3 Financial Benefits of Maintaining a Green Roof

Posted by Ecogardens


Green roofs are pretty, and we all know they’re “good” for the world, but what does that really mean? Here’s a look at the bottom-line benefits of ecological systems.

Would you get a great haircut and then call it good for life?

Can you make an awesome brunch then never eat again?

Do you pop out a baby, dust off your hands and say, “Good luck in college, kid!”

Of course not, because hair, tummies and children all take serious maintenance over time.

Well, the same goes for maintaining green roofs. Why should we assume that putting one in, reaping those tax credits and walking away will result in solid benefits over time?

Spoiler alert: that kind of approach doesn’t work at all. In fact, without routine stewardship – working with the ecological system to ensure it gets the care it needs, when it needs it – you will quickly lose those bennies.

No one wants that, and yet, taking care of a green roof does cost time and money, so you need a good reason to do so, right?

Here are three.

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Topics: Green Roofs

How Does Regular Stewardship Impact Public Health?

Posted by Ecogardens


We tend to forget about our green roofs once they’re built, but it turns out stewardship and public health are strongly related. Translation: It’s crucial to maintain green systems over time.

While stewardship and public health might not be a relationship you’ve spent a lot of time considering until now, it’s time to break that trend.

Green roofs get a lot of praise for managing stormwater and providing animal habitat (though perhaps not as much credit as they should get), but we don’t spend a lot of time talking about how they benefit human health.

Well, they do. And that’s what we’re here to discuss today.

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Topics: Stewardship

Green Roofs and Stewardship: Why One Can’t Live Without the Other

Posted by Ecogardens


Stewardship, a partnership between a green roofer and its caretakers intended to keep it viable long into the future, is critical if we don’t want ecological design to fail.

We hear a lot about green roof maintenance.

The word gets tossed around in landscape architecture and ecological design, the clear implication that as long as you attend to a system in some way, it will do just fine.

However, the assumption underlying the concept of maintenance – that you can take the same cookie-cutter approach on a twice-yearly basis to each green roof – fails to consider one important truth:

No two green roofs are alike.

If you haul the same bucket of supplies up every time, without testing and inspecting plants and components, then eventually you will miss problems. First little ones, and then big.

Maintenance, in other words, is not enough.

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Topics: Stewardship

London: The World’s First “National Park City” and What It Means

Posted by Ecogardens


While Yellowstone was the first national park in the United States and is widely held to be the first national park in the world, London is now set to break the mold that was established back in 1872.

How? By becoming the world’s first “National Park City.”

If you’re among the almost 100 percent of people who have no idea what the hell that means, cool. We’re here to clear it up today … and while we’re at it, enjoy a hefty dose of inspiration from this truly unique move.

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Topics: Green Infrastructure

How Does Environmental Stewardship Impact Urban Ecology?

Posted by Ecogardens


Environmental stewardship might feel like a tall order within city limits, but the simple act of caring for green roofs can do more for nature than you think.

We suffer from a very one-and-done mentality in our society.

Want a new jacket? Buy one online. Need a restaurant recommendation? It’s at your fingertips; no need to call your friends anymore. Have to meet city requirements and install a green roof.

No problemo. Expert called; project accomplished. Now you never have to think about it again.

If you think we’re joking, think again. We’ve seen more dead or dying green roofs than we can count, all because regulations require their installation but not their maintenance. We’re lacking a very basic component of environmental stewardship here: upkeep.

It’s not just the green roofs or other manmade systems that pay for this neglect, either. It’s the plants and animals that make up our natural world.

If we want to do what we can to help the ecology of our cities, we need to make a change.

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Topics: Stewardship

A Step-by-Step Plan for Cost-Effective Stewardship Now and in Future

Posted by Ecogardens


Taking care of your green roof, rain garden or other green system is critical. Unfortunately, many people worry it will cost too much and don’t do it. You can avoid that mistake.

