Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2012 - (Page 1)

FROM THE FOUNDER LIVING ARCHITECTURE YIELDS HEALTH BENEFITS I ’ve often wondered if there could be a connection in various cities between the strength of local environmental and sustainability movements and the proximity of people to nature. In Toronto, we are blessed with a beautiful lake front to the south, an elaborate ravine system that runs from the north and a strong local sustainability movement. Our many natural features allow us to have a daily experience with nature – be it through hiking, riding, canoeing, biking etc. A mounting body of scientific research is demonstrating that our productivity and mental and physical health actually depends on having nature, in all of its manifestations, close by. In Biophilic Design (2009) the science and design characteristics that support human health are very well elaborated in a number of exceptional essays. Roger Ulrich, a behavioural scientist at Texas A&M University, writes, “There are more than 50 rigorous studies relevant to understanding the influences of such biophilic elements as nature views and daylight in healthcare settings on patients, family and staff…evidence based biophilic design can have positive impact by reducing stress, improving emotional well being, alleviating pain and foster improvements in other outcomes.” Biophilic design includes a wide range of natural forms and elements, many of which are satisfied through green roofs and walls. Our interview in this Health Issue with rooftop gardener Ben Flanner (pages 4-7) explores how he is not only growing vegetables but strengthening community with his extraordinary Award of Excellence winning project. We also pay tribute in this issue to the late Malcolm Wells, (pages 12-14) an architect and the father of earth sheltered buildings. Mr. Wells was quick to recognize that building with nature was fundamental to our long term well being and has inspired many with his work. Researchers are beginning to better understand the negative human impacts of withdrawing nature from our buildings and our communities. “Nature deficit disorder,” is, according to author Richard Louv, “... not a known medical condition but a useful phrase to consider the human costs of alienation from nature, among them the diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses.” In an interview, with Dr. Charles Branas, University of Pennsylvania (pages 24-28) we learn about the latest research which shows how greening vacant urban lots from 1999 to 2008 in Philadelphia has reduced crime rates and enhanced health. The ratio of employee salaries to operational costs in commercial buildings can be as high as 13 to 1 or more, so incremental improvements in productivity can result in huge savings. So while saving energy with reflective roofs is important, the bottom line positive impacts of improving the productivity of employees may far outweigh the additional costs of an accessible green roof. On pages 30 and 31, Amanda Culver explores some of the issues around indoor air quality research and benefits that came up at our expert panel discussion at CitiesAlive in Philadelphia. Perhaps future iterations of green building and green communities rating systems will incorporate more human productivity and health related measures given their bottom line importance. We hope you enjoy the new look of the Living Architecture Monitor and encourage your feedback. I’m very pleased to introduce you to Melissa Kois, our new editor. Please take a few minutes to read about two very important initiatives this year – The Ambassador Program and the Green Roof and Wall Performance Rating System – and consider becoming involved. Both of these initiatives are designed to grow the market and improve the performance of living architecture. From August 16 – 18 we are holding the first Urban Agriculture Summit in Toronto together with Food Share and other partners in order to explore the many exciting facets of urban food production. Growing food in cities has a multitude of positive human health benefits. Only by working together can we build a strong, performance based green roof and wall industry and contribute to health and well being of the many communities we serve. Sincerely, Steven W. Peck Founder & president, GRHC LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR / WINTER 2012 / 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2012

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2012
From the Founder
New Kid on the Green Roof
New Incentives for Green Roofs
On the Roof with Ben Flanner
Award Winning Green Roof and Wall Projects Represent!
Awards of Excellence Profiles
CitiesAlive 2012 – Building a Legacy of Outstanding Performance in Chicago!
Recognizing the Pioneer that was Malcolm Wells
Green roof and wall performance standards volunteers required!
Plant Profile: Thymus
Project Profile: Green Wall Maintenance Madness
GRP in Focus: Mary Ann Uhlmann
Project Profile: Healthy Haven for Community Members
A Positive Outlook for Urban Greening of Vacant Lots
A Green Space is a Clean Space
The Ambassador Program
Professional Calendar
New Corporate Members
GRHC Buyers Guide
Back to Planning’s Roots

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2012