More Green Wall Blogging

Thought I would also share some blog entries I wrote during my time at The Living Wall Company. I certainly enjoy writing about green infrastructure and living architecture.  It is very important to return vegetation to urban environments and restore natural communities in natural environments.

Enjoy!!

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Green Wall Blogging

Green Wall Blogging

I’ve been a little quiet on here lately.  But I have kept myself busy.Green Wall

After about 2 years of being involved with the start-up living wall company, I am pursuing other opportunities in St. Louis (or KC, or beyond). Entry-level opportunities of interest include: environmental scientist or specialist, sustainability coordinator, program coordinator, product manager, environmental educator, renewable energy sales, consulting, landscape architecture, green roof or wall representative, native landscaping representative, marketing/outreach/social media, etc.

Anyway, with my career search ongoing, I’ve been sharing some thoughts on green walls as a blogger with NewProContainers.com.  Their new blog is focused on informing the interiorscaping and interior design industry.  Green walls are a becoming increasingly popular inside and out.

So, here are the entries I’ve generated so far.  Keep in mind the audience is geared towards interiorscapers.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.  Let me know if you have any questions about green walls.

Have a great week!

Up with Green Roofs! It is time, St. Louis.

I had the pleasure of attending a Green Roof Design and Installation workshop last week in Nashville, Tennessee.  This course is for those interested in the green roof industry and Green Roof Professional accreditation.  It was a real treat to have Steven Peck, Founder and President of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, as our instructor.  We were also lucky enough to tour a 4-acre green roof at the Nashville Music City Center!

Nashville Music City Center Green Roof

Although I’m no architect, landscape architect, or engineer, I have a special interest in the living architecture industry.  In fact, I hope to get involved with green roof and living wall projects in the Midwest, and I can’t wait for cities like St. Louis and Kansas City to adopt living architecture incentive programs.  So many cities in North America already have green roof policiesNashville, Tennessee, offers a $10 per square foot incentive for green roofs, which is EXCELLENT considering green roofs can cost $11-50 per square foot!

Both KC and STL have environmental problems associated with urbanization, including major stormwater control problems, and Kansas City has one of the worst Urban Heat Islands  in the country! (About Urban Heat Islands.)  The impacts of climate change may amplify environmental problems already present in these cities.

A green roof policy would incentivize the implementation of green roofs, living walls, and other sustainable green infrastructure.  Why?  A few reasons:

  • Mitigate urban stormwater problemsNative Green Roof at Shaw Nature Reserve
  • Alleviate urban heat island effect
  • Reduce energy costs
  • Mitigate air, water, and soil pollution
  • Increase urban biodiversity (plants, insects, birds, etc.)
  • Beautify the urban jungle
  • Augment urban food production
  • Create green amenities for private consumers
  • Create park space for the general public

The St. Louis region already has green roofs at places like NGRREC in Alton, the St. Louis Zoo, Shaw Nature Reserve, SIUE, Webster University, Washington University in St Louis, Shaw Nature Reserve, just to name a few.

Now, I believe that many companies, organizations, non-profits, and regional government entities already support the concept of green roofs.  Here is a short list of folks I believe would/could/should support and benefit from a St. Louis Metro Green Roof Policy:

I’m sure there are more!!  Let’s go, St. Louis.  It’s time to make St. Louis a more sustainable, healthy, and verdant city!

Green Roof Tour

About me:  I am a LEED Green Associate, and have an M.S. of Environmental Sciences from SIU Edwardsville.  I’ve conducted research on green roofs and living retaining walls during my graduate work at SIUE.  I have also created artistic plant designs and assisted with installations for living wall projects (Pics in My LinkedIn).  I’m currently looking for career opportunities in the region.

What is Living Architecture?

Someone on Twitter recently asked me about living architecture.

So, what is Living Architecture?

Well, what is architecture?  Google tells me that it is the ‘art or practice of designing and constructing buildings.’  By extension, then, living architecture could be defined as the practice of integrating vegetation into the design and construction of the built environment.  Living architecture generally refers to green roofs and green walls.  That is the primary focus of the Living Architecture Monitor magazine.  I suppose the term ‘green infrastructure‘ could also apply to these technologies, which seek to mimic natural systems in an effort to maximize environmental benefits (stormwater control, UHIE reduction, air quality, biodiversity, etc.).

