Thursday, September 25, 2008

China's Green Resort

China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and suffers the effects of that rapid growth. Air pollution and storm water runoff effect their major and minor cities.

The Chinese government has acknowledged these problems and has taken steps to improve the situation. One way is through green roofs.

Shanghai has defined targets for the number green roofs (details here) and design firms are lining up for cities' worth of opportunity.

Outside of Shanghai, in the Songjiang district, Atkins has designed the "Songjiang Garden City," with a resort as the focal point. According the

The innovative design of the 400-bed resort hotel stands two levels higher than the rock face of the 100 metre deep quarry and includes underwater public areas and guestrooms... Sustainability is integral to the design ranging from using green roofing for the structures above the ground level to geothermal energy extraction.

As this is part of a larger project, as mentioned above, I will be conducting an interview with Atkins Design to learn more. Until I publish the interview, and Atkins both have good articles about this project.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Greening Kuwait

Lest people believe that green roofs are only used in Mexico City, Shanghai, Dongtan, or Chicago, Atkins Design of Epsom, UK has "...recently received the honour of CNBC Arabian Property Award High Rise Architecture Award" for the Al Sharq Office Complex in Kuwait. This was reported in World Architecture

From the article:

"The Al Sharq office building quietly pursues a rigorous sustainability agenda. A shallow plan office floor plate with heavily shaded facades reduces the tower's environmental footprint... The 180m tower will cover an area of 56,400sq.m and ... offers a variety of scenarios for business within a sustainable and environmentally responsible design."

As one can see from the artist's rendition, there will be what are refered to as "roof gardens" to provide shade and fresh air. While not displayed, this author hopes some form of green roof will be available, though given the climate, watering would be required.

Although storm water runoff management is not as significant an issue in Kuwait as it would be in Chennai, the reduction of fine particulate air pollution is certainly a benefit.
provides this quotation from Nicholas Bailey of Atkins: "This is a green building - literally - because of its foliage camouflage. Vertical fins to the street elevation, formed in colored glass, are fitted with integrated solar panels that contribute to the building's energy needs."

One hopes that other countries such as the U.A.E., Qatar, and Saudi Arabia consider using green roofs and green building in their current and future construction.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Not Just Any Green Roof

What interesting times we live in! I read an article in "The Economic Times," an Indian newspaper, titled "Green Roofs differ in Capacity to Cool Interiors." It discusses the green roof studies going on a the University of Texas.

At UT, there is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center that is hosting how different types of roofs impact temperature inside structures. In particular, they have built several identical steel structures and put different kinds of roofs on them and are measuring the temperatures and water retention.

Studies are clearly indicating that green roofs definitely reduce internal temperatures. From the article:

"During one 91-degree day, ... a black topped box without air conditioning reached 129º inside. Meanwhile, the green roof replicas produced indoor temperatures of 97 to 100 degrees F. "That's a huge difference to have a 20-or-so degree temperature drop," Simmons said, noting that green roofs' ... are also believed to double the lifespan of roofing material. "

However, in places like India and Texas, where flash flooding and storm water runoff are serious issues, different green roof materials perform better than others. Again, from the article, "Yet this feature varied the most among the six manufacturers. The better green roofs retained all of the water during a half-an-inch rainfall, and just under half the water when two inches of rain fell. "

Let's hope that the studies at UT, combined with the innovation in synthetic soil by Suntory, will spread the acceptance and use of green roofs world wide, as their ability to reduce air pollution and storm water runoff make a real difference!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Word about Copyrights

It has come to my attention that a person has stolen my material and claimed it as their own. All works found on this blog are copyrighted, which, from is: Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This
1.the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 50 years after his or her death.
2.of or pertaining to copyrights.
3.Also, cop·y·right·ed. protected by copyright.
–verb (used with object) secure a copyright on.

[Origin: 1725–35; copy + right]

cop·y·right·a·ble, adjective
cop·y·right·er, noun Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

All of the work on this blog is original, and written by me. As this is my work, I guard it jealously, and will take all necessary actions to protect it. I attribute all source material. All pictures are the work of the artists.

If you wish to cite this blog, include the URL of the post, as well as the article name. Thank you for your consideration.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Green Roof on Bus Shelters

In an article from triplepundit, the California Academy of Science is advertising its opening by putting green roofs on a number of bus shelters in the San Francisco area.

This is same museum that I wrote about in July, in a post titled, "California Academy of Science's 2.5 Acre Green Roof,"which discusses the museum and the enormous green roof.

What the triplepundit article doesn't mention is that this marketing scheme is actually a very good thing, for several reasons. First and foremost, air pollution from large diesel vehicles is greatest during acceleration. When the buses pull away from the shelter, those giant black clouds of soot and sulfur dioxide can be mitigated (at least a little) by the shelter green roof. Secondly, the green roof will help keep the shelter about 10% cooler. Finally, the green roof will help reduce runoff, while also capturing the fine particulate matter in the rain as it falls.

Perhaps green roofs on bus shelters is a idea who's time has come. If placed on every shelter in a major metropolitan area, the clean air benefits would likely exceed the cost of acquisition and installation, as well as providing a little bit of green in the urban jungle.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Suntory Creates Synthetic Soil

Suntory, the Japanese company better known for whiskey and other beverages, issued a press release announcing it had created a way to grow green roofs and green walls without soil.

From the press release: "Suntory brings its unique roof-greening system, Midori no Yane (literally, green roof), and wall-greening system, Hana no Kabe (literally, wall of flowers) onto market on March 3, 2008. "

The synthetic soil, known as Pafcal, is made from urethane and is far lighter than organic soil. notes: "It looks much like regular soil, and can be used for a variety of planting products. The material is meant to help meet new Tokyo building regulations, which insist that any new building over a certain size limit must have a roof garden to offset carbon dioxide production. "

Let's raise our glasses to Suntory for creating a lighter weight material for growing and promoting green roofs.