Green Roofs and Green Walls

4 12 2008

I thought I would end these posts with a final blog about green roofs and how beautiful they can be. Many green roofs are more than just some grass and moss on a roof. They can be really pretty and very ecological at the same time. 

green-roof-beijing A green roof atop a building in Beijing

image00054 School of Art and Design, Singapore

A new idea being adopted as well is the green wall. You can even corporate these right into your home. has many products for the home and allows the user for an easy system of green walls.

home0031 Green Wall

5544358_eb3b2a923a Green Wall Two

– Kayla Schlosser


Sustainable DesignPrinciples- Monica

4 12 2008

This website outlines the five design principles that help make a building more sustainable, the article touches on the following issues that will optimize the buildings green potential.

  1. Optimizing use of the sun
  2. Improving indoor air quality
  3. Using the land responsibly
  4. Creating high-performance and moisture-resistant houses
  5. Wisely using the Earth’s natural resources

By implementing the above practices it will make houses more sustainable, efficient and create a healthier environment.

Winnipeg Green Roofs (Alex)

3 12 2008

Is it difficult for Winnipeg to take part in green roofs as much as other cities. Winnipeg although has wonderful springs and summers and falls, also happens to have extremely cold winters. Thus possibly making it difficult for green roofs to flourish as in different warmer cities like California. However is this really a barrier or simply a way to re-think and re-design a space?

There are basically 2 different types of green roofs. There is the intensive and the extensive green roofs. Intensive green roofs are characterized by thick soil depths (8″ – 4′), heavy weights and elaborate plantings that include shrubs and trees. Intensive green roofs are installed primarily over concrete roof decks to withstand the weight requirements. These park-like green roofs can be at or above grade and require considerable maintenance to sustain their aesthetic appearance. ( Intensive green roofs are also more expensive but seem to be more visually appealing to the eye. Their is also the extensive green roof. Extensive green roofs are much lighter in weight with soil depths ranging from 3″ to 7″. Due to the shallow soils and the extreme environment on many roofs, plants are typically low growing ground cover that are extremely sun and drought tolerant. Extensive green roofs can be installed over various roof decks; however, a structural engineer should always first inspect the structure to define it weight load limitations. Although (

So what type of green roof would be most appropriate in Winnipeg. Due to the nature of Winnipeg a extensive green roof would seemingly be better. Because flowers and certain shrubs would not survive the winter climates, having a intensive green roof would only die in the long winter mmonth’s. To keep a green roof all year round a extensive roof with various trees and shrubs would seem like the best choice. They types of vegetation that should probably be chosen would be something in the same category as perhaps the evergreen family. You can get various vines shrubs and trees that keeps their leaves all year round and is relatively low maintenance, therefore allowing for a all year round green roof in Winnipeg.

an example of a extensive green roof.

Green Roofs (Alex)

3 12 2008

The benefits of green roofs are incredible. After listening to the lecture on rooftop gardens and green roofs, I decided to incorporate it into the design of my different ED2 projects. After researching green roofs the benefits became more and more obvious. For instance, installing green roofs helps to reduce water retention from water runoff which can also reduce the risk of flooding, which in Winnipeg is an excellent resource. Green roofs help to filter the air, and the numerous types of vegetation it has on it helps to act as a sound insulator. Green roofs also help to reduce the need to replace or fix roofs every couple of years.

The other main benefit of having a green roof, it that is it quite obviously aesthetically pleasing to the eye. With various green patches and different types of vegetation it gives off a natural and comfortable feeling. This space can therefore easily be used as a social space such as a patio or lounging area. Different types of green roofs can also be created such as an intensive green roof that includes more flowers and vegetation that needs to be kept and maintained more, and the extensive green roofs with more trees and shrubs that require less time and energy to maintain and is also less expensive.

An area in Winnipeg that has taken over the aspect of a green roof is Mountain equipment co-op. They use both wood and different types of vegetation along with recycled metals to create a sustainable and ecologically friendly building. The Green roof also consists of native plant sand flowers that retain up to 75% of water runoff. (

Viking Sod Roofs vs Green Roofs- Steph M

2 12 2008

Green roofs are not a new idea. People have been building green roofs in many countries for hundreds of years. This was mainly because of the insulation qualities that sod roofs have. In cold countries it kept the houses warm and in warm countries it kept them cool. In Canada, examples of these houses can be found in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.  sod-house









Sod House at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland. (A viking Settlement)

Green Roofs and the Vancouver Fairmont Hotel- Steph M

2 12 2008

In Thursday’s class we discussed the benefits of green roofs. Green roofs are a big topic right now. Many countries are implementing laws and giving benefits to building owners with green roofs. Installing these roofs may be expensive at first but they end up paying themselves off with the amount of energy saved in the building. They act as insulation and in order to put them in the roof must be strong, resulting in a better roof that will last longer and have to be replaced less. Apart from the money saved, green roofs are very beneficial to the environment. When rainwater hits the surfaces of building roofs, it collects chemicals that are on these roofs and carries them across the ground and into bodies of water. Green roofs capture the water in the soil, reducing runoff, and allow it to evaporate or slowly drain and seep into the water table as clean water. Although it is great when a building decides to install a green roof but in order for it to benefit the city, multiple green roofs need to be constructed. Green Roofs can reduce the heat island effect by reducing the amount of pavement for the sun to reflect off of. They can also act as connections between multiple green spaces and can create habitats for insects, plants and birds.

I have heard of various buildings having green roofs, such as Chicago city hall and the Winnipeg Mountain Equipment Co-op but I found a building in BC that I was very surprised to find that had a green roof.  The Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver installed a green roof on the third floor terrace during the first stages of construction. This was to provide nice views for the guests in south facing rooms.   In 1994 the terrace green roof was converted into an herb garden. The chefs in the hotel restaurant get all of the herbs from this garden and it provides appealing views for the guests as well as the surrounding buildings.











Gardens: Lauren Pritchard

30 11 2008

Thursday November 27th we had a guest lecturer. The lecture she gave was cocerning gardens. She discussed many different forms of gardens, more specifically she talked about roof gardens.

20080708 Chicago City Hall Green Roof.JPGA green roof atop Chicago’s City hall.

Roof gardens offer many benefits to a building. In addition to replacing the vegetation it destroyed in the construction of the site, roof gardens also are aesthetically pleasing, they can provide food, habitat, temperature control, and so much more to a space. They are really a beautiful way to give back to the environment.

The guest speaker mentioned that she believed the most effective way of creating more garden roofs would to be to make it mandatory in city planning. Many cities offer incentives or tax breaks to building s who incorporate green roofs into their buildings design. This has proved to be effective in encouraging developers to create green roofs. Germany offers incentives to its developers.   “The highest density of green roofs occurs in Germany, widely considered a leader in green roof research, technology and usage, where it is estimated that 10% of all flat roofs are green.”

Many people choose not to include to incorporate green roofs in their buildings design because they don’t see the benefits, its construction is to expansive, or they just are unaware of green roofs. Canada along wtih America have not really jumped on the green roof band wagon for many of the reasons listed above. Being as we live in Winnipeg, a very cold city many months of the year, many feel that our environment is not suitable for garden roofs, however Chicago is one of the leaders in green roofs, and there climate is not terribly different then ours. So it can be done.
 This is an image of what Chicago wishes the arial view of the city would look like. Imagine having a city where the majority of roofs are green roofs. This is a great site I used in researching garden roofs. This is a Guide to Chicago’s Green Roofing. Very interesting.