Green roofs and other forms of green infrastructure have proven to possess more benefits to homeowners and commercial managers than bluing does to an old lady’s social life.

Sorry. We just really wanted to make a bluing reference. Is that still a thing? It’s gotta be a thing, right? Anyway, we’re done now. Back to the greening.

In addition to helping the environment in a multitude of ways, green roofs improve property values, soothe sore eyes and keep our cities cooler.

And they are themselves cool. Like, real neat indeed.

But only if they’re well-kept. Routine, cost-effective stewardship is the best way to maintain the worth of your initial green infrastructure investment and keep delivering those benefits, year after year. But how does it work? What steps should your plan include? And how can you avoid spending a branch and a limb in the process?

Luckily, bluing references aren’t all we’ve got. Read on for a step-by-step plan to steward your green roof cost-effectively today.

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Topics: Stewardship

How Can Cities Help Bees Through Pollinator Conservation?

Posted by Ecogardens


Pollinators tend to suffer in cities, despite proof that urban areas can majorly benefit our flying friends. Here’s how we can do better.

Pollinator conservation is big news these days. We know how important our friends the birds and bees are, but not everyone is so sure what to do to help them out.

First and foremost, we must understand why bees matter to the city. They:

  • Pollinate the gardens we use for food and serenity
  • Keep trees and green roofs in good shape and propagating naturally
  • Support native plants that help clean the air and balance the ecosystem

… and more. Unfortunately, urban areas often damage bee habitat, which is why pollinator conservation is so important today.

The good news is, done right, cities don’t have to prove inhospitable to bees. In fact, some studies show that urban centers show greater density of certain kinds of bees than the surrounding countryside. There’s major hope, if we can get there.

So, how can cities help bees, you’re wondering? Let’s take a look.

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Topics: Pollinators

Creating Urban Spaces in Step with Nature: An Introduction to Ecogardens

Posted by Ecogardens


Now that we’re showing our face around here a lot more, we thought it was time for a proper introduction.

Next time you’re seventeen stories up and see a green roof winking at you from the next building over, take a moment to stop and think about what that really means.

The growing prevalence of green roofs is indicative of an ever-increasing interest in making our cities healthier places. We’re proud of the fact that our fellow Chicagoans – as well as others throughout the Midwest – are putting their voices forward in support of ecological design and green infrastructure.

Almost as proud as we are of our own contributions to the field.

Hey, no one said we were modest.

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Topics: Green Roofs

The Difference Between Maintenance and Stewardship

Posted by Ecogardens


While the words “maintenance” and “stewardship” are often confused, they are in fact two distinct concepts that we need to sort out immediately, for the sake of the environment and our cities.

Simultaneously, the word maintenance has been unjustly deified as something toward which we should strive in matters of landscaping and green roofing.

We take issue with that.

And not in a minor way, like we take issue with anchovies on pizza or calling all organic food “farm to table.”

No, we take real issue with it. Because the truth is, when we confuse these two words, we dilute the benefits of green infrastructure and fail to safeguard them like we ought.

Boo to that.

Let’s discuss why we need true stewardship so much, and how to get there.

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Topics: Stewardship

What Is Green Roof First Aid and When Do You Need It?

Posted by Ecogardens


A green roof, like any other system, can get sick. When that happens, you need first aid fast – but how do you recognize it?

Put down the chai latte and come out of that lotus pose for a moment. Turn off the whale songs too. We promise this won’t take long.

Okay. That’s better. Now we have a question for you:

When you imagine green roof stewardship, what do you see?

If you’re like most people, your answer is something along the lines of, Wait, green roofs need stewardship? Don’t they, like, take care of themselves?

Now, we know you regard green roofs (and green infrastructure in general) highly, but that’s not the same as knowing what’s best for an ecological system. Don’t feel bad; even some of the greatest minds in the industry occasionally forget there’s a post-handoff step: stewardship.

Sadly, not all systems get the care they need on an ongoing basis, which is where green roof first aid becomes necessary.

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Topics: Green Roofs