Greensulate Goes to Summer School

Greensulate Goes to Summer School. Greensulate taught 60 summer students about how to plant and care for an array of flowers and herbs last week. The classes emphasize the importance of gardening and greening urban spaces. Learn more about school gardens. Greensulate Goes to Summer School Last week, Greensulate went to summer school. We taught around 60 Boys and Girls summer students in coordination with the Education Alliance ( coordinator Adina Tabor on  the importance of gardening and greening urban spaces at PS 140 in the LES / on Delancey. Over five hours, there were three classes each with 20 students: 4th grade (community engagement) 2nd grade (creative movement) 3rd grade (gardening club) We taught them how to plant and care for an array of flowers and herbs – around 50 plants were planted and a few rows of seeds. The plants and supplies were paid for by Education Alliance and Greensulate donated our time and knowhow.   Increasingly, schools, parents and teachers are realizing the benefits of student gardening. Here are some of the benefits listed by the Tampa Bay School Gardening Network: Benefits of School Gardening for Students 1) Educational benefits Gardening offers hands-on, experiential learning opportunities in a wide array of disciplines, including the natural and social sciences, math, language arts (e.g., through garden journaling), visual arts (e.g., through garden design and decoration), and nutrition. With recent concern over relatively weak science and math skills among American children, the need for innovation in science and math teaching is apparent. There is mounting evidence that students who participate in school gardening score significantly higher on standardized science achievement tests (Klemmer, 2005). Further research... read more

Solar Green Roofs in Schools

Solar Green Roofs Part of Curriculum. 25 NYC schools have green roofs with integrated solar. Greensulate installed one of the largest solar green roof in NYC. Vicki Sando, a NYC teacher, said: “We made connections between plant study. Plants are little solar cells.”   by Cat DiStasio,, June 12, 2015 One New York City public school is paving the way for teachers to share hands-on learning opportunities with students, using beautiful green-topped roofs and a collection of solar panels. PS 41, located in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, has sported a green roof since 2003 and added a solar array in 2013 after years of planning and design. By next summer, 24 other New York schools will have a similar solar setup, allowing teachers to demonstrate in real life some of the lessons students are learning in the classroom. Vicki Sando is the mastermind behind PS 41’s roof garden, which she founded in 2003 when she was a parent at the school. Although it took a while to get people excited about it, the garden eventually flourished and is now a lush oasis in the city, adorned with brightly colored flowers, fresh herbs, and native grasses. Sando and others at PS 41 spent four years designing and researching options before installing the small solar panel array in 2013, nestling right into the green space. Since that time, the city has launched a $23 million program to install solar panels at 24 public schools in New York City. Installation is in progress at PS 69 on Staten Island and the other 23 schools are slated to have solar panels up and running... read more

Facebook’s Green Roof

Facebook’s Green Roof is in Sync with Nature. It is 9 acres and is planted to blend with nature. It absorbs rainwater and protects nearby salt flats and marsh. “It’s entirely inspired by the regional landscape,” says Rayna deNiord, lead designer. Facebook’s Green Roof is in Sync with Nature by Julie Chai Facebook’s new building in Menlo Park, known as MPK 20, has garnered a lot of attention for its Frank Gehry design. But, one of its most beautiful features starts about 50 feet above the ground: the expansive rooftop garden. At a sprawling 9 acres, it’s perhaps the most ambitious corporate garden in the country. And that extends to the scope as well as the scale. It’s not your typical corporate landscape with masses of manicured lawn and carefully clipped hedges. Instead, the goal was to reflect and complement the environment, and sustainability helped drive its design. The design team integrated the landscape with the building from the outset, giving it much more complex planting — from low-growing perennials to mature trees — than is typical of roof gardens, and included spaces that serve as an extension of Facebook’s offices. “It’s entirely inspired by the regional landscape,” says Rayna deNiord, lead designer and project manager for CMG Landscape Architecture, who created the overall plan. “We looked to the adjacent salt flats for context.” With planting berms and contours that mimic the marshland just across the street, the plot is packed with plants that are grouped by the types of Northern California environments in which they grow. It’s meant, in part, to represent some of what you might see while hiking along... read more

Green Roofs Offer Residential Amenity

Green roofs offer residential amenity on multi-family buildings. Developers and architects are incorporating green roofs to add usual amenity space, and take advantage of local incentives. A growing number of cities are paying multifamily building owners to add green roofs to their buildings. Green Roofs on Multi-Family Buildings by Bendix Anderson The condominiums at the Visionaire in New York City start at $690,000. The amenities include a 2,075-sq.-ft. rooftop garden with more than 160 species of ornamental plants, including vertical screens for climbing vegetables and a fruit orchard with dwarf trees. “There are lots of benefits to having a green roof—the short-term benefit is having a usable amenity space,” says Steven Peck, president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. A growing number of cities are paying multifamily building owners to add green roofs to their buildings. That’s helping to motivate more owners to plant their rooftops. Adding an extensive green roof that covers most of a building’s roof space adds between $10.30 and $12.50 per sq. ft. to the cost of the roof, compared to a conventional, black roof, according to a study by the U.S. General Services Administration. Annual maintenance for a green roof is typically higher than for a black roof, by $0.21 to $0.31 per sq. ft. Of course, those costs are for the most basic green roofs. Apartment developers can spend millions to create and maintain rooftops gardens for their residents, with plants ranging from trees to roses. The word “sub-watershed” is an important clue to the city’s motivation to pay for green roofs. Older cities like Washington, D.C., often have sewer systems that combine water from rainstorms... read more

