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Green Roof Installation Video

It often comes as a surprise when people learn just about any roof can become an environmentally sound and beneficial element of a building or home. This includes the ability to design and retrofit existing structures with “living roofs.”

An aerial view of most urban areas shows swathes of asphalt, black tar and gravel-ballasted rooftops. Heat radiates off of the dark roofs, and water rushes over the hard, hopefully impermeable surfaces. Yet, there is a new trend that breaks up the monotony of common roofs: green rooftops. Long popular in Europe, green rooftops have begun to appeal to homeowners, businesses and even cities as an attractive way to promote environmentalism while solving the problems of conventional roofs. Green roofs supplement traditional vegetation without disrupting urban infrastructure -- they take a neglected space and make it useful.

Green roofs last longer than conventional roofs, reduce energy costs with natural insulation, create peaceful retreats for people and animals, and absorb storm water, potentially lessening the need for complex and expensive drainage systems. On a wider scale, green roofs improve air quality and help reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect, a condition in which city and suburban developments absorb and trap heat. Anyone who has walked across a scalding parking lot on a hot, summer day has felt one effect of an Urban Heat Island.

The layers of a green roof must, like any roof, accommodate drainage and protect the building from the elements with a waterproof membrane. But they also must create a growing area and potentially provide support, irrigation and root protection barriers while staying as light as possible.

Two types of green roof exist: intensive and extensive. Intensive green roofs are essentially elevated parks. They can sustain shrubs, trees, walkways and benches with their complex structural support, irrigation, drainage and root protection layers. The foot or more of growing medium needed for an intensive green roof creates a load of 80-150 pounds (36-68 kilograms) per square foot. Extensive green roofs are relatively light at 15-50 pounds (7-23 kilograms) per square foot. They support hearty native ground cover that requires little maintenance. Extensive green roofs usually exist solely for their environmental benefits and don't function as accessible rooftop gardens.   

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An ideal example is the recent conversion of the roof on the building housing the Hamilton County Health Department in Chattanooga, TN. Living Roofs Inc. of Asheville NC oversaw the design and installation of approximately 16,500 plants in roughly 48 cubic yards of lightweight soil, covering 5,500 square feet. The project was funded in part by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program to provide environmental, economic and educational benefits.

Replacement of the existing roof with an innovative “living roof” will substantially reduce heat intrusion into the building’s upper floor by an estimated 60-90%, which reduces the load on the building’s heating and cooling system. Stormwater run-off will be approximately 80% less per year due to the controlled absorption of the green roof. The new roof system also has a life expectancy of 50 years as compared to 20-25 years for a standard system, which offers sizable replacement savings over time. In addition to the other benefits, the planted areas serve as habitat that attracts a variety of beneficial birds and insects. 

Energy savings will be monitored, with results offered to the public. Tours and educational visits also will be encouraged.

Also involved in the project with Living Roofs were Artech Design Group and March Adams & Associates, both of Chattanooga.

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Reclaimed Water

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Reclaimed water or recycled water is treated to remove solids and certain impurities, and is a terrific used for sustainable landscape irrigation or to recharge groundwater aquifers. The water conservation that reclaimed water brings is a terrific solution for previously used water and stormwater rather than discharging the treated water to surface waters such as rivers and oceans.

Most water systems need to dispose of reclaimed water somewhere…. so why not just put it in landscapes right?  
 
However there is also a problem with reclaimed water, many times that most are not aware of, and that problem is sodium. Most reclaimed water contains high levels of sodium.  When reclaimed water is used for irrigation the sodium becomes held in the soil, and continues to build up the more it is applied until it reaches a toxic level for the plants, and the landscape becomes damaged. 
  
Have you ever seen a white crusts that develops on a dead landscapes soil after the water evaporates?
 
Sodium is the invisible poison in water.   You will never see it, but it will slowly poison the soil and kill the landscape.  The plants will not look aesthetically pleasing and will become stressed. 
  
The solution is simple and cost effective.  Use fertigation to inject specially formulated organic products to release the sodium, and to build the soil biology to produce a healthy soil.  This will move the sodium out of the root zone and restore the health of the landscape.
   


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References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:
Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.org 
  
The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org 

Toyota
www.toyota.com

Ford Motors
www.ford.com

Girl Scouts of America
www.girlscouts.org

Austin Ranch
www.austinranch.com

Turf Feeding Systems
www.turffeeding.com

The University of Michigan
www.umich.edu

The Dodson Group
www.thedodsongrp.com      

To learn about sponsorship opportunities please call us at: 727-733-0762
This Issue of the SustainAbility Newsletter sponsored in part by:

The Dodson Group

$25 Annually $100 Annually $250 Reg / $100 Annually


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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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