Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Mexico Highlands University's Green Roof

Diamond and Schmitt Architects
New Mexico Highland University, in Las Vegas, NM, was in need a of new student center built with sustainable building technology.

According to the NMHU, an "...outdated and nonfunctional Mortimer Hall..." was demolished to make room for the new student center, complete with a green roof.

The building, said NMHU president Jim Fries, "...will be a center of activity for our campus,” Fries said. “It will offer new amenities that will enhance the quality of campus life for our growing student body.”

The Canadian architectural firm, Diamond and Schmitt, partnered with the Albuquerque, NM firm, Studio Southwest, to design and build this 65,000 square foot, 3-story building.

It includes, "...a dining facility for the residence halls, a flexible theater space, student service offices for Campus Life and Housing, computer lab, game room, multicultural conference space, ballroom, campus bookstore, campus post office, café, copy center, and an executive boardroom for campus governance groups.  A skywalk will connect the student center to the Donnelly Library."

In addition to a green roof, the building, which hopefully will attain LEED Silver, include the use of geothermal energy, high efficiency lighting, rain collection, renewable wood, and high R-value insulation.

Costs were estimated at $18 million and construction completion is scheduled for 2011.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sweden's Largest Green Roof

The city of Malmo, Sweden is building a Fair and Exhibition Centre that will have the country's largest green roof.  Erik Giudice Architects created the winning design.  The property will be developed by Midroc Property Development.

 According to World Architecture News, the building is:

"...approximately 19,000 sq m comprises exhibition halls, conference rooms, a restaurant, offices, commercial and support spaces."

The design allows for the addition of an additional 5,000 sq m for mixed use, including housing.  Further, the structure will be accessible by a rail link between Malmo and Copenhagen.
While this project includes a very large green roof, it isn't the only one in Malmo.  According to Green Roof.se, the Augustenborg’s Botanical Roof Garden is 9,500 sq m. It covers several buildings and open to the public.  I highly recommend reviewing the site via the link I posted above, as it is an aggressive and very interesting project.

If you are looking for a city to visit with green roofs, put Malmo on your list!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Some Green Roof Reading

I have written over 100 posts about green roofs from around the world.  However, I have only referenced one book.  I would like to recommend a few more to add to your library.

The first is Green Roof Systems:  A Guide to the Planning, Design and Construction of Landscapes over Structure, by Susan Weiler and Katrin Scholz-Barth.  If you are looking for a text book approach to green roofs, with fancy charts and diagrams, this is it.  Both Weiler and Scholz-Barth are well known in the field.  Their experience has made this book standard reading for professionals designing and building green roofs.

If you love green roofs, but live in the city and have no yard, the book for you is:  Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls by Nigel Dunnett and Noël Kingsbury.  While you have to have something of a green thumb, this book walks you through the steps to green up a wall or roof.  There is advice on which plants to choose as well as designs.  This book is also a help for landscape designers who have never actually done a green roof.

If you are most interested in the design of green roofs, Steven Peck wrote Award Winning Green Roof Designs.  Although it is more directed to professionals, it has great photos and descriptions of some incredible green roofs.  It is also a good companion to the Weiler Scholz-Barth book above.

One final book for your consideration is by Caroline Tilston, Rooftop and Terrace Gardens: A step-by-step guide to creating a modern and stylish space.  This book is the DIY guide for terraces and the like.  It has design suggestions, layouts, as well as detailed instructions.  If you live in the city and have roof access, this is the book to liven up your space.

Is this an exhaustive list of books?  Certainly not, but it is a representative sample of materials available.  In addition to these books, I would like to give a particular shout out to a green roof expert on Twitter, Dusty Gedge (@greenroofsuk). He has great tweets and is worth following.

Happy reading!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Transbay Transit Center Green Roof

San Francisco is already known for its green roofs on bus shelters and the California Academy of Science, now the newly designed Transbay Transit Center will have an enormous green roof as well.

According to World Architecture News,

"The glass-and- steel complex, which will serve 12 transit systems... includes new features as well.
One of those features is a 5.4-acre rooftop park with a 100-seat outdoor amphitheater ... cafes and restaurants. The park will have 20 sub-environments including an amphitheater, a playground, public artworks and a lily pond.... A 1,000-foot long fountain shaped like a bus will automatically be activated when a bus passes underneath the park."
The design was approved on 29 April 2010 by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority Board (TJPA).

According to California Construction, construction will begin in August of 2010 with an estimated cost of "$1.589 billion budget for the first phase of the project, updated to include the cost of building the below ground train box."

Also noted from the article are the addition sustainability features of the project.

"Some of its sustainable features include a geothermal system to assist in substantially reducing energy consumption and a greywater recycling system that will be manage and re-use waste water in the facility. The Transit Center will be entirely naturally ventilated, and, to a large extent, naturally lit."

As San Francisco continues to burnish its green credentials, the new Transbay Transit Center will certainly be a worthy replacement for the current iconic structure. Curiously, it reminds me of the Crossrail Canary Wharf Station. I guess there are only so many ways to build a train station with a green roof.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Oikostegi - Green Roof in Greece

Greece is known for its ancient culture and well-preserved historic architecture. Did you know they also have green roofs (Oikostegi in Greek)?

The most recent green roof in Greece is on the Treasury building in Athens. Used as a scientific test bed, much like the green roofs in Chicago, this green roof was shown to reduce cooling cost for the 10 story structure by 8% and heating costs by 4%. While these may not seem very significant numbers, they are only part of the equation.

