When I first started working as an architectural intern in Rockford, Illinois, Larry, the curmudgeonly head draftsman loved teasing me about my main job of drawing toilet rooms. He didn’t let me say ‘bathroom’, insisting that I say ‘toilet’. He was right – we were working on commercial toilet rooms and nobody was taking baths there…well, it’s been a lot of years, and now I’ve got a lot to say about toilets – Do you want your toilet in a separate room? Do you like an elongated bowl for comfort? What do you think of the water-saving dual-flush models? Do you have young sons? Discussing the toilet still isn’t my favorite part of the bath design process, but it’s important, because habits and details make all the difference in a successful bathroom. In the last greenbridge blog, we wrote about kitchen design and renovation. This month the focus is on bathrooms.

Guide-to-modern-bathrooms

The Bathroom. What does yours mean to you? Often the first room you enter after waking, it can set the tone for the day. For many, their master bath is a calming, restorative place to get away, an oasis. A powder room can be a showplace for guests. The hall bath can be a flurry of kid activity, requiring organization and compartmentalization. For some of us, our bath is a frustration. Common problems are outdated or failing fixtures, inadequate lighting, old finishes that are difficult to keep clean, and poor layout and storage.

Although it is usually one of the smallest rooms in the home, the renovation of a bathroom can be surprisingly complex and costly. A bathroom renovation usually requires the several skilled trades during construction – carpenter, electrician, plumber and heating contractor. Some bath renovations will also include custom cabinetry and special tile or stone installations. To keep costs in line, we offer rough design and cost estimates prior to undertaking full design work on a bathroom. The earliest phase in the design process is the best time to scale back if budget requires. Why spend time effort and money on a design that will not be feasible for you and your family?

In order to create a cost estimate and design, we ask a lot of our clients early in the project. As we discussed in other blog posts, while we are measuring and drawing the existing conditions, we assign our clients the task of thinking about their personal goals for the rooms that are included in the project. We then meet with them to review their goals for the space. What follows is a summary of the items covered for a bathroom renovation:

Getting Started

Start tagging those favorite online bathroom images! Pull out all those clipping or copies of bathrooms you’ve been enjoying in the magazines and newspapers. (We have great magazines and books to lend if you haven’t been doing this yet.) Make a quick note on each describing what you like about that bathroom. (example – ‘great colors’ or ‘beautiful tub’ ) These notes are invaluable for the designer who will pull these items together for you.

Before our initial design meeting, we’ll ask that you give some thoughts to the items below – again, you don’t need to have an answer of even a strong feeling about each item, but if you do, we want to be sure we’re including those items that are important to you.

kohler-yin-yang-wading-pool-lavatory

The ‘Yin-Yang Wading Pool’ sink by Kohler

ErinAdams_Mosaic_InterlockingCircles

Erin Adams mosaic tile by Ann Sacks

General Feeling

What words describe your dream bathroom? Soothing, tranquil, cool, cozy, a retreat, huge, modern, old-fashioned?

Layout

· How does your bath work for you now? If it doesn’t work so well for you, what have you thought about as a solution? Is there an opportunity to enlarge the room into part of an adjacent space?

· Are there any items in the existing bathroom that can be reused such as cabinetry, lighting or plumbing? For the items not being reused, we donate or recycle the items when possible.

· Do you have good natural light and ventilation in the room? Is there an opportunity to add more if necessary?

Fixtures and controls

· List the plumbing items: sink, toilet, tub and/or shower. Do you prefer separate sinks? Choose the basic style, for instance, pedestal sink or vanity, a freestanding tub or one that is mounted in a tub deck.

· Think about the shape and finish of the controls.

· Use low-flow faucets and low-flow or dual-flush toilets

· Consider a tankless hot water heater.

Floors and Walls

· What floor and wall materials will give you the look and feel you’re after? Can these materials be used to create patterns, and do you want to use them that way?

· Have you considered an in-floor heating system?

· Use low VOC paint and wood finishes.

· Consider eco-friendly finishes – wood flooring, recycled content ceramic tile, stone tile, or exposed concrete. Natural linoleum is made from natural materials can be finished in a range of colors, and can be installed without the use of adhesives.