DSC_1172a

I have touched on Living Architecture numerous times in the blog.

Saving Rain for a Dry Day

The Nature of an Urban Jungle

Your Wall Should be Alive

A Green Retaining Wall

Boschert Greenway Living (Retaining) Wall

Living Wall Prezi (Presentation)

Living Architecture is beautiful, useful, and beneficial to human and environmental health.

Living Wall Prezi

I recently experimented with the innovative presentation tool called Prezi.  This is an amazing way to visualize presentations, get the bigger picture, and allow for a less linear look.  This is a presentation I made last week outlining the basics about living walls

“Introduction to Living Walls”

Let me know what you think.  If the embed code didn’t work…view it on Prezi.

Boschert Greenway Living Wall

The Ribbon Cutting for the Boschert Greenway in St. Charles was today.  A living retaining wall (visible from Highway 370), native landscaping, and permeable pavement make this trail stand out as an example of sustainable development and Low Impact Development.  This is part of an effort to build up parks, greenways, and trails by Great Rivers Greenway and promote walking and bicycling.

The wall, with new native plant plugs.  They will soon grow to cover the wall!

Black-eyed Susan already blooming in one section of the retaining wall.

Your wall should be alive!

Some street trees, but many dead-walls.

You’re likely reading this from within the walls of your home or business.  If you are reading this outside, you’re likely not far from a building or any other man-made structure.  People spend 90% of their time inside.  And 82% of the people in the U.S. reside in urban or suburban areas.  Urban areas have become the hub of human activity.  Progress in economy, society, and technology may be partially attributed to the concentration of many minds and working hands in metropolitan areas.

Unfortunately, the way that urban areas have developed has left previously verdant land barren, supplanting comfortable greenscapes with harsh hardscapes.  Urban areas are consequently associated with temperatures measurably different from surrounding areas (the Urban Heat Island Effect); with reduced moisture availability ; with elevated flash flood risk; with poor air, water, and soil quality; and with artificial and ecologically irrelevant landscaping.

All pavement, all the time.

Inside or outside, you are surrounded by pavement, brick, steel, and glass.  You are almost always surrounded by vertical structures.  Inside, walls partition rooms, apartments, offices, firms, etc.  Outside, there are building walls, retaining walls, standalone walls, and fences.  These walls surely have purpose (“A world without walls” sounds like a Dr. Suess book), but they often perform their space-dividing function boringly.  The walls of most rooms you enter are plain and off-white in color.  Blank walls beg for picture frames, calendars and mirrors to cover their mediocrity.  Outside, you are greeted by white picket fences, mildly decorative rock and brick building facades, plastic home siding, and often bland retaining walls that repeatedly remind you and any passerby that you have not escaped the urban jungle.  Your walls are dead.

But what if they weren’t?  What if your walls lived?  (Just don’t expect to fine a heartbeat.)  What if vegetation could make a comeback in the city and revitalize all of the  monotonous vertical spaces?

The truth is, it is now possible to vegetate all kinds of urban spaces.  Just as green roofs have begun to grow on homes and businesses in Germany, Japan, the United States, and all over the world, the green wall is emerging as another innovative answer to urban woes.

The beginning of a green facade!

As technology has progressed, green walls have diversified into two major categories–green facades and living walls.  Facades use vines or ivy that climb a wall directly (though some argue that rootlets can damage walls) or indirectly (using a trellis or cable system).  Living walls generally use vegetation and media in a modular setup.  Living walls can adorn interior walls as living art, as air purifiers, and as productivity and mood enhancers.  Living walls can adorn exterior walls as massive building coverings, as plantable retaining walls (mentioned in a previous post), and even as standalone filtration structures (like the Folkewall).  Green fences can act as ivy-covered privacy screens.  Green walls can even sustain food-producing plants to supplement community gardens!

So, you have options when it comes to softening your urban jungle.  Living walls can moderate temperature, stormwater, wind, noise, and mood.  Living walls can provide ecological benefits.  Living walls can provide food.  Your walls can be alive!

It's alive!

Learn more about Living Walls HERE or join the LinkedIn group to join the conversation!.