Green roofs not only reduce heating and cooling costs, but also reduce storm water runoff, as well as reducing fine particulate air pollution. Additionally, photovoltaic cells perform more efficiently on green roofs, due to cooler roof temperatures.

Greece can benefit from more green roofs due to its hot summer climate, as well urban air pollution. In a land of ancient beauty, green roofs fit right in!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Missed Opportunity in Bangalore's NeoTown

With a booming economy and population, Bangalore suffers from high air pollution and a lack of clean drinking water. So, why did Andy Fisher Workshop (AFW) design NeoTown with no green roofs? Who knows?

As reported in World Architecture News, NeoTown is supposed to be, "...a blueprint for future sustainable developments by Patel Realty." According to the photos provided by AFW, NeoTown is a vast expanse of flat roofs, with not a single piece of green to be found.

I am particularly critical given the that AFW has incorporated gardens before, in India, and for Patel Reality's sister company, Patel Engineering. Specifically, in Mumbai, "...High level link gardens and a rooftop nursery connect the horizontal towers and strengthen the buildings green credentials towards gaining a LEED Gold rating." Hat tip to Architectural Buzz.

While it is easy to sit back and criticise, a project of this manageable (50 hectare) size would be a perfect display of green roofs and would greatly further the design's goal of water conservation. Should anybody from AFW be reading this post, green roofs greatly reduce fine particulate matter air pollution, storm water runoff, as well as reducing HVAC costs by approximately 25-30%. Perhaps AFW can go back and add green roofs to this otherwise fine piece of urban design.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Crossrail Canary Wharf Station Green Roof

To increase its public transportation network, London is in the process of building the Canary Wharf Station, complete with a green roof!

According to World Architecture News, the station will "...boost the British economy by at least £20bn, creating and supporting thousands of jobs and adding 10 per cent extra capacity to London's public transport network."

A project this size hasn't been seen in London for over 50 years, and fortunately building techniques have changed for the better. The building of the station is being carried out with

"...environmentally responsible construction methods, including the silent piling rigs and coffer dam to partially dewater the dock, minimise disruption to office occupiers, local businesses and residents.

While pictures indicate a green roof on the Canary Wharf station, there has been controversy as to whether other stations will have green roofs also.

According to Building, in its 20 October 2008 article,
Cabe’s design review panel said the practice’s material for the proposed Isle of Dogs station was “largely illustrative,” and complained of a “lack of hardline drawings giving exact information”.
It said it was not convinced the scheme’s green roof could be achieved, asked for clearer detail on the predicted movement flow through the station, and said more work could be done to open up the park element of the scheme to visitors.

Although I haven't found any further updates on the controversy, London does have at least four additional designs for green roofs. More information can be found here.

This improvement to the underground system in London will provide not only improved quality of life inside the city, but also a better environment through green roofs.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Enormous Green Roof for Seoul

Seoul, South Korea plans to improve the Garak Wholesale Market with a 131 acre green roof. To put things in perspective, Vatican City is only 110 acres.

According to World Architecture News, local residents complained of the smell from rotting vegetables in the market. A design competition was held to clear the air and improve the area.

Samoo Architects & Engineers have created a design to not only reduce the smell of kimchi, but also to improve public, retail, and wholesale spaces.

Several design elements will create efficiencies in the market area. From the article:

"The two functions will be distinctive and separate with a focus on efficiency within the wholesale quarter, and festivity within the retail quarter... Three pavilions with enhanced daylight and ventilation via Eco-tubes will replace two existing structures to provide a greater footprint for fruit and vegetables. Fisheries and Meat pavilions will be located at the northern edge to allow better access from delivery vehicles and will emit a night glow to give visual presence towards the transport."

The green roof will also provide space for recreational activity, walking, and improved aesthetics. Although the article doesn't mention it, the addition of such a large green roof will also improve the air quality of Seoul. By reducing fine particulate air pollution on such a large scale, the whole city will benefit. Additionally, Seoul's water treatment system will enjoy the benefits of the green roof. More storm water will be captured and filtered by the green roof, improving the efficiency of the water treatment system.

As South Korea grows in economic importance, it is exciting to see such a significant, sustainable, project taking shape in the capital city.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Vonage Gives Free Call to Haiti from US

In the wake of the disaster in Haiti, Vonage is doing its part. From their site:

Vonage is committed to helping during difficult times. In the wake of the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti, Vonage is currently offering free international dialing to Haiti for all U.S. callers. Dial 800-809-2503 and follow the instructions to place a free 10-min call. We encourage you to pass this Vonage toll-free number along to non-Vonage customers who want to call Haiti.

Remember, calls to Haiti are free only if you use this toll-free number to place the call. If you dial from your home phone without using the 800 number, you’ll incur standard long-distance charges. Please note that due to infrastructure limitations in Haiti, you may experience difficulty reaching your party successfully. This free calling service to Haiti may be discontinued at any time.

Please remember the people of Haiti in your prayers and consider a donation through groups such as the Red Cross and Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Even Iceland has Green Roofs!

Even in one of the coldest, inhabited climates on Earth, Iceland, green roofs are part of the landscape.

Inhabitat.com reports as one of its top 10 green stories of 2009, the Hof House. It was built from salvaged materials from an existing structure.

Other neat and green features, beside the gorgeous green roof include its passive solar design, geothermal heating, and very thick concrete walls.

Here are some other pictures to enjoy!