Storage

· Will you have a vanity, and if so, what will be stored there?

· What other storage or display needs do you have in the room?

· What styles and finishes of cabinetry do you prefer?

· Make sure that cabinetry built with plywood (which often contains an urea formaldehyde glue which can cause a range of health issues) is properly sealed before entering your home. Better yet, use solid wood cabinetry and solid surface countertops to avoid the use of plywood.

Lighting Fixtures

· You’ll need lighting at the mirror(s) and some general light from overhead fixtures.

· Do you read or shave in the shower?

· While you are considering light, think about dimming and control options.

· Use halogen and LED lighting for light quality and energy efficiency.

Window treatments

Consider privacy needs, style, color and pattern (and contact lmk interiors ltd!)

Accessories

Mirrors, towel bars, tissue holders, soap dishes, and robe hooks are useful items with decorative importance. Think about size, style, finish, practicality and ease of cleaning.

Air Quality

· Install an exhaust fan that properly vents to the exterior.

· Plants improve the air quality and are an attractive balance to the otherwise hard surfaces in the room.

bathroom-green

Greening the Process

The early planning stage is the best time to consider opportunities to ‘green it up’, or to make selections or decisions that will improve the environmental impact and energy and water use for the space. In addition to some of the considerations noted above, the following are sustainable practices and detailing we include as standard in our renovation projects:

· A well-designed and ‘timeless’ space won’t need to be renovated again, saving energy and resources for the future.

· A bathroom renovation usually involves demolition of the wall surfaces – this is a great opportunity to not only improve the wall, ceiling and floor insulation, but to also better insulate all plumbing and heating pipes ductwork.

· Sealing leaks in doors, windows, plumbing, ducting, and electrical wire, and penetrations through exterior walls, floors, ceilings and soffits over cabinets will save additional energy.

A bathroom renovation involves a lot of planning and decision-making. At GreenBridge Architects and Riverview Builders, we work with you to ensure that the process is a smooth one and that it is ultimately rewarding for you and your family.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss your upcoming project, or to chat about what your bathroom means to you, I’ll even talk about your toilet!  Next month’s blog will take on the home offices.

juli@greenbridgearchitects.com  978.518.2811

 pizza

I make a GREAT pizza, and love every minute of the cooking process. Kneading the dough and waiting for it to rise, while the oven and baking stone heat up…some of my favorite memories in my home include making pizza with one of both of our boys hanging out with me, sketching or chatting away, while I work that dough.

The Kitchen! One of the most central spaces to our lives, the room that provides sustenance and satiation to us and our family, a place where the cook’s creations come to life, and the focus point of most of our entertaining, whether we like it or not!  A kitchen renovation grounded in the creation of a beautiful environment and on the practical efficiency of the layout and selections will add enormous value to quality of life in the home. In recent greenbridge blogs we’ve talked about big picture design and master planning; once those items are in place, it’s time to start focusing on the spaces themselves, starting with the kitchen.

modern

image: www.insideview.ie

Greenbridge_2_7

image: greenbridge architects

allkit

image: www.hometogether.net

At GreenBridge Architects or at our partner design-build company Riverview Builders, we ask a lot of our clients early in the kitchen renovation project. While we are measuring and drawing the existing conditions, we assign our clients the task of thinking about their personal goals for their kitchen. We then meet with them to review their goals for the space. What follows is a summary of the items covered in a kitchen renovation:

Getting Started

Pull out all those clipping or copies of kitchens you’ve been enjoying in the magazines and newspapers, or even online. (We have great magazines and books to lend if you haven’t been doing this yet.) Make a quick note on each describing what you like about that kitchen. (example – ‘love this floor’ or ‘great light’ ) These notes are invaluable for the designer who will pull these items together for you. Don’t worry if there are conflicts or if you aren’t sure about some items – your architect or designer is there to help you. We love a million questions at this stage!

Before our initial design meeting, we’ll ask that you give some thoughts to the items below – again, you don’t need to have an answer of even a strong feeling about each item, but if you do, we want to be sure we’re including those items that are important to you.

