Monday, October 27, 2008

Florida Green Roof Project Continues!

The new Florida Green Roof continues to grow with more and more succulents, agaves and cacti daily!

Once the structural plantings are completed the oobleck will be added around the plants, allium seeds sown and then wait for the plants to take off and fill out the mats!
Contact Judy @ MetroVerde for your green roof!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Green Roof Plants Bloomin! Florida Green Roof Project

October is a great time of the year for Green Roof Plants! Many of the species with flowers of a red hue are blooming! Email Judy for your personalized roof!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sustainable Florida! Green Roofs! UCF Orlando October 21, 2008

I attended the Collin's Center Sustainable Florida Conference this week hosted by UCF. The event was eye-opening and inspiring. Our panel presented on the urgent need to restore vertical green to the Urban Core.

Benefits from vertical green in the Urban Core include; A. Stormwater cleansing, B. Creation of Wildlife Habitat, and C. Reconnection of humans to our connections with nature - A Sense of Place Reality in an otherwise electronic world.

Check out the Sustainable Florida Website!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Save Energy - Make your tea outdoors - even on a cloudy day...

Simple way to save energy. Instead of boiling your tea water, place several tea bags in a glass jar and set out in the sun. Cover well. By the end of the day your tea is brewed!

Vertical Wall Hydroponics - grow your vegetables anywhere!

We are developing wall systems to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers on any wall with a hybrid hydroponic watering and nutrient system!

Hydrolettuce Part Two! Two Weeks old

It's been two weeks since we've planted the hydroponic lettuce and the plants have really grown! Stay tuned for more updates!

Update - Florida Green Roof Project - with installation of green roofing plants!

Plant installation on the New Florida Green Roof Project proceeding! Looks for more updates soon!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Florida Green Roofing - what holds the plants to the mat during the initial installation? OOBLECK!

Least that is the nickname the agar based tackifier is called by the kids...very sticky to the touch...but it holds the expanded clay and other soil engineered materials together!

Use a concrete pump to move the slurry in large quantities. Hydroseeder outfits are not strong enough...

Florida Green Roof Project - Green roofing at dusk...

The plants are under installation. The days are getting shorter. The nights cooler. It hasn't rained for a week and the only water the plants are receiving is the blanket of heavy morning dew.... This weekend we should make good progress with finalizing the plant installation!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday Morning Reflections - Green Roofs for Dogs - Florida Green Roof Project

We won first place with the above entry in the Jacksonville AIA Barkitecture Contest earlier this summer.

JSA Architects out of Jacksonville was the lead on the team - We did the Green Roof! JSA developed the system to take the vegetation filtered stormwater - filtered through plants and a geosynthetic, and feed the doggy watering bowls!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Night Fun - Green Roofing Florida Musings....

Tonight I'd like to introduce you to Robert Solomon, a highly esteemed green roofer. I met Ron (Ron - he prefers to go by his middle name) at the Hillsborough County, Florida (Tampa) Green Roof Symposium earlier this year.

Ron and I are about the same age and we both share a passion for freeing our country from dependence on foreign oil - did you realize that almost 11% of our imported oil is used for asphalt products - as in asphalt roofs....

Ron opened my eyes to the above - and I checked it out on the internet....see How To Save The World

So we are listening to various speakers about vegetated roofs - the benefits and sales pitches, when Ron pipes up about something besides a garden or vegetated roof - He is talking about TPO!... But I listen...and he is right....

Vegetated roofs are not the only Green roofs around....

White PVC and TPO roofs reflect immense amounts of sunlight and keep the buildings they cover as cool as a vegetated roofs, and are much cheaper. White Roofs are also green roofs.

And so I talk to him after the symposium. And we e-mail regularly. Ron is trying hard - very hard to educate the Tampa area businesses and schools and governments and others to stay away from heat loving foreign oil based BLACK asphalt roofing and consider white synthetic roofing.

But more than a public servant for his efforts to reduce heat island effects and conserve energy and help us break dependencies from foreign oil - Ron is a true gentleman.

A man with a spirit of 'It Can Be Done' and 'Have Fun While You Are Doing It'.

