March 2021

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Blythwood at Huntington, Toronto, ON. VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver, B.C. M A R C H 2 0 2 1 | 19 Green Roofs & Walls P H OTO G R A P H Y BY G R EG VA N R I EL /CO U RT E SY N E X T L E V EL S TO R M WAT ER M A N AG EM EN T; A RC H I T EK Exciting developments ahead for green roofs and walls By NATALIE BRUCKNER F or an industry that relies on face-to- face interaction, the past year has proven challenging to many in the green roof and wall sector. However, driven by innovation and an under- standing of the need to pivot, the leaders in this industry have taken to new ways to drive the sector forward ... and are reaping the benefits. In what has to be one of the most impactful changes happening of late, the Roofing Contractors Association of BC (RCABC) created a partnership that is working on a program that will seriously put green roofing on the map. In August of 2020, RCABC and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaboratively develop and pilot three new training and certification programs to complement the existing Green Roof Professional (GRP) training program run by GRHC. "We are currently in the process of outlining curricula for specific training modules designed to educate and certify installers, maintenance contrac- tors, and quality assurance observers. This training program will help lay a foundation for establishing best practices for green roofing on the West Coast," says James Klassen, RCABC technical advisor who sits on the advisory committee tasked with develop- ing the curricula. The RCABC has partnered with GRHC to develop these training modules as part of a larger vision – to support existing roofing standards, improve the suc- cess of green roofing in B.C., support municipalities and green roofing bylaws, and to lay the groundwork for a possible future green roof standard. This inno- vative training program has caught the attention of a number of cities across North America. "Many of these cities already have a green roof policy in place, usually because green roofing is understood as a valid tactic for dealing with exces- sive stormwater discharge from flat roofs, but how do you know it was designed and built properly if it hasn't been independently verified?" Klassen adds. "A poorly constructed green roof may die and cease to achieve the objectives of the bylaw. Trained and certified practitioners offer cities more certainty, and will help answer the question of how to ensure successful green roofs." While COVID-19 has indeed thrown a bit of a curveball, RCABC and GRHC are in the process of nailing down job descriptions and hope to pilot the training programs sometime in the late sum- mer/early fall and will be using the RCABC training facility in Langley. Ron Schwenger, founder of Architek who sits on the advisory committee with Klassen, says that this structured and recognized skills, training, and building standards will be a game-changer. However, he adds that one thing is holding the sector back: "Unfortunately, the competitive bid process and an overzealous, value-engineered cul- ture in the construction industry in North America seldom results in best practices or sustainable, long- life cycle installations," he explains. "We have seen this with the leaky-condo building envelope failures in Vancouver. However, some quality contractors have adopted a no-compromise approach to green roofs and green walls because we firmly believe that when these systems perform well, their visible and healthy esthetic are a long-term, positive represen- tation of our company's brand." He adds that the contracting industry is also slow to embrace new trade specialties and that this needs to change moving forward. "The time has come for Living Architecture systems to be treated as unique building components or a specialty that should be designed, quoted, and installed by trades people with specific expertise or Living Architecture skill sets." As an industry leader and early adopter of Living Architecture standards, the team at Architek has been focusing on more complex green roof, green facade, and green wall installations. "In particu- lar, our approach is to look at green roofs and green walls as a contributing component of an integrated site water management plan," Schwenger says. Another member of the committee, Karen Liu, a green roof specialist for Next Level Stormwater Management (NLSM) says in addition to focussing on training standards NLSM is continuing with its commitment to wind testing its products to CSA A123.24 Standard Test Method for Wind Resistance of Modular Vegetated Roof Assembly – the first such in the world. Last year Liu attended the UL Laboratory in Montreal to conduct wind testing on one of NLSM's KNOCKING DOWN BARRIERS 12:07 PM

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