Who Is Involved in Building a Green Roof?

Posted by Ecogardens

 

Building a green roof is a complex process that involves many stakeholders and experts. Here’s a quick breakdown of whom you can expect to work with on a green roof project.

So you’re ready for a green roof.

Maybe you’re in it for the energy savings. Perhaps you dream of taking your weekend cocktail on a rooftop patio surrounded by cute little plants. Maybe you just live for those bucolic duck moments … 40 stories up.

We’re cool with any and all of that – and we’d love to help.

First, though, it’s important to understand how the process works and who’s involved. Let’s take a look now.

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Topics: Green Roofs

What Is the Difference Between a Native, Nativar and Cultivar?

Posted by Ecogardens

 

When deciding what to plant in your garden or on your green roof, there’s a lot to choose from, and a lot of classifications into which those plants fall. Here’s a look at natives, nativars and cultivars to help you make better decisions.

Figuring out what to plant in your garden is a chore, that’s for sure.

For some of us, it’s a joy. The winter calm, during which we can pore over gardening magazines and pick the old favorites and new experiments, is always a welcome respite.

For others, though, it’s an existential nightmare: The bees are dying and I need to help them! Which plants don’t require chemicals? Can I find specimens that meet my aesthetic needs while still helping the planet??

If this is a frequent freakout for you, you’re not alone. Dire news about the environment gushes from the media, while garden centers are simultaneously promoting an increasing variety of “native” options. The whole time, experts are giving those “natives” the side-eye … but why?

The confusion boils down to a new invention of the industrial botanical complex: the nativar.

This is distinct from natives and cultivars, both of which you’re likely familiar. In order to make the best possible decisions about what to plant in your urban garden, you need to understand the difference between the three.

Lucky you: We’re here to help.

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Topics: Green Infrastructure

How to Make Our Cities More Like Sponges

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Topics: Green Infrastructure

Why Green Roofs? The Importance of Growing and Healing Green Systems (Infographic)

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Topics: Green Roofs

What Are The Top Benefits Of Urban Gardens?

Posted by Ecogardens

 

If you’ve heard the phrase “urban garden” once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. But what exactly do these little microsystems involve, and what are their benefits? We’re so glad you asked.

We were going to ask if you’d prefer a lush patch of native greenery or a scrubby quarter-acre of dirt, but then we thought maybe our enthusiasm for rhetorical surveys had gone too far.

Sometimes you just gotta lay it on the line:

We all love dirt.

Well, no. Well, yes. Soil is amazing and important and full of miracles. But also it’s super nice when things are growing on top of it, à la urban gardens. In addition to being just plain pretty, city greenspaces can provide a huge range of benefits to us and our non-human compatriots here in the urban arena … which is why we need to prioritize them today.

But first, juuuuuust so we’re on the same page, what exactly are we talking about here?

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Topics: Green Infrastructure

What Are the Layers of a Green Roof?

Posted by Ecogardens

 

Green roofs require specific materials in order to protect the building roofing/waterproofing, retain/detain, and drain stormwater, and grow healthy plants. Here’s a quick rundown.

Looking at a green roof, it’s easy to imagine someone just stuck some plants and a little soil on top of a bare rooftop, dusted off their hands and called it good.

Because we can’t see underneath the surface, we often forget to think about the rest. Indeed, some professionals fail to use the proper materials or install green roof layers in the correct order.

That, we hardly need tell you, is no Bueno. No Bueno at all.

As with everything else, the first step is understanding. So here’s a quick look at the layers of a green roof, so you can be sure yours is performing and protecting as best it can.

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Topics: Green Roofs

How to Choose the Best Stormwater Solutions

Posted by Ecogardens

 

Stormwater solutions come in many forms, but they share the goal of keeping more stormwater on site and purifying the runoff that does eventually leave.

 

Raise your hand if you watched FernGully: The Last Rainforest as a child. With your children also counts. So does alone, as an adult, with a glass of wine in hand, just for fun.

Point being, if you watched it, you’re familiar with a nasty little character named Hexxus, the personification of pollution. (Side note: Should children really be watching this?)

Now change his name to Stormwater, and you have a pretty accurate representation of how we feel about this urban annoyance.

Scratch annoying, actually. Stormwater runoff and the pollution it carries into streams and waterways are more than a nuisance; stormwater is downright evil. Eroding streambanks, spreading disease and carrying metropolitan toxins far afield, it is at the top of our must-manage priority list.

We’re taking it seriously. Here are a few stormwater solutions we’re looking into today.

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Topics: Stormwater Management

What Is the Best Green Roof Media Type?

Posted by Ecogardens

 

Growing media nourishes green roof plants and helps detain stormwater, but what form does that media take – and which is best for your roof?

Which media to use while building or maintaining a green roof is a question with many possible answers today. While choice is a good thing, it also leads to confusion and analysis paralysis.

Don’t worry; we’re not judging. “Analysis paralysis” is sometimes our middle name.

Yet in the case of green roof media, we can’t afford that. Choosing the best media type during the initial stages of green roof design is critical for the roof to function at its best, detain and retain stormwater with maximum efficiency, and enable future stewardship.

So here’s your brief primer on the best green roof media type, so whip out that notepad (or the tablet that’s already wired to your brainstem) and let’s get started.

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Topics: Green Roofs

How to Combine Solar Panels and Green Roofs

Posted by Ecogardens

 

Biosolar, or the combination of solar panels and green roofs, is shown to increase the effectiveness of both technologies as compared to each when used independently.

Despite the amazing advancements we’ve made with sustainable rooftop technologies, many people still hold onto archaic beliefs. In all fairness, that’s to be expected in a field that moves quickly and is populated by nerds.

Hey, we’re not throwing stones here. Our house is super glass, ifyouknowwhatwemean.

One of the biggest misunderstandings relates to photovoltaic (solar) panels and green roofs. Specifically, most people are under the impression that they’re mutually exclusive, that they can’t be combined – and that’s just not true.

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Topics: Green Roofs

What Is Smart Irrigation and Who's Getting It Right?

Posted by Ecogardens

 

Water is too valuable for the cavalier treatment it gets today, especially in the outdoor arena. Here’s what we need to do better … and the smart people who are getting it right.

For centuries, millennia even, we’ve been tending gardens, watering lawns and growing crops. The human condition is, and has been since prehistoric times, one of settlement and husbandry of the land. While the exact methods vary according to era and culture, some of the basic principles and resources are the same across them all – and we’ve become very, very good at using one resource in particular:

Water, yo.

Today, of course, we know that water is far from expendable. Christian Bale’s The Big Short character Michael Burry famously predicted the 2008 housing bubble burst, and thereafter invested his money primarily in water. That’s how precious it’s going to become in this century.

Of course, a lot of people aren’t taking this too seriously. We love our hot showers and our green lawns. According to the EPA, “landscape irrigation is estimated to account for nearly one-third of all residential water use, totaling nearly 9 billion gallons per day.” Moreover, “In dry climates such as the Southwest, a household’s outdoor water use can be as high as 60 percent.”

This is especially devastating news given the fact that “as much as 50 percent of water used for irrigation is wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems.”

Time to irrigate smarter. Today, we're here to tell you all about the companies that are doing it right. But first ... what exactly is smart irrigation?

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Topics: Stormwater Management, Green Infrastructure