I agree with Ron. Life is short - too short.

Lets bring back green to the Urban Core. Vegetated Roofs or White TPO.

He and I are on the same team. The American Team!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Florida Green Roof Project - Root Bound Problems - Green Roofs

Again - Why use a tray or modular system? Roots grow outwards - always. Once they hit the edge of the tray they circle, circle and circle until the plant is strangled.

Use a mat system....

Florida Green Roofs project - should we use a pre-vegetated mat or install mat then seed/plant?

Great Question! The answer is you can do either! Sometimes it is the logistics that dictate the appropriate option to use.

Pre-vegetated mats are heavier and if they are to be carried up to the top of a tall building, then the transportation can be difficult. Typically, pre-vegetated mats are cut into standard sections then stacked on a pallet. You must first determine that adequate access exists on the project site - consider the size of the pallet, size of elevators, etc...

Installation from scratch is applicable in instances where there is no practical way to carry the pre-vegetated mats to the roof. There are also other instances where you might want to consider installation from scratch. Consult Judy at MetroVerde if you want to discuss what is right for your application.

Florida Green Roof Project - Provide Wildlife Habitat and Clean Stormwater! Installing the Mats!

Once the mats are cut to length, we install the mats on the roof using the MetroVerde attachment system components (avoid roof penetrations).

Florida Green Roof Project - cleans stormwater - mat installation phase!

First Step to mat installation (once the sub-roof has been prepped or the liner applied over the existing roof - is to measure and cut the mat!

The New Florida Green Roof project moves forward!!! The Seeds are Sprouting!

It has taken about seven days for the allium seeds to sprout. However they are bursting forth in full force now, even though we are well into the autumn season. Allium is one of my favorite plant Genus'. Allium sp. is a hardy plant - you can find them growing almost anywhere!

Allium's are drought resistant, evergreen and provide significant habitat for all types of wildlife! Watch for more pictures as the plants mature! Be sure to also check out MetroVerde - Judy's website on Green Roofs and Urban Permaculture.

Urban Green - Even in a Small Space! Small Gardens!

Even small backyards can provide wonderful areas to establish an intense garden, a place where you raise the level of green from flat lawns to a vertical integration of plants providing food, fiber and medicine.

Go ahead. Dig up the lawn. Drive in a half dozen fence posts and add jute string or fencing. Plant the vines - squash, cucumbers, grapes and more. Be sure to include flowers for the table vases.

Purchase a pack of ladybugs from your local garden shop. Every plant is one more step towards restoring green to the urban core!

Check out Judy's MetroVerde site or for more info on urban green!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sense of Place is Important to Each and Everyone in the Urban Core

Creating a personal, beautiful and productive garden spot is easy! Be it on an apartment or townhome balcony, in a small backyard or in a large estate - you CAN create our food, flower and medicine refugee with little money and good steady effort.

We like the compact, easy to maintain design!

Yours will evolve through the years!

Start now! Email Kevin or Judy with questions or comments and visit our website at

Another Green Roof Video - Florida Green Roof Construction

See Previous Post for more on installing a liner on an existing roof in preparation for a new Green Roof!!!

Enjoy the Video!

The new Florida Green Roof Project - Next Episode - Installation of the Liner!

New eUrbanism! Green Roofs everywhere! We are refining the available technology - now doing things only dreamed of before.... So we'd like to think.. Our ancestors and those before us had vertical green techniques so much more refined - even though they lacked the polymer and synthetic materials we have today...

Hanging Gardens of Babylon!
and also check out Wikipedia's write up...

IFAS at UF has a great virtual field trip website that provides more info on vertical crop growing and hydroponics.... see previous blog...

OK but back to the new vegetated roof. Today was the 20 mil PVC liner installation day and unfortunately it was real windy - a front is coming through -

Normally on a TPO roof there is no need to put a root barrier down - you always can if you want to but the TPO and the PVC root barrier are one and the same material practically and you end up just duplicating efforts.

