Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - 35


ON SPEC

WHY WE NEED TO STANDARDIZE
LIVING ARCHITECTURE PERFORMANCE:
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
WRITTEN BY DAVID YOCCA
Living architecture offers immense potential to improve the built environment for people and the natural environment in a number of profound ways. So why are green roofs, green walls, and other forms of living architecture not
more widespread? Following are three key reasons:
INSUFFICIENT ALIGNMENT WITH GREEN BUILDING TOOLS
High-performance building and site tools such as LEED, SITES, the WELL Building Standard, and the Living
Building Challenge have fostered enormous strides in building performance over the past decade, and have helped
to promote the use of living architecture substantially. However, the valuation of specific performance benefits for
rainwater attenuation, water balance, energy reduction, biophilic space, and other benefits within these frameworks is
often not clear or even contradictory, making it difficult for architects, engineers and other designers to capitalize fully
on living technologies.

FEAR OF FAILURE/LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN PERFORMANCE BENEFITS
While there has been a great deal of measurement and quantification of green roof performance benefits, it is by no
means exhaustive. There are many variables that impact performance, including geographic context, variations in
systems components, maintenance and operations, and integration with other green infrastructure technologies. Also,
there are examples of green roofs that have failed in some way, often due to maintenance neglect. Many building professionals remain unfamiliar with living architecture systems. Many local markets still do not have the local expertise
to properly design, build, or maintain green roofs and walls. Thus, there is sometimes reluctance to enact policies and
incentives, or even to adopt living architecture to specific projects, due to trepidation about potential benefits.
So then, how can we better capitalize on living technologies and capture their myriad benefits as millions of square
feet of buildings are built or renovated over the next several decades? If we (living architecture experts) can agree on a
comprehensive list of performance benefits, metrics and standards based upon experience and existing research, then
policy regulators and elected officials can have more confidence to enact more aggressive initiatives and regulations
promoting and/or requiring the use of green roofs and walls, especially where public funds are being used. This is
one of the major goals of the Living Architecture Performance Tool program (LAPT). High-performance building
and site tools will help to elevate living architecture performance to an appropriate, consistent measurement relative
to other building strategies. Architects, engineers, regulators, and investors would all gain the knowledge to best integrate and benefit from the use of living systems in new and retrofit buildings, sites, neighborhoods, and campuses.
The Living Architecture Performance Tool program can lead to healthier, more prosperous and competitive communities throughout North America.
David Yocca, FASLA, GRP is co-leading the development of the Living Architecture Performance Tool program, led by the Green
Infrastructure Foundation (GIF). David is a Principal Landscape Architect/Planner with Conservation Design Forum, and a
Board Member of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.
READ THIS ISSUE ONLINE AT LIVINGARCHITECTUREMONITOR.COM

Governmental Complex, Sejong, SouthKorea. Photo credit Efrain Mendez, BA.

LACK OF INCENTIVES/POLICY SUPPORTS
Many benefits that are derived from green roofs and walls accrue to the larger neighborhood, district, or watershed.
Flood reduction and water quality improvements reduce negative impacts caused by decades of urbanization and the
costs should be distributed accordingly. The best short-term way to fairly balance the costs and benefits for districtscale application of living architecture is to enact policies to support green roofs and walls, and incentives to redirect
costs associated with stormwater runoff impacts toward living technologies. This takes political will, and confidence in
the performance characteristics of green roofs and walls.

LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR / FALL 2016 / 35



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - Cover1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - Cover2
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - TOC
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A
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Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - M1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A2
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A3
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A4
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A5
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2020Summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2020Spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2019Winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2019Fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2019Summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2019Spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2018winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2018Fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2018summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2018spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2017winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2017fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2017summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2017Spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2016winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2016fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2016summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2016spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2015Winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2015fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2015summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2015spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2014winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2014fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2014summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2014spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2013winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2013fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2013summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2013spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2012fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2012summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2012spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2012winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2011fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2011summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2011spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2011winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2010fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2010summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2010spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2010winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2009fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2009summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2009spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2009winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/greenroofs/lam_2008fall
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