Green Roofs – creating habitat and sanctuary for birds

Green Roofs Are Saving Birds and Hatching Bird-Watchers


Urban development hasn’t always accommodated birds. Window collisions due to reflective glass and bright lights have hurt migrating bird populations wherever there are skyscrapers, with the American Bird Conservancy estimating that each year, up to a billion birds die via collisions in the U.S. alone.

An overnight storm this past March left 395 warblers and orioles dead outside the 23-story One Moody Plaza in Galveston, Texas. The skyscraper is among the tallest in the area, and while it’s not wrapped in bird-unfriendly, floor-to-ceiling glass, a combination of lightning, building lights, and corner windows still disoriented the migrating birds into colliding with the structure.

However, when ecology and engineering unite, city roofs can become bird-roosting and bird-watching havens. Take New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. New York City Audubon once ranked this I. M. Pei-designed fusion of glass and steel among the top three bird-killing buildings in the area. But since its 2009 renovation by FXFOWLE Architects, retrofitted low-reflectivity glass has reduced collisions by 90 percent. The new windows feature dot patternsvisible to birds from the air, and a 6.75-acre green roof tops off the overhaul, ensuring that it not only kills fewer passing birds, but also feeds and shelters growing numbers.

“Having a building with a green roof on it, you’re creating another layer where birds can interact with grass,” says Susan Elbin, director of conservation and science at NYC Audubon. The organization collaborated with Fordham University in 2014 to study wildlife at the Javits Center, counting 11 bird species utilizing the roof, including herring gulls that had started a colony, a first occurrence in New York. The following year, researchers found 17 bird species on the roof.

Green Roofs, Green Walls Gain Popularity in South Carolina

The following is from an article in The Post & Courier news paper from June 4, 2017. It covers the growing popularity of green roofs, green walls in South Carolina.

Green roofs, walls gain momentum in South Carolina


When Michael Whitfield started Charleston-based Green Roof Outfitters in 2008, he was sailing in virtually unchartered waters in South Carolina and was among the vanguard in the Southeast.

And those seas were fairly rough.

“Nobody wanted to be the guinea pig,” says Whitfield, who actually changed his business model from being an installer to primarily providing green roof products. “In the first three years, I had zero projects here. In the last six months, we have either bid or installed on five.”

Among the local projects he has worked on is a green roof on the Rooftop Terrace of the SkyGarden Apartments, under construction now on Woolfe Street; a green wall inside the Half Mile North development; and a green roof atop The Refinery building at the 1600 Meeting Street development.

Whitfield is not the only one noticing a change in attitudes among architects, government officials and developers in the Palmetto State.

Green roofs and walls, especially in cities along the I-26 corridor, are starting to grow on government office buildings; high-end office, hotel and apartment structures; and schools and houses in recent years.

Green roof benefits

Also known as “living roofs,” green roofs are simply a vegetated covering for a roof. That covering has an array of benefits beyond aesthetics.

Green roofs reduce energy costs, especially during the heat of summer. They retain and detain storm water and increase the longevity of roofs by blocking ultraviolet rays and easing extreme surface temperatures. They also absorb pollutants.

The structures provide habitat for pollinators and birds and make space more suitable for humans.

Organizations pursuing prestigious LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accreditation can gain numerous credits through the use of green roofs.

Columbia’s pilot

As part of Columbia’s first effort to pursue a LEED silver certification on a municipal complex,

Stormwater regulations in Hoboken push for green roofs and other green infrastructure

Green roofs are being installed in Hoboken, NJ in response to new stormwater regulations put in place in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. According the City of Hoboken, A new Municipal Stormwater Management Plan has been developed to address the key issues of flooding, water pollution and public safety related to the impacts of stormwater on the City. The addition of green roofs has provided many benefits for the citizens of Hoboken and the ecosystem. A big part of the plan is the use of green infrastructure, mainly pervious ‘soft’ surfaces including green roofs, rain gardens, grass paver parking lots, and infiltration trenches. All of these methods will decrease the volume and speed of stormwater run-off, and allow water to slowly seep in to the ground, recharge the water table and filter out harmful pollutants and toxins. Here is a recently completed project using the GROWVista modular green roof system.

20,000sf of Green Roof Benefits Installed at Salisbury University

New green roof benefits are growing a top the Guerrieri Academic Commons at Salisbury University

Stormwater runoff has been a growing concern and problem in the State of Maryland. Steps are being taken to help reduce the adverse effects of contaminated stormwater runoff in the State. One solution is the addition of green roof benefits on existing and new buildings.  The green roof on top the new Guerrieri Academic Commons building at Salisbury University is a perfect example of this solution in action.

In the summer of 2016, Green Roof Outfitters provided 20,000 square feet of GROWVista 2X-6 (6″ deep)  modules, pre-vegetated with Sedum-Mix Blankets from Sempergreen. Each Sedum-Mix Blanket contains 9 to 15 different species of drought tolerant Sedum plants. These plants are low growing and require low maintenance. The GROWVista 2X system features perforated side walls that allows roots to grow between modules for this deeper system. It is estimated that this green roof will retain almost 40,000 gallons of water per rain event! Other added green roof benefits include creating energy savings, reducing air pollution and making the roof membrane last much longer.

Dwell Magazine Article Features GROWVista-2 Green Roof

A Modern Home Floats Above a Traditional Skyline


A skyward addition to an antebellum Charleston warehouse rises in an architecturally conservative city.

