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Green roofs and walls are a dynamic, proven and highly public approach to greening federal buildings. These technologies also provide many additional benefits to the community as a whole -- from green jobs to improved air quality and stormwater management. Washington, D.C. continues to be an epicenter of green roof and wall project and policy development, with the federal and DC governments exercising progressive leadership.

A Time for Green Infrastructure Policy

By Steven Peck and Damon van der Linde


 


Green roofs and walls are a dynamic, proven and highly public approach to greening federal buildings. These technologies also provide many additional benefits to the community as a whole — from green jobs to improved air quality and stormwater management. Washington, D.C. continues to be an epicenter of green roof and wall project and policy development, with the federal and DC governments exercising progressive leadership.


“With more than 100 green roofs installed and more than 75 LEED buildings certified, the District is demonstrating how a model green city should look and perform, and is ensuring a greener, cleaner, more sustainable city, for our residents and wildlife,” said Hamid Karimi, deputy director, District Department of the Environment for the District of Columbia.


The D.C. government has two green roof rebate programs: one for any kind of roof under 4,000 square feet that offers $5 per square foot and a per-project maximum of $20,000; and a second program for roof retrofits on existing buildings over 4,000 square feet, which offers $7 per square foot and does not have a maximum amount.


Washington, D.C. is also a hub for national green infrastructure initiatives. On October 5, 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. The Executive Order requires federal agencies to set greenhouse gas reduction targets, increase energy efficiency, reduce fossil fuel consumption, conserve water, reduce waste, support sustainable planning, and leverage federal purchasing power to promote environmentally responsible products and technologies.


The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is starting its own green revolution with an integrated green roof strategy, and already has more than one million square feet of green roofs installed.


“We are engaged in the most far-reaching set of building improvements since the Great Depression, and every one of the nearly 300 projects is designed to improve not just building performance, but organizational, human performance,” said Kevin Kampschroer, director, Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings, U.S. General Services Administration.


In support of this strong demand for both local and federal green roof and wall initiatives, from April 11-12, the 2011 Living Architecture Regional Symposium will be held in Washington, D.C. The Regional Symposium will be hosted by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the North American Green Roofs and Wall industry association, in partnership with D.C. Greenworks, the General Services Administration (GSA), the Landscape Architecture Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Government of the District of Columbia.


“The District of Columbia is thrilled to co-host the 2011 Living Architecture Regional Symposium for the Mid-Atlantic Region. As the as the nation’s capitol, we strive to lead in the widespread adoption of green practices such as green roofs and green walls,” said Karimi.


The Regional Symposium will highlight best practices associated with the design, installation, and maintenance of green roofs and walls, and share new research and evaluation tools. The event will focus on deriving the maximum economic performance from these technologies and explore their enormous and largely untapped green job potential. Expert speakers will be combined with a one-day trade show featuring the latest green roof and wall products and services, and a demonstration green roof will be built on the trade show floor.


The second day of the Regional Symposium will feature training for Green Roof Professional (GRP) accreditation and ongoing professional development. GRP accreditation also provides continuing education credits for AIA, ASLA, APA, LEED and RCI. Leading-edge courses will be presented, including Urban Rooftop Food Production, and the launch of the half-day Advanced Maintenance course. An educational seminar in Integrated Site and Water Management will also be offered, with the goal of leveraging additional government and public awareness by providing technical and economic information on the design and performance of a fully integrated site and building water management system based on the “Net Zero Water” concept. The seminar was developed by committee members from GRHC and the American Society of Irrigation Consultants.


Three unique tours of green roofs will showcase the more than 100 roofs currently installed in the Washington, D.C. area. The tours are an opportunity to get an up-close look at some green roofs that are usually closed to the public.


For more information about the 2011 Living Architecture Regional Symposium in Washington, D.C., visit http://wdc.greenroofs.org


Steven Peck is the founder and president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), a membership-based industry association developing the green (vegetative) roof and wall industry in North America. GRHC’s mission is to increase the awareness of the economic, social and environmental benefits of green roofs and green walls, and other forms of living architecture through education, advocacy, professional development and celebrations of excellence. Visit www.greenroofs.org for more information.


Damon van der Linde is the communications manager at Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.

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