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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. 

Maiden Voyage of the Silhouette Lawn Club

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

Silhouette alcoves and lawn club - Jorg Breuning

Despite the down economy people are still flocking to cruise ships for their vacation getaway.  This year Royal Caribbean's Celebrity Cruises came out with yet another ship and this one features an actual lawn.  The Silhouette is the fourth ship by Royal Caribbean in the Solstice class to offer a lawn.  However, this one is a little fancier and offers some added features.

In addition to the field games such as bocce, croquet and golf putting offered on previous cruse ships, the Silhouette features luxurious alcoves with adjustable canopies for shade.  These alcoves provide comfortable seating on the lawn area and come stocked with an iPad 2.  

There is also a grill area where you can cook your own surf and turf with the expert guidance of one of their chefs or you can just enjoy the show and have them cook it for you.

The lawn club also feature a collection of hammocks perfect for taking a nap after a long day at port.  The lawn has become a favorite place for people to gather and picnic whether the ship is at sea or in port.

Leaky Roof Insurance

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, May 23, 2011

Testing a roof for leaks using an Electric Field Vector Mapping system 

It's been a tough week in terms of trying to get working conditions dry enough to do anything let alone put up a roof.  If your are planning on putting up a new roof and or green roof, be sure to consider getting a waterproofing membrane that is compatible with an electric field vector mapping system (EFVM).  This beauty can be installed before or after a new waterproofing is assembled and can find leaks that wont show up in a traditional flood test.  A leak may be in one section of the house however, the water may travel several feet before coming through the ceiling and playing a nice tune in your pets water bowl.  Having one of these systems prevents you from turning your roof into swiss cheese or a patchwork quilt trying to find and fix that illusive leak.  This also saves your green roof from total annihilation by knowing exactly what area to dig up.  In the long run this saves time and money and is cheaper than most waterproofing membrane insurance.  

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

Green Roof Technology

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Green Roof Service LLC – with more than a quarter century of experience as leaders in the establishment of the green roof industry in German spoken Europe and Great Britain, the principals have actively designed, installed, monitored and perfected their craft. Having been involved with millions of square footage of green roof projects, their understanding of these systems is unsurpassed. As they have no allegiance to any specific product manufacturer, they select the materials and approaches that work best in any given circumstance.

The principals participated in the largest research green roof endeavour ever undertaken (at Optigrün International AG in Germany, begun in 1994/1995, still ongoing) and have access to the resulting data (not fully translated into English) and an intimate knowledge of the “behind the scenes” circumstances that affect data output. Having one of the largest libraries for green roof research and products in the US, they continually update their resources and knowledge of ongoing research and new projects even when they are done by others.

The unmatched experience of the principals, acknowledged by the German FLL e.V. the FBB/EFB (German/ European Green Roof Association) and the German Landscape Association (GALA-BAU e.V) brought them in 1999 to the United States of America. The City of Chicago was the first project in the US which was built according modern Green Roof technology and starting with this project the principals were able to promote, educate and train today’s and nation’s key-player in the green roof industry.

The founders of Green Roof Service LLC understand modern Green Roof technology which is the basis for successful projects. They also understand related roofing details and the execution of highly skilled on-site monitoring which makes the green roof reliable and lasting as long as the building itself.

The experience of 120 Millions square foot of annual new Green Roof construction in Germany, with all ordinary and extra ordinary solutions, with all the competitiveness and all the efficiency is represented by Green Roof Service LLC in the United States of America.

Their extensive background affords them the right to boast the ability to ensure the outcome of each project they tackle.

Green Roof Service introduces the Lawn Club on Celebrity Solstice

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Celebrity Cruise shipWhen Celebrity Solstice launches in December, 2008, vacationers will find that the grass really is greener on a Celebrity Cruises vacation.

The ship will present an industry first on the top deck of the ship: real, growing grass, set in an innovative new country club environment known as “The Lawn Club" on Celebrity Solstice invites guests to enjoy bocce, croquet and picnic with wine and cheese. “Feel the grass between your toes or practice your putting promises the advertising of Celebrity Cruises.

