Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2011 - (Page 1)

FROM THE FOUNDER CAPTURING VALUE LIVING ARCHITECTURE REQUIRES NEW, MORE HOLISTIC APPROACHES TO CALCULATING VALUE U nderstanding the true value of a thing is an elusive endeavor, one that has occupied economists and philosophers for more than a thousand years. At GRHC, we have worked tirelessly on a variety of projects to better understand the value of green roofs and walls, to build tools to assess these values and to support research to understand their performance. In this issue we explore the relative value of green roofs and walls and celebrate our 2011 Awards of Excellence winners – the designers and owners who continue to expand our notions of what is possible. Dr. Sailor’s article on the new Green Roof Energy Calculator illustrates our attempts to quantify the elusive value of energy savings, complicated by the many factors that impact upon building energy use and savings. Beyond energy savings, understanding the true costs and benefits of something often requires extending our perception of what constitutes value. Henry Ford shocked the business world in 1914 by doubling the wages of his workers. He recognized that his workers were also his customers, and that if he paid them better they would buy his cars, and he would also save lots of money by not having to replace workers as often. Ford’s concept of value was broader than the norm of his time, and he helped revolutionize manufacturing as a result. Dr. Tomalty’s article on the marketing benefits of green roofs stretches our boundaries of understanding. His previous work on valuation has been integrated into the GreenSave Calculator, our member-only online cost-benefit tool. The broadening of how we frame value is critical to developing effective public policy that supports green technology. Ontario conducted a major study in 2005 on the health impacts of coal-fired electricity generation. Coal is generally regarded as a valuable fuel source, because it is cheap. This value perception changed when the study concluded that burning coal resulted in almost $3 billion in health related damage, annually and this informed the decision to close Ontario’s five coal plants and shift public resources to renewables. In order to restore urban waters, we must recognize that contaminated stormwater is not a free good, because it impairs our ability to fish, swim and drink the water from our lakes and rivers. A more holistic, cross-disciplinary understanding of green roof and wall value strengthens the case for public policy support, and helps cities like Philadelphia shift from grey to green infrastructure to address its stormwater and sustainability challenges. Another aspect of value that has changed significantly is the shortened perception of time. In the building industry, we are often handcuffed by first-cost thinking and business models for new development that eliminates the potential of many important green building technologies to deliver a return over a 50, 25 or even one-year period. The move toward life “IF MORE OF US VALUED FOOD AND CHEER AND SONG ABOVE HOARDED GOLD, IT WOULD BE A MERRIER WORLD.” — J. R. R. Tolkien British scholar & fantasy novelist (1892 - 1973) cycle cost-benefit for decision making has been tremendously slow. Examples of green roof benefits from life cycle cost-benefit analysis from a study commissioned by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) are provided in an article by Adam Friedberg and Jordan O’Brien of Arup Engineering. Shifting to business models, broadening your clients’ perception of the potential for multiple values of your projects, and implementing more holistic approaches to researching and calculating true costs and benefits is key to growing our industry, and to protecting our future. Let’s move forward together on these issues as we gather for food, cheer, song and business at CitiesAlive in Philadelphia on November 30, 2011. D Steven W. Peck Founder & president, GRHC LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR FALL 2011 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2011

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2011
From the Founder
On the Roof With…
Policy: The Game Changer
Policy: Toronto’s Green Roof by-Law
Policy: Energy Code Break-Through
GRHC: Update
GRHC: Welcome New Members
On Spec

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2011