Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Summer 2009 - (Page 35)

ON SPEC STANDING THE TEST OF TIME GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE IS FAST-EVOLVING BUT TO BE LONG-LASTING, SUCH PROJECTS MUST EXHIBIT EXCELLENCE BY BEING CURRENT, HAVING CLEAR EXPECTATIONS AND, OF COURSE, THROUGH BEAUTY eathering the Storm,” was the theme of the ASIC (American Society of Irrigation Consultants) conference I recently attended. As the title suggests, the event had a strong focus on providing the attendees a perspective on the state of the building industry, the financial and regulatory climate, and forward-thinking, leading-edge practices. I was there to share an overview of an emerging green design tool (the Sustainable Sites Initiative The audience was encouraged to embrace green practices to gain a competitive edge in ever-more challenging times. It was somewhat ironic that the ASIC conference was held in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the United States, for longevity and sustainability are aspects we all strive for in our businesses, organizations and the work products we provide. While just five years is considered a major milestone, a timeframe of 500 years (the age of St. Augustine) is rarely, if ever, on our radar screen. What are some of the essential qualities that sustain a place (or a business, institution, or cultural facility) generation after generation? In consideration of the role of ecologically focused practices in green buildings, infrastructure, sites and neighborhoods, we would all agree that longevity is a key characteristic. In the rapidly evolving green-building industry, there is a latent danger in providing competent, functional projects that still lack what it takes to stand the test of time. I would suggest that the use of green strategies into newly developed or retrofit buildings and sites is simply not enough to approach sustainability. By David J. Yocca W In order for a particular place to endure, green approaches must be fully integrated, welldesigned, functionally flawless, and cost-effective (capital and long-term operations or life-cycle costs), and meet all of the programmatic needs of the project, while also exhibiting excellence in other ways: Clarity – The design, specifications, construction/installation, and maintenance must be carefully coordinated, and all expectations clearly communicated on a constant basis. A management plan developed in concert with the design helps anticipate necessary resources. Long-term requirements and the associated aesthetic and cost-implications have to be understood by the owner and others involved. As a living system, even low-input green infrastructure requires a proactive schedule of regular care, maintenance and monitoring to ensure it is functioning properly and looks as it is intended. Our first experience with ecological green roof systems was Chicago’s City Hall Green Roof Demonstration project. The first summer after completion, Chicago experienced a drought, and many of the plants went dormant. The City received numerous calls and letters of concern that the roof had “died” because of lack of care, when in fact it was performing the way it was intended. Subsequently, the city both disseminated an enormous amount of information regarding the performance and aesthetic expectations of green roofs, and modified its’ maintenance approach for City Hall. Green roofs are now widely embraced in Chicago. Current – As the green building industry has soared from obscurity to mainstream, green products and materials are being introduced and improved upon constantly, and at a growing rate. This dynamic product environment requires diligent awareness of the costs and specifications of these materials. We recently had an experience where a large green-roof retrofit of an existing building was designed, engineered, budgeted, bid and awarded. A time delay followed, and when the project was given the green light for construction, we discovered that one of the proprietary growing media materials was no longer available, and replaced with a slightly heavier alternative by the supplier without notice. Due to very tight loading allowances, this required reengineering of several aspects of the design; fortunately it was discovered before the materials had been mixed and delivered to the site – or later. Beautiful – Additionally, considerable focus is needed on adapting these practices to the unique natural, cultural and geographic context of a particular place in an authentic, beautiful way. Yes, that’s right beauty is as essential to sustainability as avoiding toxins, sourcing local materials, natural day-lighting and carbon neutrality. Connecting people to living, changing, landscapes and water elements improves their learning, performance, health and spirit and, therefore, an imperative for all involved in shaping human habitat. Only places and structures that exhibit true quality, craftsmanship and authentic beauty will touch people’s hearts, and ensure that they are perpetuated for the next 500 years or longer. D David J. Yocca, ASLA, RLA, AICP, LEED AP, is the principal landscape architect/planner at Conservation Design Forum (Elmhurst, Illinois, and Ann Arbor, Michigan), and strives for the integration of ecologically based green practices in sites and structures in CDF’s work to serve current and future generations. LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR SUMMER 2009 35

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Summer 2009

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Summer 2009
The Case for Mandated Green Roofs
Student Sustainable Design Competition
GIF Road Show
U.S. Green Roof Industry Grew By 35 Percent in 2008
Part 1 of 2: Risk-Reduction Tools
On the Roof With . . .
The World's First Accredited Green Roof Professionals (GRPs)
A Haven for Butterflies
A Green Roof at Sea
A Biophilic Oasis
A Green Roof for Every Angle
Community Focal Point
Nature in the City
Growing Lives
A Green Roof with Wings
A Policy Pioneer
A Dedicated Researcher
Designing a Better Future
Fire & Wind Standards
GHRC Professional Development Calendar
Welcome New Corporate Members
Green Wall Research
Standing the Test of Time

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Summer 2009