General Feeling

What words describe your dream kitchen? Historic, country, modern, charming, warm, cool and clean?

Layout

How does your kitchen work for you now? If it doesn’t work so well for you, what have you thought about as a solution?

Color

Even though color can be selected far down the road, early design is a great time to consider a color palette – that palette may drive some of the big selections, like appliances, countertops and flooring.

Cabinets and countertops

What style and materials do you like? What color? Will they be all alike, or will you vary the style and color around the room? Will your appliances have door panels to match the cabinetry? What style of knobs will you use?

Appliances

What style and finish to do like? Will you have any appliances in addition to the major appliances (stove, refrigerator and dishwasher)? Will you install door panels to match your cabinets?

Sinks and faucets

How many sinks do you need? Have you chosen the size, style, and material for each? Do they work with your countertop? Does the faucet complement your look and work the way you like? Selecting low-flow faucets is an imperceptible water-saver.

Floor

What material will give you the look you’re after? Can it be laid in a pattern and do you wish to use it that way? Will it be comfortable to stand on and easy to clean?

Lighting Fixtures

Will you use decorative or unobtrusive fixtures, or a mix? Consider the color, finish and size of whatever you choose as well as the style. Will they take energy-efficient bulbs? Will they work with dimmers?

Walls

Do you prefer paint or wallpaper, or have some other treatment in mind? Will you use tile for backsplashes or wainscoting?

Window treatments

Use them for privacy or to complete your look. If they’re near the stove or a sink, keep them simple and easy to clean.

natural%20home

image: www.thekitchendesigner.org

Greening the Process

The early planning stage is the best time to consider opportunities to ‘green it up’, or to make selections or decisions that will improve the environmental impact and energy and water use for the space. Items to consider when renovating a kitchen include:

In General –sustainable items included as part of our standard practices and detailing:

· A well-designed and ‘timeless’ space won’t need to be renovated again, saving energy and resources for the future.

· A kitchen renovation usually involves demolition of the wall surfaces – this is a great opportunity to not only improve the wall, ceiling and floor insulation, but to also better insulate all plumbing and heating pipes ductwork.

· Sealing leaks in doors, windows, plumbing, ducting, and electrical wire, and penetrations through exterior walls, floors, ceilings and soffits over cabinets will save additional energy.

· Insure air quality by proper ventilation at the stove or cooktop.

Sustainable opportunities to think about while making selections:

· Are there any items in the kitchen that can be reused such as cabinetry or appliances? For the items not being reused, we donate or recycle the items when possible.

· Use low-flow faucets for water savings and improve water quality by adding a carbon filter to the faucet

· Shop for Energy Star rated appliances.

· Use halogen and LED lighting for light quality and energy efficiency.

· Make sure that cabinetry built with plywood (which often contains a urea formaldehyde glue which can cause a range of health issues) is properly sealed before entering your home. Better yet, use solid wood cabinetry and solid surface countertops to avoid the use of plywood.

· Use low VOC paint and wood finishes.

· Wood flooring, recycled content ceramic tile, stone tile, or exposed concrete are desirable surfaces. Natural linoleum is made from natural materials can be finished in a range of colors, and can be installed without the use of adhesives.

A kitchen renovation is life-changing. The process is an exciting one, filled with many decisions, each having impact on achieving your initial goals for the space. At GreenBridge Architects and at Riverview Builders, we are passionate about getting you there, by providing all design work, helping with selections, and by providing coordination and guidance through what can be a challenging, but enormously rewarding process.

We’d love to talk with you about your upcoming kitchen project, even if it looks far down the road. We can provide an initial design and cost estimation to help you launch your dream kitchen.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss your upcoming project, or to chat about your favorite kitchens and kitchen memories, or about New England pizza.  Next month’s blog will take on the ultra-important bathroom renovation!

www.greenbridgearchitects.com 978.518.2811

www.riverview-builders.com 978.518.1863

Most of us have a long list of items that we want to see for our home.  I’ve found that most of our clients want to save energy costs, by adding insulation or upgrading their homes’ mechanicals, but they really need their new mudroom first, and the gutters fixed….. 