Built before modern air-conditioning, Charleston is a city whose definition of indoor/outdoor living is more French doors than floor-to-ceiling glass, a standard that is vigilantly upheld by local preservation groups. So when web developer Rich Yessian and architect Kevan Hoertdoerfer submitted plans to set a steel sanctuary, complete with a roof garden, atop a warehouse that dates from 1858, they prepared for an uphill battle.

“The anticipation going in was that there would be a lot of pushback,” notes Hoertdoefer, wryly. But his client’s wishes were clear.

Inspired by the condos that crown taller cities like New York, Rich dreamt of living somewhere that collapsed the distance between work and nature. When his company, Blue Ion, relocated to the top floor of a warehouse downtown, he saw his chance.

New study shows green roofs improve worker productivity

A study out of Melbourne, Australia shows the role green roofs can play in worker attention restoration and work performance. Study subjects were given a 40 minute break in which they were either given a photo of a green roof to look at or a photo of a dull concrete roof to look at. Subjects who looked at the green roof photo were observed to complete given tasks more effectively.

Green Roof Project Of The Week is highlighting our 1600 Meeting Street green roof project as their green roof ‘Project Of The Week’.

Located just four miles north of downtown in Charleston’s Upper Peninsula, a long blighted area of post-industrial brownfields known as “The Neck” is now a booming site of revitalization and a mecca for creative businesses. One shining example of this rebirth is the 1600 Meeting Street Development by Flyway Development with a newly renovated set of three buildings rehabilitated by The Middleton Group Architecture. All called 1600 Meeting Street, they are actually located at 1630 Meeting Street after an address error was discovered. The two smaller out buildings measure 950 square feet and 3,000 square feet, and the larger three-story, stately columned historic brick building with wrap-around porches contains 11,200 square feet. Installed in June, 2014, the green roof sits atop the first of the two out buildings at 1630 Meeting Street.

The redevelopment of this brownfield site, formerly owned and occupied by Exxon Oil (Esso) since 1926, started with the renovation of the three existing buildings. The 89-year-old buildings offer up approximately 20,000 square feet of floor space, and had laid vacant for over two decades. Flyway’s goal for the property was to create a hub for creative people to come together, connect, and work. They also aspired to renovate the buildings sustainably by using reclaimed materials, eco-efficient lighting, and a green roof which sits above the shared offices of Lowcountry Local First and Local Works.

Formerly used a garage by its previous owner, 1630-2 Meeting Street is now the home of Lowcountry Local First, a non-profit advocate and promoter of local small businesses and farmers. Local Works is an initiative of Lowcountry Local First and was created using its buy-local approach by sourcing local craftsmen and materials to develop the facility. They are working to create jobs and grow the Lowcountry economy by empowering local makers, growers and service providers.

The building has many sustainable features inside, including locally crafted wood furnishings made from locally reclaimed lumber and other reclaimed materials. Outside, the building features a 2,300-square foot green roof. “When viewed from the upper piazzas of the main building, the roof makes an interesting juxtaposition with the oil tanks in the distance,” (The Post and Courier, 2014).

Designed using the GROWVista™ modular green roof system from Green Roof Outfitters, the green roof covers a majority of the building’s roof surface and features both extensive and intensive plantings. The green roof was installed over the course of a day. The extensive portions of the green roof, which make up the majority of the green roof, were planted using Sedum Mats.

Pre-grown modules planted with Sedums, Delosperma, Prickly Pear, and Allium were used around the HV/AC units. A small intensive section of the green roof features native coastal perennials and grasses. The green roof can easily be observed from the third floor balcony of the adjacent building and is often the highlight of building tours. In the future, the second out building housing an interior decorating shop may have a green roof, as well as the main three-story structure.

“Local Works fills a much-needed niche in Charleston’s burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem. More and more entrepreneurs are breaking free from their home offices and coffee shops to seek professional, collaborative, yet still affordable environments that foster interaction with other professionals…’We are putting entrepreneurs together and giving them a space to thrive and collaborate,’ says Local Works Marketing and Communications Director, Misty Lister,” (Silicon Harbor Magazine, 2014).

The 1600 Meeting Street property houses a total of 19 creative businesses, entrepreneurs and nonprofits in a collaborative workspace community in spaces ranging from 250 to 3,500 square feet; the organization is a resource for the community members they serve. Local Works is run as a non-profit center with public and private supporters including the City of Charleston, Community Loan Fund and a 2014 award by the SC Department of Commerce’s Innovation Fund. 1600 Meeting Street is part of the master plan for “The Refinery” by Flyway Development.

Local Works is located at 1630-2 Meeting Street Road, Charleston, South Carolina 29405; 843.801.3390; visit the websites of Local Works; Lowcountry Local First; and 1600 Meeting Street. Watch the 3:07 Green Roof Install 1630 Meeting St from Green Roof Outfitters on YouTube. Learn about the project from the developer, Flyway Development. Read the August 3, 2014 Development firm plans office building, amphitheater on Charleston’s upper peninsula by Warren L. Wise in The Post and Courier; the July 17, 2014 Lowcountry Local First launches co-working space at 1600 Meeting by Ashley Sprouse in Charleston City Paper; the July 15, 2014 Lowcountry Local First Opens Coworking Space in Charleston by Blake Campbell in Silicon Harbor Magazine; the June 21, 2014 Building transitions from fossil fuel to creative energy by Robert Behre in The Post and Courier; and the April 14, 2013 1600 Meeting Street: Can a creative cluster help transform the local economy? by Adam Parker in The Post and Courier.

See the full post on here.