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Friday, July 1, 2011

Of Green Roofs, Mickey Mouse, and Petit Ermitage

What does Micky Mouse have in common with a chic West Hollywood hotel?  A green roof!  Yes, its true.  Whether you are eating a $4.00 churro or drinking a $15 martini, you will see vegetation on the roof.

While traveling through Southern California, I stayed at Petit Ermitage in West Hollywood.  A great, small hotel, it has a rooftop garden with lots of great plants.  National Geographic had a blog post by Lawrence Ferber about it from September 10, 2010, but it is no longer available.  I found a pdf of the article.  It reads in part:

 Even for Hollywood, boutique hotel Petit Ermitage boasts bragging rights to possibly the most exclusive regulars that frequent its gorgeous, private rooftop deck: hummingbirds.  The National Wildlife Federation recognizes the space as a butterfly and hummingbird sanctuary. 

Tucked within a residential crevice between busy Santa Monica and Sunset Boulevards, the greenery-nestled Private Rooftop Club and restaurant is one of Petit Ermitage's star attractions.

Chef Antonishek grows fresh herbs and produce on the deck's garden, including parsley, rosemary, peppermint, tomatoes, strawberries and kumquats, for use in dishes...


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I enjoyed my stay and would recommend it my readers.  The room was well appointed and comfortable.  I wandered down the halls admiring the extensive art collection.  The obvious question is why would I leave this wonderful location for Disneyland in Annaheim.  The answer is simple: my kids.

While at Disneyland, we stayed at the Grand Californian Hotel.  Done in American Craftsman style, the enormous great lobby has very tastefully done fake rocks and wooden beams.  It is a nice place and the accommodations were nice.  However, the green roof was found in the park itself.

Right across from Big Thunder Barbecue was this small snack shop with its green roof.  I almost missed it, as subtly blends in with the rest of the vegetation.

Many criticize Disney for its inaccurate representations of history and foreign culture, but you look hard, you can find some very sophisticated gardening and a tremendous variety of vegetation.

For a short trip to California, I managed to take in two green roofs, though I missed the monster of them all, the California Academy of Sciences, in San Francisco.  I will let you know the next time I head out there, as it is pretty amazing.

Green Roof Video Friday - The Solaire

I hope you enjoy this video about the Solaire, an apartment building in New York City with two green roofs.  The building also has on-site water treatment as well as a 33 KW solar system.  It is LEED Gold (the first multi-family high rise to do so)!

One of the most important elements of the green roofs on the Solaire is that they reduce storm water runoff.  In New York City, property owners are assessed a tax based on the volume of storm water runoff.  Fortunately, there is a tax reduction if the building has a green roof.

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The green roofs also reduce the heating and cooling costs by insulating the roof for both the heat of the sun, as well cold winds.  The green roof also reduce the heat island effect, which is when buildings in large cities absorb the heat of the sun and release the heat through convection.  This convection can raise the city's temperature over 6 degrees Fahrenheit.