But hey! If you want another liner over the TPO - put one there. The black pond liners you can find a Lowe's and Home Depot work great!!! These come in various stock sizes. You can get 13' x 20', 13' x 10', 8' x 10' and others. Watch Craigslist for great buys on pond liners as there are many people who buy the liners thinking they will get a 'round-to-it' and build a backyard pond. It is amazing how many pond liners I see for sale on either e-bay or Craigslist!

For sure you would want to put a liner over asphalt shingles - as we are doing here... Otherwise the roots would devour the asphalt shingles eventually...

But over TPO - well - if you are in doubt build a trial panel! See for yourself!

So since we have a asphalt shingle roof on this project - we are installing a PVC liner. (Always follow OSHA safety guidelines when working above ground)...

Folded up, PVC is heavy and will stay put on the roof. Unfolded the liner is like a waiting sail, ready to leap into the air and follow the breezes. Moreover, liners are slick, slippery and a fall hazard on the ground and especially on a roof or raised platform!

Even over rough - friction heavy asphalt shingles, PVC liners will 'slip and slide'!

MetroVerde's belief is that any vertical penetration through a roof will cause a failure or maintenance issue, sooner rather than later, in Florida's harsh environment!

Today's project roof has a 5/12 slope - moderately steep slope...

And today was WINDY! With the front coming through, as soon as I started unfolding the liner - the wind would pick it up and throw it down over the edge...

See the photo's...

But using MeroVerde's patented attachment system, once you get the mat laid out in a roughly positioned posture - then quickly attach the mat and the roof with the first fastener - usually the highest corner in the direction of the prevailing wind.

Install another fastener ever three feet on both the x and y axis. Carefully move across the roof area, installing all fasteners until the entire liner perimeter has been attached to the existing roof. Make sure the liner is stretched tightly across the roof and there is no obvious buckling or 'air bubbles' in the liner.

Usually the weight of the liner will press down and form against the existing roof. Once the MV GRP vegetated panels are installed the weight should be easily sufficient to hold the entire system in place.

See the photos! The final installation photo shows the liner stretched and attached - ready for the mats!

Watch for the next episode! Until then - Happy Green Roofing! - PS - Feel free to call me anytime you wish to discuss Green Roofs! 904-294-2656... :) Kevin

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Brown Curly Q's on the Alliums. It has been a while since we've had a rain event...Florida Green Roofs

Other than the tale tell sign that the alliums are aware that it has been a good while since rain has moistened their roof top beds, the MetroVerde Extensive Green Roofs I've been following are looking good.

The Semps have really enjoyed the respite from the humidity and are looking perky and green! Though you do not see them here. I'll post a pic of them tomorrow.

I was out most of the day today taking the International Society of Arboriculture's certified Municipal Arborist exam - I thought it was a hard test - but as I was reviewing the questions, several key phrases jelled in my mind about adding small trees to the MV Extensive roof panels and after consideration all afternoon - I think it will work!!! But of course, as always, we will vet in the field through many tests. Please be sure and stay tuned for more info as the field trials take shape.

Back to the alliums in a second - but first - we are going to develop a spreadsheet for the blog that will allow us to post temperature readings of on deck asphalt, on deck vegetation, below deck asphalt and below deck vegetated sampling points on a set of Jacksonville, Florida roofs. We will keep the readings posted year around for our interests and comments. Right now I am seeing October mid-day below deck under asphalt readings averaging 128 degrees F while below deck under extensive vegetation mats of 81 degrees F.

We are also running LC-50 tests on straight rainwater and then rainwater runoff from an asphalt shingled roof and a vegetated roof. It looks like the only roof that doesn't kill the fathead minnows is...well - we need to wait for the final data.

OK alliums. As you can see in the photo - the alliums are feeling the semi-drought. Though only a trained eye would probably see the stress indication in the leaf blade tips - it is there. But this is how alliums respond to drought. We will keep posting pictures until we experience a decent rainfall event. Never fear for these plants though - they are tough, tough, tough. Judy and I have worked with these plants for years and years. You cannot kill them and when you trim the blades back you can almost see them grow back out!

