The Importance of Enforcing Green Roof Programs After the Build/Handoff

Posted by Ecogardens


Building a green roof is all very well, but what happens next? If the answer isn’t “amazeballs stewardship,” then you’re doing something wrong.

Much of our collective cultural focus on green roofs has to do with “getting one.” As though simply installing a roof is enough to win you the Medal of Ongoing Environmental Awesomeness for All Time.

No, that’s not a real thing.

Yes, some people act like it is.

Truthfully, though, while it’s fantastic to build a green roof, it’s not enough to simply do so, dust off your hands and walk away.

The same goes for any other type of green infrastructure: bioswale, rain collection system, low-water landscape, rooftop garden, or what have you. These systems are tightly structured to achieve specific goals, and they often exist in harsh environments. They need careful stewarding, or they won’t achieve those goals and they will suffer.

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Topics: Green Roofs

How Often Should You Schedule Site Inspections for Your Green Roof?

Posted by Ecogardens


Careful stewardship of your green roof means frequent site inspections to ensure its health and stability, but how often should they occur?

If you build it … they will come. “They” being the birds, butterflies, insects and other fauna that inhabit green roofs across our fair cities.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Green roofs need careful balancing. A green roof's purpose is to mimic nature in a very condensed profile. You have deep soil profiles in nature, around 2 feet on average, but we’re asking the same type of natural habitat to perform in only 6 inches, and often less. That's a big ask.

In other words, they need our help maintaining balance. While an established green roof does settle into a low-maintenance equilibrium, there’s no such thing as a no-maintenance system, no matter what some green roofers will tell you beforehand.

Just ask anyone who’s ever dropped tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a project, then let it “take care of itself” for a few years.

Spoiler alert: It won’t. Which is where green roof site inspections come in.

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Topics: Green Roofs

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

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

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

Why You Should Get a Rooftop Garden Today

Posted by Ecogardens


Rooftop gardens bring more than beauty and energy to a formerly lackluster space. They also bring nature into the city, IMPROVING human health and offering valuable real estate for plants, pollinators and other wildlife.

Ever look out your office window and seen people having drinks on a rooftop garden across the way – and feel a serious urge to gatecrash their party?

Ever wish you could turn that abandoned roof space into a plant-bedecked, fairy light-strewn Eden, right in your own building?

Ever want to increase the psychosocial and physical healing times at your hospital with an elaborate green roof space, but you’re not sure how?

You, my friend, need a rooftop garden.

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Topics: Green Roofs, Pollinators

How to Fight the Urban Heat Island Effect

Posted by Ecogardens


The urban heat island effect is wreaking havoc on the atmosphere, damaging human health, harming ecology and more. It’s time we do something about it.

Life on Earth exists in a delicate balance with its surroundings.

Think about it: You like being dry, but not too dry. You want to be fed, but not too full. You like being warm, but not hot. That’s because humans evolved in specific environments that conditioned us to these preferential ranges.

The same is true for non-human organisms, including microbiota, plants and animals. It’s even true for the Earth as a whole. It’s just not happy when things get too hot.

Witness: climate change. (Yes, nonbelievers, it’s really a thing. NASA says so.)

One of the biggest contributors to global warming is the urban heat island effect, and it’s time we started fighting it today.

Luckily, we’ve got an array of awesome strategies (such as green roofs!) to help reduce the high temperaturs that radiate off city infrastructure. Let’s talk problems and solutions today.

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Topics: Green Roofs

How to Figure Out What Your Green Roof Will Cost

Posted by Ecogardens



Asking “How much will my green roof cost?” is like asking “What should I wear to my sister’s wedding?” when the person at whom the question is directed has no idea what you look like, where the happy event is taking place or what your personal opinion on bowties happens to be.

Us, we like bowties … but what if you don’t? We couldn’t possibly predict that without talking to you and finding out more.

All of which is to say, it’s impossible to know how much your green roof will cost until we examine several factors. Unfortunately, therefore, there’s no way to get an instant green roof quote online.

(And if you do get one, we strongly recommend you run as fast and as far as you can. All that means is the company uses such a canned approach that the resulting roof is unlikely to last long, or to benefit you or the surrounding ecology. Booooooo.)

That said, what exactly does a smart greenroofing company consider before providing a quote? Moreover, what are the average installation and stewardship costs of the various green roof types?

Let’s take a look.

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Topics: Green Roofs

What You Need to Know About Green Roof Weight

Posted by Ecogardens


Green roofs are awesome, but their success hinges on the designer’s ability to account for the weight-bearing capacity of the roof and design accordingly.

In many ways, green roofs are nothing new.

Since the first prehistoric northerners put sod over their roofs, cooling their homes in the summer and keeping warmth inside during the biting winter months, humans have used the incredible power of greenery to moderate internal environments.

And feed their goats. And dress up their homes. And deal with rainfall. And be generally badass.

Seriously, though, green roofs provide a huge array of services: stormwater management, wildlife habitat, pollinator feeding zones, insulation, building protection and more.

Not, however, without one giant consideration to account for:


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Topics: Green Roofs

What Is the Green Roof Construction Process Like?

Posted by Ecogardens


The green roof construction process follows a standardized design, build, steward process to ensure the best product upfront and maximum success over the long haul.

If you’re interested in helping the environment, doing your part to manage stormwater and enhancing the urban ecology our cities, there’s no better place to start than with green roof construction.

Well, actually, there’s no better place to start than a steaming mug of coffee. But then the green roof thing.

Green roof construction isn’t as simple as throwing some succulents on top of an existing roof and hoping for the best, though. In fact, green roof construction is a highly specialized process that involves deep consideration of a number of factors, a well-executed implementation phase and monitoring period, and long-term stewardship.

So grab your cuppa joe and let’s get started.

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Topics: Green Roofs