‘Green Design’ and ‘Sustainability’ are terms that are everywhere these days, and their immediate value to our own homes isn’t obvious, especially when other problems are more glaring – no storage, an ugly kitchen, a messy playroom.  Making changes to reduce energy use is real and translates to savings for you and the homeowner, but beautiful design and function is just as important.  If your house works well for you and is beautiful, you will love it – you’ll stay there and take care of it.  If it is well-detailed and built well, it will last for many years.  Your home won’t need to be torn down and rebuilt, because it will be worth keeping.  That’s green!

patio

One of our projects, completed earlier this year, a renovation and addition to a 1630 home in Newburyport.

Over the past year, we have been helping our clients with a cost-effective way to organize and plan for upgrades to their homes, by creating Master Plans.  Master Planning, or creating a single design that incorporates current and future projects, gives our clients drawings that can be used for cost-estimating as they decide to move forward with individual projects. The Master Plan is also an important tool that insures that each project is moving them toward their desired goal and that today’s construction won’t have to be rebuilt or removed tomorrow.

A recent example of our Master Planning work was completed for an ‘New Englander’ home in Newburyport.  Our clients for this project are a young couple with one young child and another baby on the way.  They have strong roots in the home (one of them grew up there) and plan to live there for the long term. 

 plan

The Master Plan for their home includes a new Kitchen and Mudroom on the first floor, an expanded Master Bedroom Suite on the second floor, an ‘au pair’ suite on the lower level, and the renovation of their garage to a patio-side ‘Cabana’.  Our schematic or design drawings consist of floor plans, exterior elevations, and a model. 

With our partner company, Riverview Builders, we are able to provide cost-estimates and quality construction for all or portions of the work, providing complete architectural and construction services.

For our Newburyport clients, their greatest need right now is their 2nd Floor Hall Bath – we’re excited to be starting with that project early next year.

We would love to talk to you about your home and where it will be in a hundred years – feel free to contact us with any questions or to find out more about this process.  Happy New Year!!!!!!

Juli MacDonald, AIA, LEED-AP

info@greenbridgearchitects.com

www.greenbridgearchitects.com

As we head into the holidays, a lot of us start planning for next year’s home renovations.  Options for making changes to your home include working directly with an architect or designer, hiring a builder for those smaller projects that don’t require design or drawings, or a Design-Build option.  Design-Build is a term you’ve probably heard before, but may not be clear on  exactly what it means.  The Design-Build process combines the work of architectural design and construction, with one company having oversight over the entire project. The benefits include one-stop shopping, attention to the budget from the initial phases of design, and reduced project schedule.

I have always been an advocate of the process because of the benefits  it gives the homeowner and the design-build team.  Now with GreenBridge’s partnership with Riverview Builders, we are able to offer Design-Build services to our clients.  We want to get the word out on why your choosing this process with GreenBridge/Riverview makes great sense for your home.

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Riverview Builders’ complete exterior restoration project of a home in Sudbury nears completion

A Team Committed to You

As architects, we work closely with you as we develop the design to include your dreams and vision while taking great care to understand and incorporate your home’s existing style and attributes. As builders, we bring superior project management, client-centered responsiveness and technical ability throughout the project, from early cost-estimation through your move-in date.

Throughout the project we will be your single contact. We will handle design and design revisions, project feedback, budgeting, permitting, construction issues, change orders, and billing. Dealing with only one entity simplifies your responsibilities, improves communication and gives you peace of mind – allowing you to enjoy the transformation of your home.

Constructability/Efficiency

We are dedicated to constantly educating ourselves on both the most current and traditional methods of design and construction. We are committed to sustainability in our projects and make use of natural passive methods of design as well as the practical application of new technologies and materials. Inherent in the design/build process is early involvement of the builder during design. Including the builder’s knowledge early into design fosters creative, cost-effective, and practical design and construction solutions.

Establish and Reduce Cost

A design-build model allows us to establish and agree to a fixed construction cost and scope of work early on in the project. Early knowledge of construction costs help us to design the project that you want that fits in your stated budget. As the design-builder, we have control over the design, scope and budget, so we give you clear cost and schedule adjustments for any changes you consider or make during the project.

