Recent stories about Projects In Place:
FARM COMING TO DTES, Kristen Thompson, Oct. 26th, 2009
Green roof funded by grant
Kim Davis, Special to the Sun
‘When I take my 18-month-old son for a walk I want him to see an example of this type of technology in our neighbourhood.”
The speaker is landscape designer Bryce Gauthier, the technology a green roof he is helping to install on a commercial building in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood. “I want him to see that there are things we can all do that go beyond high-efficiency light bulbs and electric cars.”
Gauthier is director of a new organization, Projects in Place Society. Its purpose is the promotion of innovations in ideas and technologies by the at-no-cost provision of design and technical expertise to people wanting to demonstrate environmental stewardship.
The green roof that is its current project will be installed today, atop Radha Yoga & Eatery on Main Street. Projects in Place permits people who could not otherwise afford ”green’ expertise to work with experts.
”People sometimes look at a budget and think, ‘we can afford the product, but there is no way we can afford everything else that goes with it,’ ” Gauthier comments.
The new roof is part of a renovation which was funded by a green building grant’ from Vancity and the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia. Xero Flor, a German supplier of green roofs, provided the Radha roof at a discounted price. Projects in Place is providing installation for a nominal fee. Gauther estimated that the Radha roof will cost about 40 per cent of what it would normally cost.
Projects in Place encourages anyone who wants to build a better, more sustainable community and/or implement green technologies to contact the society. There is a stipulation: any project proposed needs to provide some sort of community good. Sound a bit vague? Gauthier says that is on purpose, as it allows the group to accept projects on a case-by-case basis. While Projects in Place focuses on environmental awareness, “It is not strictly environmental,” says Gauthier. “It is about making places better.”
As part of their commitment to education and increasing awareness, society members require clients to host a neighbourhood event. At Radha, a ”Green Roof Raising” event has been scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon.
“Anyone can sign up to participate in the installations and to learn how the process works,” Gauthier says. “There will also be information at the bottom level and on the restaurant level about all the benefits of green roofs.”
The society’s clients are not the only ones benefiting from the services. Gauthier says society members are also getting an opportunity to pool their knowledge and bring projects together much more quickly than they would at their day jobs.
“As a designer, getting something built right away is a huge incentive,” he says. Many commercial projects can take years to bring to fruition. This is particularly true for landscaping, where designers can sometimes wait a career lifetime for a project’s vegetation to mature into what they envisioned.
“Doing these things with people who have an incentive, and need it done right away, is incredibly gratifying,” says Gauthier.
The projects also provide valuable, hands-on experience for students like those enrolled in Gauthier’s B.C. Institute of Technology green roof course and young professionals, many of whom struggle with underemployment as a result of the economic downturn.
“Solutions [to environmental challenges] are achievable in small, incremental ways,” Gauthier says.
“The technology is there, the desire is there. We just have to find a way to bridge that.”
“Our community wants to do a lot for the environment,” says Cynthia Low of the Britannia Community Services Centre Society in Vancouver, “but it is about coming together to create those openings.”
One of Britannia’s latest endeavours is to help make a broader range of recycling more accessible to small businesses and individuals. Working with Victoria-based Pacific Mobile Recycling, which services 10 recycling depots in Greater Victoria and one in North Vancouver, Britannia plans to set up a drop-off centre that would satisfy even the keenest of recyclers.
From CDs and toothbrushes, to Styrofoam and bubble wrap, for those tired of having their recycling fantasies dashed by their curbside blue box prohibitions, the Britannia outlet could prove a dream come true.
“The idea is to encourage not only residents, but also businesses,” says Low.
Unlike large organizations where shear volume justifies having a dedicated pickup, many smaller businesses see recycling (beyond the blue box) as too expensive. The modest, monthly fee for Pacific Mobile Recycling’s business services, however, would make it considerably more accessible. By diverting more to recycling, business can not only decrease the amount of garbage they are creating, but as a result reduce how often they need to have their garbage bin serviced.
Jose Simas of Pacific Mobile Recycling says that while people were initially not used to paying for recycling, more and more people now understand and appreciate that it is a costly business, and that recyclers have to pay to get the materials they collect processed.
Simas says an additional incentive for clients of their services is knowing that 20 per cent of the money collected goes back to the community organization hosting the service. Low of the Britannia organization believes that if the infrastructure isn’t there to support the environmental practices we want to engage in (i.e., more comprehensive recycling), then as a community we need to create it for ourselves.
The first Britannia event will occur on Oct. 17, from 9 a.m. to noon. The “depot” address is 1661 Napier St. Both Projects in Place and the Recycling Depot Both rely on volunteers: anyone interested in getting involved should visit the following Internet sites:
Kim Davis is a Vancouver environmental affairs consultant. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
© The Vancouver Sun 2009
Copyright © 2009 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.
CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.
Group raising ‘green roof’ awareness
Sandra Thomas, Vancouver Courier
Published: Friday, September 04, 2009
Green roofs aren’t just for megaprojects like the Olympic Village, says the director of a non-profit group dedicated to bringing sustainable design to local communities.
“But we wanted to take some of that technology and show how it can be used in local neighbourhoods and the places we live,” said Bryce Gauthier, director of the Projects in Place Society.
The Vancouver-based society hosts its first green-roof raising Sept. 11 at Radha Yoga and Eatery, 728 Main St.. Radha Yoda, which is completing renovations to make the 100-year-old building more environmentally friendly and sustainable, is paying for the work with a grant from Vancity in partnership with the Real Estate Foundation of B.C.
During the event volunteers can learn the basics of installing a green roof and join students from the BCIT Centre for Architectural Ecology and staff from Xero Flor Canada, which specializes in green roof installation.
“The first thing people are going to learn is, you can do this,” said Gauthier. “They’re going to learn how a green roof works and we’ll be telling people what to do as the roof is being installed.”
Gauthier, a designer for Sharp and Diamond Landscape Architecture and Planning, said Projects in Place launched in April through the efforts of a group of Vancouver professionals including designers, planners and engineers who want to volunteer their skills to help local communities outside of their day jobs. The society doesn’t have an office and has mostly been meeting in coffee shops.
The group wants to research and share the latest innovations, technologies and ideas, not only from their own work but also from friends, colleagues and other green industry leaders. “A lot of our members are underemployed right now,” said Gauthier. “So they’re also gaining valuable lessons and experience.”
He noted a second project in the works includes helping construct a playground for a housing co-op in Killarney.
According to the society, two types of green roof are allowed in the city, including a “restricted” version constructed on top of an existing rooftop that only acts as a roof. Restricted green roofs don’t include any paths, walkways or handrails and may be accessed only for maintenance. In Vancouver, the builder must consult with an engineer and architect to ensure the design and structure is up to code. The builder must also submit roof, section and site plans to the city along with an architectural letter of insurance and structural letter of insurance.
An “open” green roof can be built directly on top of a roof deck. According to city bylaws, if a roof deck is up to code and construction of a green roof won’t harm the structure of the building, the builder can begin construction without submitting an application to the city. But the zoning of the home and the building height limit for that zone must be considered. Building heights include the handrails of a rooftop deck.
Gauthier added there will be lots of information available at the event for volunteers interested in green roof installations. “We want people to know they can achieve this at their house or business,” he said.
Gauthier said participants wanting to drop by should contact him to arrange a specific time to make sure everyone has the opportunity for hands-on experience. He noted if there are too many volunteers for this project, those who can’t be accommodated will go on a waiting list for the next green-roof build.
SBIA Green Resource Hub
Those interested in volunteering can contact Gauthier at email@example.com or call 604-317-9682.