Session 8 // Using Biodiversity to Build Habitats

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1) Transmissivity of Vining Green Walls; Evaluation of Extinction Coefficient for Various Latitudes
Indirect vining green walls are a particularly promising component of green infrastructure (Cameron, Taylor, & Emmett, 2014). Compared to living walls, they are cost effective, and, if designed properly, require minimal human intervention and maintenance over their lifespans (Hunter et al., 2014). Additionally, they are highly robust and customizable, since vines can be easily trained to different support structures Indirect vining green walls negate the Urban Heat Island Effect and reduce cooling loads of buildings through solar interception and transpiration. However, the lack of an effective methodology for evaluating the performance of various designs for different climates has hindered their uptake as a passive design strategy. A key variable impacting both solar interception and transpiration is the extinction coefficient, usually denoted k. This is a dimensionless variable describing the ratio of shadow area to actual leaf area. With a few exceptions, all studies on green walls have used a generic k value. This approach disregards canopy characteristics and site location. This investigation provides a novel methodology for estimating the k value for vining green wall canopies in different climates. This is done by evaluating both values obtained from statistical models and empirical measurements from grapevine trellis systems with similar canopy geometries to those of vining green walls.

2) The little things that run the world: soil fungal communities on NYC green roofs
Building green infrastructure such as green roofs is a way for cities to mitigate environmental stressors. Plants play a major role in ecosystem service provisioning on green roofs, but they are subject to harsh conditions for survival and growth. Despite their crucial role in promoting plant survival and productivity, only recently have plant-associated microbes in green roof systems been investigated. Soil microbial community composition is linked to a variety of abiotic and biotic factors, such as soil chemistry and plant community. However, there are no studies that explicitly evaluate soil microbial community composition among mixed-vegetation and single-genus plant communities on green roofs. This project seeks to characterize root-associated fungal communities across roofs planted with different vegetation communities in New York City. We conducted a soil fungal community survey of 30 green roof systems during July 2017 on roofs planted with Sedum species or a mixed vegetation palette. To identify fungal taxa, we used Illumina sequencing of the ITS region. We will compare results with a range of predictors including plant community, soil nutrients, and roof characters. Understanding the variation of green roof soil fungal communities is crucial to green roof management and to maximizing benefits obtained from urban vegetated areas.

3) Can houseplants improve indoor air quality by removing CO2 and increasing relative humidity (RH)
High indoor CO2 concentrations and low relative humidity (RH) create an array of well-documented human health issues. Therefore, assessing a houseplants’ potential to be utilised as a simple low-cost approach to CO2 removal and increasing RH indoors is imperative. We investigated how environmental factors such as ’dry’ (< 0.20 m3m-3) or ‘wet’ (> 0.30 m3m-3) growing substrates, and indoor light levels (‘low’ 700 lux, and ‘high’ 22000 lux) influence the plants’ net CO2 assimilation (‘A’) and water-vapour loss. Seven common h
New York City, NY
Distance Learning
Course Equivalency
Green Roofs
Health, Safety and Welfare
Learning Outcomes
1) • Highlight the importance of the extinction coefficient for estimating the solar interception and transpiration of green walls
• Identify variables impacting the extinction coefficient
• Introducing a new methodology and a library of extinction coefficient values for vine species in various climates

2) • Green roof biota and ecosystem function are inextricably linked
• Beneficial fungi and bacteria are crucial to plant survival
• Diverse fungal assemblages exist on green roofs and likely play a crucial role in plant health and in ecosystem service provisioning

3) • Explain the benefits of houseplants: ability to remove pollutants, improve productivity, general wellbeing, and surgical recovery times
• Recognise that a houseplants’ potential to remove CO2 and other indoor pollutants varies dramatically – species choice is important
• Understand that the potential for houseplants to remove CO2 at typical indoor light levels is limited – targeted lighting installations maximise their potential
• Acknowledge that the most ‘physiologically active’ houseplants, which remove the most CO2 also contribute the most to increasing relative humidity indoors
• Identify which houseplants remove the most CO2 and can therefore improve the indoor air quality of the attendees’ homes and offices

4) • Awareness of the advanced issues of fire safety and wind design in constructions
• Knowledge of the international updated frame of standards and official guidelines on vegetative roofs and façades
• Knowledge of the strengths/gaps on safety topics in the standards and official guidelines of vegetative roofs and façades
1) Arta Yazdanseta - New School University2) Jessica Hoch - Columbia University3) Curtis Gubb - University of Reading4) Elena Giacomello - Universita Iuav de Venezia
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Course Codes
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

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