Establish and Reduce Schedule

A design-build model also allows us to establish and agree to a fixed schedule of work early on in the project. An integrated design and building entity eliminates time otherwise required for the contractor and designer to coordinate their efforts and understanding of the project. In addition, the design-build process reduces the construction schedule because it allows us to work on several facets of your project at the same time. For instance, while the building permit is being approved, we can be working on the interior design and assisting you to pick out doors, windows, and appliances. We are also able to anticipate and order items with long lead-times.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.  Have a wonderful and flavor-filled Thanksgiving!!! – Juli

juli@greenbridgearchitects.com

Historically Green

September 9, 2009

As an architect, I approach any renovation or alteration to historic properties with deep respect for the occupants, designers and builders before me. The fact that historical buildings still exist and are useful is a testimony to their design and construction.   Maintaining and improving these building is the ‘greenest’ construction option – when our work makes or keeps them viable and useful, we aren’t creating waste through demolition, and we aren’t using valuable resources and energy to create a replacement. Most of all, it connects us to our past.

Our family vacation this year was to one of my favorite places, New York’s Hudson River Valley, where there are some of the finest homes in America dating from the early settlers in the 17th century, to the estates of the landed gentry of the 18th century, to the summer mansions of the 19th century moguls of industry. My husband and I have great memories of traveling through the area in years past, sauntering around these historic properties and enjoying the buildings and their histories.  This year was different, with an 8 year old and 4 year old in tow, we had to make concessions to visit the houses: one of us would visit a property while the other would hang out with the kids or watch a movie with them in the car. I was lucky and got to spend the time span of a whole movie on the grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park.

When visiting grand homes, I love to check out the ‘back-of-the-house’ areas – the kitchen, servant’s quarters, carriage houses, garden buildings. In these areas, I feel more able to see how life was lived on the property, and I am often struck by the attention to detail and craftsmanship found in even the most unimportant of spaces. The Vanderbilt Mansion and grounds have great examples of this type of construction.

These photos are of one of the carriage houses – intricately carved details and masonry are glorious:

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These photos are of one of several small garden structures in the formal gardens:

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It is true that these ultra-wealthy owners could do what they wanted and it was easy for them to spare no expense. But being in these spaces and seeing their beauty, I appreciate that the money was well spent, and that the craftsmen building these masterpieces walked away proud of their creations. 

GreenBridge Architects was honored to be the architect for a renovation and addition to a Newburyport home constructed in 1630.  These last photos are of the just completed project (construction by Henry Becker Construction):

Greenbridge_2_32s Greenbridge_2_33s Greenbridge_2_3s Greenbridge_2_24s

It was wonderful to see our clients moved in and using the much-improved spaces. The older parts of the home have been restored and freshened-up with careful improvements, and the addition and renovated newer sections of the home work seamlessly with the antique home and with our client’s modern lifestyles. This 17th century home now has a gracious entry foyer, a master bath, a chef’s kitchen, and is super-insulated with energy efficient mechanical systems. We hope that our ‘green’ piece of the home’s history will ensure that it is valued and cared-for for at least another two or three centuries!  If you would like more information on this project or would like to discuss an upcoming project, contact me at juli@greenbridgearchitects.com.

This month, I met with a friend to discuss the fit-out of a relatively non-descript office space.  What the space lacks in amenities, it makes up for in potential, with planned windows opening to views of historic Newburyport in one direction and an expanse of marshland in the other.  Adjacent to this space is a large flat roof that is nearly at the same height as the office’s floor -a great opportunity for a roof garden or a green roof.

