How Initial Green Roof Design Impacts Stewardship

Posted by Ecogardens


While good stewardship helps keep a green roof sound throughout the decades of its life, you’re fighting a losing battle without good design.

On the surface, green roof design and stewardship might seem like two wholly different aspects of the green roofing process.

Design and installation are completely done by the time stewardship takes over, after all. They exist in two distinctly separate phases, leading some to believe that the one doesn’t impact the other. Design is one-and-done. Stewardship comes on later, and if it’s good, can keep a green roof healthy no matter what.

… Right?

Not necessarily.

Truth is, design and stewardship are inextricably intertwined. Yes, good design – based on sound scientific concepts and artful creativity – should set a roof up for life. And yes, excellent stewardship does help any green system weather the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”

But without good design, stewardship is set up for a fall. Let’s talk about why the right approach is so important from the very beginning.

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Topics: Stewardship

How Does Regular Stewardship Impact Stormwater Retention?

Posted by Ecogardens


Keeping your green roof in great shape is the best way to reap maximum stormwater benefits.

Forget Snuggies, fast food and terrible teen pop.

Stormwater is the real crime of this century.

Combined sewer overflows, the result of rainwater overloading the sewers and spitting filth into the streets, carry disease into our cities and waterways. It sheets over asphalt and concrete, sweeping pollutants right along with it.

Rural areas suffer from stormwater troubles as well, but it’s really the cities that desperately need better methods of keeping rain and snowmelt out of the sewers.

That’s where green roofs come in, trapping and detaining stormwater during rain events. They keep water there for hours or days, relieving the sewers of undue pressures resulting from all that water entering all at once.

Of course, they only provide those benefits if stewarded well.

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Topics: Stewardship

How to Maintain Green Infrastructure for Peak Performance Year Round

Posted by Ecogardens


Stewardship is a critical factor in getting the most out of your green system, whether your goal is beauty or environmental benefits or both. Here’s how to get peak performance.

You have a green roof, or perhaps another green system. Whether it was recently installed or is 10 years old, you want it to work well.

Ideally, you want it to work very well. Year-round peak performance is the goal.

(One assumes. Let’s just go with it.)

But how do you accomplish that? In other words, what are the basic tasks involved in stewarding a green roof environment?

Glad you asked. Here’s a basic rundown of how you should steward your green system – whether a rooftop garden, bioswale or another kind of green infrastructure – all year round.

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Topics: Stewardship

Moving Beyond Simple Sustainability: Building Strong Ecologies in Urban and Rural Areas

Posted by Ecogardens


Sustainability is a buzzword we hear a lot, but do we truly understand what’s needed to preserve the health of urban and rural areas? Our interview with Keith Bowers provides a look at how we can move beyond a simple idea of sustainability, toward a truly rich ecology across our nation and the globe. 

(Download a PDF version of the report to share with friends and colleagues for free)

Since our earliest days, we have felt a divide between human habitation and the Wild – a vast unknown that, for much of human history, was populated with monsters and nightmares too frightening to comprehend.

We create light where once was darkness, water where formerly the desert reigned, high walls where saber-toothed cats stalked at will. Our singular goal has been to fulfill an evolutionary mandate to keep our own species safe at all costs, even if that means railroading the other organisms with whom we share this planet and destroying the resources upon which they depend.

Today, we’re waking up to the fact that … come to think of it … we depend on those resources too, and it would be a real bummer if they were gone by our children’s or grandchildren’s generation. Even without such a strong motivator, preserving the Earth for its other inhabitants is, we can agree, the right thing to do.

Luckily for the rest of the human race, some forward thinkers spotted this issue years back. They have spent decades fighting against the negative impacts of profligacy and shortsighted development trends, and setting new ones in place.

Ecology has proven one of the most fruitful of these fields. Its sturdy relationship with other buzzwords – sustainability, resiliency, environmentalism – points to its importance, yet others might say it confuses the issue as well.

Keith Bowers is one of the latter.

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Topics: Stewardship

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

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

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

How Does Regular Stewardship Impact Energy Costs?

Posted by Ecogardens


Want to keep those energy costs low and protect that budget? Keeping your green roof sound is the place to start.

Keeping your green roof nice should provide its own motivation, but let’s face it: Life is busy.

There are meetings to attend and spouses to appease and dogs to feed. (Also, we should feed our children occasionally.)

We can’t always get to everything on the to do list, and the fact of the matter is, green roofs often take the hit when it comes to schedule rearrangements.

Sometimes for months. Or years.

The problem with that is, you could be wasting a huge amount of money on energy costs and setting yourself up for big problems later.

So just how do green roofs and stewardship work together, and how does regular oversight reduce energy costs? Let’s take a look.

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Topics: Stewardship