Find on YouTube a great video about the LawnClub

Ship FactsOccupancy:
122,000 Length:
1,033 ftBeam:
121 ft Draught:
27 ft Cruise Speed:
24 kts Inaugural ---- Revenue Cruise Date: November 23, 2008 ----

Celebrity Cruise ship green roofBut Let’s Start from the beginning:
In April, 2008, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Celebrity Cruises awarded Green Roof Service LCC the contract to design, engineer, install and maintain a green roof on their largest ship ever built in Germany the Celebrity Solstice. Green Roof Service LLC developed and designed the entire setup for the Lawn Club and subcontracted the installation to Borchers GmbH Company in Papenburg, Germany.

“We just installed a green roof on an office building at Meyer Werft and now we continue on their ships joked Bernhard Mescher, engineer at Borchers Company.

Richard D. Fain, Chairman of Celebrity Cruises said, “Everything about the Celebrity Cruises brand is authentic. Our vision for a completely genuine experience demanded nothing less than real grass, and we sought out the right innovation to make that vision a reality.

mowing the grass on the Celebrity Cruise ship green roofRealizing the need for authenticity, flexibility and durability in this unusual and highly demanding design, Uwe Harzmann, CEO at Optigreen AG assured, “We are able to modify our components and we will meet all requirements including the FLL Guidelines (German Green Roof Guidelines - Forschungsgesellschaft Landschaftsbau Landschaftsentwicklung e.V.

Green Roof Service's list of requirements had more than 100 items and many things seemed contrary to one another.

Here were some of the most important key requirements and considerations for designing a sea-faring green roof:

  • The layer set-up must support the Arctic, Northern Europe, Mediterranean and tropical weather conditions.
  • Fire prevention to meet international marine fire standards.
  • Wind resistant for wind speeds 100 mph and wind gusts over 120 mph.
  • Stable against sliding - ship tilts up to 12° or 27%
  • Highly salt tolerant
  • Environmental friendly materials and run-off behavior.
  • Maximum weight: 130 metric tons.
  • Prime turf grass for activities like Bocce, croquet and golf putting.
  • Resistant for foot traffic.
  • Comprehensive set-up to exchnage grass easy and fast.
  • Maintenance program, physically fit and well trained lawn keepers.

Logistical Challenges:

croquet on the Celebrity Cruise ship green roofWhen sitting on the Solstice on the grass of The Lawn Club in the Sunset Bar, guests will also enjoy spectacular views in a relaxed atmosphere 120 ft above sea level. Everything looks nice, green and beautiful and no one could even imagine the construction challenges we encountered along the way. The Solstice is the largest passenger ship ever built in Germany and keep in mind that the ship yard is 50 miles off shore. Getting the materials up on deck 15 stories high within a two week time frame from a ship yard where more than 2,500 people and more than 50 contractors were working all at the same time, while hundreds of containers were being loaded sounds like an impossible endeavor, right? Yet Meyer Werft built the $750 Million Solstice in only 10 months where time is money and everybody and everything had to work 24/7.

The Celebrity Solstice embraces many eco-responsible elements and she sets the bar very high when it comes to sustainability. In addition to the half-acre green roof, here are some other environmentally-friendly features:

  • Entire ship with mostly LED lightning technology saves over 20% of power.
  • Four Hybrid (Common Rail Diesel-Electro) engines.
  • All roofs have photovoltaics (including glass roofs).
  • Advanced biological waste water treatment facility.
  • Recycling and separation of trash and waste.
  • Fresh water production with reused heat and reverse osmosis and low chlorine.
  • Reuse and refining of oil on board.
  • Run-off collection tank only for green roof.
  • Corporate leadership with “Save The Waves” program.

birds eye view of Celebrity Cruise ship green roofDepending on many issues (climate, foot traffic, etc.) the grass might need to be changed to warm season Bermuda grass. When? I don’t know since this has never done before; only time will tell. The only thing I know is that the system (the layers set-up) will work in every climate, every region and with every type of grass where ever the ship cruises.

We literally demonstrated that modern green roof technology and the German Green Roof Guidelines (FLL) work all around the world from North to South and West to East. Rest assured the FLL is a valuable guideline for plantings on impervious areas on Earth (and sea). There is no better demonstration of a high quality project than on the truly first mobile green roof traveling the seas of the world.

We simply delivered what was ordered and nobody else was able to deliver: Nice, green, and beautiful.

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