Green roofs, also called living or planted roofs, are systems of living plants and vegetation installed on an existing or new structure.  Popular in Europe for decades, the technology has seen continued improvement, making green roofs available in and appropriate for nearly all climates and areas of the United States, even in New England!

 chicago city hall2

Chicago City Hall (photo by Roofscapes)

I relocated to the east coast from Chicago in 2002, just as the greening of the city was taking off.  The then and still-reigning king of Chicago, Mayor Daley, was inspired by a trip to Germany in the late 90’s.  The rest is Chicago green building (and green roof) history – In 2001, the first green roof in Chicago was installed on City Hall.  Mayor Daley and the city’s efforts have been successful through mandates and incentives for green roofs and other green building features on public buildings and new developments that receive money from the city.  Chicago now boasts more than 600 green roofs, or 560,000sf of green roof – my favorite view over martinis from the Signature Room in the Hancock Tower will never be the same!

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Holyoke College, Holyoke, MA (photo by Roofscapes) 

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Boston Children’s Museum (photo by BCM)

As part of my research for this project, I sought local experts.  Through Roofscapes,  a green roofing product manufacturer, I made contact with two Massachusetts local green roof design/builders:  Apex Green Roofs in Somerville and Earth Our Only Home in Boston.  Both have vast experience in the construction of public/commercial and residential green roofs.  Their websites offer loads of information about green roofs and photos of their work – we’re happy to have them as local resources.

Green Roofs – Some Basics:

I found clear and concise information on green roofs from Toolbase Design and Construction Guide.  The following detailed descriptions are mostly gleaned from that site.  I’ve also included other useful links at the bottom of the post.

What are the Benefits?

  • The added mass and thermal resistance of green roofs reduces the heating and cooling loads of the building. These systems reduce the ambient temperature around the roof, decreasing the building’s urban heat island effect; reduce the ambient temperature of the roof’s surface; and slow the transfer of heat into the building, reducing cooling costs. They also provide added insulation to the roof structure, reducing heating requirements in the winter.
  • Green roofs reduce stormwater runoff by absorbing and retaining the water in the soil medium for plant growth. The plants can filter pollutants and carbon dioxide from the air and rain water. These systems reduce rooftop temperatures and can reduce air and noise pollution. They also serve as living habitats for birds and other wildlife.
  • Vegetation protects the roof from extreme temperatures, ultraviolet radiation, and harsh weather conditions, resulting in a longer lasting roof system.

axon

Image by e-roofing.com

 

What are the components of a green roof?

All green roof systems consist of four basic components: a waterproofing layer, a drainage layer, a growing medium, and vegetation. Some green roofs also include root retention and irrigation systems, but these are not essential.   There is a wide variety of materials used for each component of the green roof system, depending on the chosen plants, type of system employed, climate, and underlying structure.

  • Waterproofing Layer – The waterproofing membrane is a critical component of the system and should include a root barrier to ensure the underlying roof surface is not compromised. If the weatherproofing material is not root-resistant, an additional layer must be applied to serve this purpose.
  • Drainage Layer A drainage layer is required to adequately distribute water and prevent pooling. To minimize the weight of the system, drainage layers are often made from plastic or rubber, but may also be made of gravel or clay. The drainage layer may or may not include filter media to ensure aeration.
  • Growing Medium – Growing mediums include soils, peat and other organic materials, gravel, and other aggregates
  • Vegetation – Plants used in green roof applications must be easy to maintain and tolerant of extreme weather conditions including heat, freezing, and drought, and must have relatively shallow, fibrous root systems. The plants should also be resistant to diseases and insects, and not generate airborne seeds in order to protect surrounding plantings. Climate-appropriate succulents, mosses, and grasses are often best suited for extensive green roof systems. These types of plants are available in a variety of colors, in both deciduous and evergreen options. Many nurseries throughout the country specialize in vegetation for green roofs.

What are the types of Green Roofs?

Green roof systems are often broken down into two types—extensive and intensive systems.

Extensive systems:

  • Consist of low-lying plants such as succulents, mosses, and grasses
  • require relatively thin layers of soil (1-6 inches), and plants usually produce a few inches of foliage.
  • weigh 10-50 pounds per square foot on average
  • typically accessible only for routine maintenance
  • most common for residential applications

Intensive systems:

  • feature deeper soil and can support larger plants including crops, shrubs, and trees
  • harder to maintain, depending on the plants used
  • weigh from 80 to more than 120 pounds per square foot
  • typically designed to be accessible to building inhabitants for relaxation and/or harvesting

How difficult are they to install?