Green Roofs Boost Productivity

Green Roofs Boost Productivity. A new study shows taking 40 second break to gaze at an image of a green roof improved performance and accuracy. The researcher said: “Our results…demonstrate that brief glimpses of a high-rise green roof scene can boost attention, compared to a traditional city scene.” Looking At Green Roofs May Boost Your Work Productivity by Kate Ashford Feeling stuck at work? Unable to churn out that report your boss needs, or brainstorm ideas for that new campaign? What if there was something you could do for 40 seconds that could amp up your productivity right away? According to a new study, there is. “Green roofs” are those in which a building rooftop has been covered with a layer of low-growing plants. Although it’s a new trend in the U.S., last year Washington D.C. installed more than 1.2 million square feet of green roofs, according to Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. Philadelphia, Chicago and New York are also on the bandwagon. Their touted benefits include beautification, stormwater management and aiding in urban cooling. Subjects who took a 40-second break from a demanding task to gaze at an image of a green roof improved performance and accuracy when they continued with the task, according to a study from the University of Melbourne. Compared to other subjects who only viewed a concrete roof, they were also more consistently alert after the break. “Our research was designed to test the boundaries of the attention-restoring capacity of nature,” says study researcher Kate Lee. “It was informed by previous research showing concentration boosts after lush nature exposure of minutes-to-hours. Our results are exciting, however, as they... read more

Rain Revolution for Dry, Thirsty LA

Rain Revolution for Dry, Thirsty LA. “Unlike thirsty cities of the past…which meticulously captured every drop of its scant rain, metro LA was designed to convey all rainwater away from the city. Now, in the middle of the drought, LA is working to capture rainwater. Rain Revolution for Dry, Thirsty LA by Cynthia Barnett A fast-moving Pacific storm swept across northern California and down the coast to Los Angeles last week, bringing a rare rain delay to Dodger Stadium in the middle of the season opener—and some relief to the vast urban population suffering from the state’s severe drought. Unlike thirsty cities of the past—such as ancient Carthage in Tunisia, which meticulously captured every drop of its scant rain—metro Los Angeles wasted much of the .36 inch that fell on April 7. Flowing across miles of highways, rooftops and parking lots, the liquid manna made its way to L.A.’s ubiquitous, concrete storm gutters, which then rushed it away to the Pacific Ocean. This was entirely by design. Over the course of the 20th century, city leaders worked to banish rainfall to protect Angelenos from a very different sort of disaster. Before engineers built mammoth flood-control dams and turned the sinewy L.A. River into a 54-mile storm drain, fierce floods had routinely washed away homes and killed residents of the fast-growing city. Large-scale flood control saved lives, but it also carried two unhappy and unintended consequences. In L.A., as elsewhere, storm water running off filthy streets and car parks has become a major source of pollution, fouling beaches, bays and rivers. In addition, rain captured and redirected this way couldn’t be used... read more

Amy Norquist Talks Green Roofs

Amy Norquist Talks Green Roofs. An interview with Greensulate CEO and green roof guru Amy Norquist addresses qualitative and economic benefits of green infrastructure, and differences in green roofing strategies in various cities. A major component in sustainable development is the addition of green roofs. Amy Norquist Talks Green Roofs Here’s the 6sqft interview in full. 6sqft is no stranger to green design, and more and more buildings throughout New York City are implementing eco-friendly features, from providing electric car chargers to utilizing geothermal energy systems. A major component in sustainable development is the addition of green roofs. Whether they’re merely for environmental purposes, or if they provide a usable outdoor space, green roofs are the next big thing in green design. So, we decided to chat with Amy Norquist, CEO and founder of Greensulate, a leader in integrated design, engineering, installation and maintenance of green roof systems for the residential, commercial, and industrial markets. For those of us who aren’t as familiar with green roofs, what are the basics? Amy: Green roofing is a natural, supremely efficient, history-tested insulation method. Green roofs are essentially a living extension of the roof construction. Green roof systems are made up of layers designed to mimic the many vast benefits of nature while providing additional benefits to buildings’ envelopes. The first layer consists of a protective membrane that goes directly on the pre-existing roof followed by a drainage element, a filter sheet, a level of substrate, and then a layer of vegetation. There are three main types of green roofs: extensive, intensive, and hybrid (a combination of the two). Each green roof system, depending on the type, is full... read more

CA Drought Linked to Climate Change

CA Drought Linked to Climate Change. A Stanford University study points to a region of high atmospheric pressure over the Pacific that is depriving California of storms that would otherwise make landfall. The research team argues that greenhouse gases make these conditions more likely. California’s Drought Linked to Climate Change   The California drought, now entering its fourth year, is sustained by a number of climate forces. The two most unrelenting factors are heat and dryness. A recent study from Stanford University climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh links these prominent and ongoing factors to the effects of human-induced global climate change. Utilizing computer simulations and atmospheric data, the study points to a region of high atmospheric pressure over the Pacific that is depriving California of storms that would otherwise make landfall. The research team argues that greenhouse gases make these conditions more likely, thus essentially attributing the current drought to unchecked gas emissions. The study has received some criticism for its methods and results. Whether greenhouse gases can be particularly blamed for the California drought remains a matter of contention. However, one undisputed fact remains: California is in desperate need of water. Greensulate is constructing green roofing sites across the state, not only to relieve some of the effects of the drought, but to temper the underlying meteorological causes. Green roofs retain whatever rainwater does make it to California’s parched landscape. They also contribute to beneficial cloud formations, fighting the drought at its source. No matter the ultimate cause of the drought, Greensulate roofs are working to alleviate its effects and reverse its chokehold on the California... read more

Subscribe Greensulate Newsletter

Follow me on Twitter