / Green Roof Technology performed excellent work that demonstrates all the features of a Solar Garden Roof and Sun-RootTM module.
Successful implemented on European projects over more than 5 years, the Solar Garden Roof can now catch-up in North America. “I am often wondering, why the American market is hesitating in regards of living green innovation,” says Jörg Breuning, "the savings or payback potential of green living technologies is in the US so much higher than in any other country of the world."
It is estimated that Washington, DC alone has a potential of over 2 Million square feet of green roofs combined with PV in the next 24 month. This could reduce the stromwater run-off by over 25 Million Gallons per year and produce over 26 Megawatt hours of electricity in only 12 month. Most of these smart rooftop solutions would actually payback in less than 5 years.
A bare roof with exposed water proofing has no payback.
Interested developer, architects and planners are welcome to visit two demonstrations projects – one in New York, Randal’s Island and another one in the DC area at Prospect Solar.
The system will be also presented at Cities Alive in San Francisco next week.
Here at Green Roof Technology we are actively helping commercial, municipal and not-for-profit clients generate renewable energy and control stormwater for a cleaner tomorrow.
The Solar Garden Roof System is rapidly growing in popularity. The benefits of our combined solar and green roof system are unmatched. Additionally, the Solar Garden Roof System can be 50-60% less expensive than a 4" extensive green roof.
We provide a number of services for our clients. They include the following:
Call us today for a Free Estimate & Analysis:
Using satellite imagery, we analyze factors that affect your Solar Garden Roof design such as south-facing roof location, shaded areas and available roof space. We will also study your monthly energy usage and future energy plans so that we can create the best system for your needs.
Additionally, business owned PV systems are eligible for tax advantages, such as accelerated depreciation and a thirty percent Federal solar investment tax credit.
Call us today to see if a Solar Garden Roof System is right for your roof.