Green roof systems can be implemented in new and existing construction. The roof’s structure must be carefully considered to accommodate the additional loads. Roofs do not need to be flat to support green roof systems, but different systems have varying pitch recommendations and limitations, which should be considered during the design phase. The systems also require selection of appropriate plantings for the climatic region. Flood testing of the roof membrane should also be conducted prior to placement of the green roof system.

What are the costs?

Costs for research, design, and materials of the green roof system and structural support are higher than a conventional roofing system. Extensive systems can cost as little as $7 a square foot, though ranges tend to be $10-15 for extensive, and $15-25 per square foot for intensive systems.

There will be some additional costs involved with maintaining the roof top plantings, but overall maintenance of the roofing membrane will be reduced. Since planted roof systems increase the life-span of the roof, repairs and replacement should be minimized.

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If you have any additional local information on green roofs or want to talk about possibilities for your project, I’d love to hear from you!  juli@greenbridgearchitects.com

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Some useful links:

Roofscapes

Toolbase Design and Construction Guide

Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council – resource for all aspects of green roofs

The Green Roof Industry Resource Portal

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, Green Roof Industry Association

Local design/builders:

Earth Our Only Home 

Apex Green Roofs 

In May of 2008, as part of our involvement in the Seacoast Green Building Group, we developed GreenBridge’s list of our favorite green building websites – like a great bookstore’s referral cards, we included our comments on the sites and why we find them outstanding.  We just updated the post so that the name can remain accurate.  Enjoy!!

Local Green Supplies and Materials Donation Center:

Boston Building Materials Co-op

Boston Building Materials Co-op – a non-for-profit consumer co-op that is open to the public.  They provide high quality materials at a reasonable cost and work to teach people how to maintain and improve their homes.  BBMC sells products represented by the following categories:  window repair, kitchen and bath, windows and doors, storm products, weatherization and green products.  They offer advice and information on their products and home maintenance and energy-savings.  They also resell donated and recycled building products.

Local Green Supplies and Valuable Information on Green Building and Renovation:

SEA Solar Store

Seacoast Energy Alternatives in Dover, NH.  SEA is a retail store that offers information and products geared to conserve energy, save money and improve environmental impact.  The SEA website is also a great resource for up-to-date and local information on renewable energy.

Green Depot

This site offers information on green products for the home and landscape, assistance with ‘greening’ a project, information on national building standards and advice from ‘ask the experts’ .  Green Depot has a store in Stoneham, MA.   

Research, Design and Specification for Remodeling Projects:

Tool Base Resources

ToolBase Service is provided by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center with funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.   ToolBase Service offers information about selected innovative products and processes that can help us build or remodel homes at lower cost, with higher quality and/or energy efficiency, and/or that are safer.  The above link to ToolBase Services resources page offers product descriptions, design & construction guides, performance reports, case studies and other resources in useful way for builders and designers. 

Green Building Advisor 

The Green Building Advisor is part of Building Green, an independent publishing company committed to bringing their members accurate, unbiased and timely green design information.  The GBA is focused on residential and small commerical buildings only.  It is a valuable resource for tips on any kind or size of construction or renovation project you are taking on.  The site is also valuable for product information and detailing for construction documents.  There is a fee for full access to the site – I find it worth it and go to the site at least 4-5 times a week.

Green Home Guide

The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Green Home Guide offers a wealth of information including webinars on what makes a home green, green home standards, green resources, and green living.

greening your home and life:

Low Impact Living

This user-friendly site offers a wealth of information on products and providers as well as environmental impact calulators so you can see how your choices affect the environment.  Low Impact Living is a great resource for both those who are ‘deep green’ and for those who have no idea where to start!

H2ouse

This innovative site offers water consumption calculators for the home and office and options for reducing consumption.

Other great weblink pages:

Database of Energy Credits

Database of state incentives for ‘renewables and efficiencies’ – with a link to available federal incentives

Energy Star Homes Links

Energy Star Homes weblinks – includes voluminous links on green building, green energy and climate change and green products.

Green Home Guides Product Directory

U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) recommended green product directories.

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