Can you tell from the photo? Lots of lush green - but look for the thin brown tips. It has been three weeks since a solid rain. If this was a roof with a modular tray system - here in Florida my bets are that you'd have a dead mess. Mat systems are so much better suited for the three Florida H's - Hurricanes, Heat and Humidity...

Until tomorrow! Happy Green Roofing Dreams! Kevin :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vertical Green - Restoring Green to the Urban Core

It is all about vertical green on an Urban Site. The more vertical green a site has, the more stormwater is treated and attenuated, the more wildlife habitat exists, and the more connections to our historic past interactions with green are resolved for beneficial purposes.

Here the Jincy, Ruairi, Judy and Kevin team have installed what we call a "Shade Trellis'. The shade trellis concept is simple. Shade solar heat gain from entering a house or building through windows with beautiful flowering vines in he summer. Then in the winter, the deciduous nature of the vines causes the leaves to drop and the sunlight is free to enter, heat and warm.

One of the benefits of restoring green to the Urban Core!

Florida Green Roofs - Prepping the mat with expanded mineral material - perlite, vermiclite, expanded clay, agar, trace minerals, and more!

Episode Three - prepping the planting base - prepping the mat. Lots of standards and regulations, common sense precautions and just plain good BMP's - Best management Practices come into play now that the mat is rolled out. So we've talked to death the reason why we don't like trays and modular systems....Hey I heard of a roofing company somewhere is South Florida who just installed a system of trays on their roof - and the plants died...

But the reason we choose mats is not the reason we don't use trays. The reason we choose mats is because with a mat, the green roof's plant roots can grow as far north, south, east or west they want to grow. No circling (as in trays) and no self strangulation in a couple of years (as in trays).

Sure - maybe Plant A will Run into Plant B. Instead of root circling and strangulation though, the roots will compete with each other and the stronger plant will go onto to survive. The important note here is that there is always coverage - though one may dieback, the stronger or more suited plant survives. The mat advantage has proven itself on the Dearborn, Michigan Ford Motor Company 10 acre roof.

OK - back to the soil...

Wouldn't it be easiest just to fill the mat with dirt from the backyard? - Maybe so - but I wouldn't do it. Think of the weeds, nematodes, fire ants, etc you may be digging up and placing on your roof.

Moreover, ASTM has specifications written for dust and organic matter and more for green roof soil systems. The MetroVerde engineered soil (MV GRP) mixture we use is a proprietary blend - and we add soil goodies to it! I think of it as a stabilized outdoor hydroponic system!

So lay out a piece of plastic sheeting on the ground in an area you won't be walking - please note that if you have outside cats or dogs - they love to use a rolled mat system as a huge litter box! Take precautions!

Roll out your mat on top of the plastic, add the mixture of perlite, vermiculite and expanded clay. Apply the tackifier initial layer. Sow desired seeds or installed pre-grown plugs and reapply tackifier.

We'll explore soil mixtures and tackifier solutions (there are many of these sticky mixtures) in an upcoming post. In the meantime - Happy Green Roofing!!! Kevin

New Florida Green Roof Project - THE MAT !!!!

One of the basic principles of a successful green roof is the base mat. Mats are the preferred green roof base system for Florida Green Roofs - as we have discussed countless times before here. The reason is simple - the roots in plants secured in trays or modular components eventually reach the tray walls and begin to circle around, eventually strangling themselves to death - remember going to the nursery and buying pot or root bound plants - they did not live long....

Welcome to the mat episode...the mat was delivered today! We will unroll it, flatten it out and begin adding the expanded clay, other non-organics and the tackifier (agar based). Sound complicated? Naw.... Watch for the next episode - to be posted later tonight after we do the above tasks! Happy green roofing - - Kevin :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

South Facing Florida Green Roof Project

We will be documenting an approximately 1000 SF green roof project here on the blog - beginning with the initial mat plantings in October 2008.

The mat material is ordered, scheduled for delivery within the week.

The organic seed stock and cuttings are established and ready for installation in the mat system.

Over the course of the next several posting you will view the current roof (asphalt shingles), the liner and liner installation, the mat and mat fabrication and construction and the final product. Feel free to post questions and suggestions! Join us on this project!

Kevin, Jincy and Ruairi