Wednesday, March 31, 2010

EcoCenter Featured in San Francisco Magazine!

Our Living Roof is Coming to Life!

I am so happy to report that the underlayment for the EcoCenter Living Roof is online! Last week we sprayed on the membrane which sealed all and any potential penetration or imperfection in the roof structure--ensuring no water penetration will run inside the roof or building. This is the first and most important step to creating a long-term sustainable living roof system. This week the Habitat Gardens team laid down the two sets of underlayment liners which provide additional absorption of water for plant life and act as an additional water and root barrier. We also installed the irrigation system which is comprised of 1 inch drip tubing laid into the underlayment of the roof and is attached to a series of small manifolds. 2 inches of Drainage rock was blown onto the roof which provides a drainage base for the roof. Lastly 3-4 inches of high quality Mulch was applied to the roof. Yesterday we were blessed with rain and tommorow we plant!

Its been an extraordinary journey for me on this project. There was a time that we had to value engineer our living roof out--and thanks to President Obama's efforts to support green building in our community, we now have our roof back on line! Its a wonder to experience our living roof come to life in our community--as the only vegetative roof in the southern waterfront community, I hope this sets a powerful model for future development in BVHP and sister EJ communities throughout the region. I am so pleased that we have been able to greenscape any potential hardscape that the building brings to the park. We will soon be able to host an entire new set of habitat on our roof! Stay tuned!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

EcoCenter Roof is Sealed up and Ready for Planting!


Over the last week the EcoCenter roof was sealed up with a Foam in Place Poly-Urea system and an anti-uv acryclic topcoat. Here are some advantages to sealing the roof:
Highest "R" Value of up to 7.14 per inch enabling it to provide more thermal resistance with less material than any other insulation; Seamless - SPF forms a seamless insulated roofing system which mitigates leaking and water penetration;
Elimination of Ponding Water; Lightweight - ASPF weighs between 2-3 pounds per cubic foot. And most importantly it will support our living roof system!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Living Parapet's on our Living Roof!


This week the Habitat Gardens team fabricated all of the understructure for the Vegetative Roof's parapets [the structures that "edge" the vegetative roof]. Thanks to a great design by Evodesign, the parapets will be loaded up with lots of natural "found objects" from pine coans to pieces of ceramics and granite. Over the next few weeks we will be installing these parapets against the beutiful plants that are coming on line.

Come down this week! Starting Tuesday we are planing the roof!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Living Roof Membrane Installed Today!


I can't describe the incredible feeling of watching the EC's living roof come on line. After twelve years of work and planning--we are finally watching our living classroom come on line--with all of the systems that we aimed for thank to the Administration's ARRA funding to bring additional resources online.

In partnership with Habitat Gardens and Urethane Roofing, we laid down the first portion of our membrane. The polyurethane membrane is sprayed directly onto the OSB platform on the roof deck. As the CEO of Urethane Roofing stated yesterday, this provides a bullet proof membrane that will protect the building from any water element for over twenty years. Some benefits of this membrane include: high durability, performance, energy efficiency, lower maintenance, cost-effectiveness, and low environmental impact.

We will be ready to install our Living Roof on Monday!!!!

Come on down to the site to see the action!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Asian Neigborhood Design Visits the EcoCenter!


Today the Herons Head Park team and the EcoCenter Team met with Asian Neighborhood Design to give the students at ANDNET a sneak peak at some of our living systems. We spent a great deal of time explaining the relevance of our building design within the framework of the commmunity of Bayview Hunterspoint and why we decided to move "off the grid". We talked about the concentration of sewage treatment in our community as well as the burden of carrying the city's two largest power plants [one already demolished and one soon to be], as well as reviewing some of the land use problems from brownfields to the superfund site. The students were really excited about what we are accomplishing and they want to be involved!

Our new team has hired two graduates of the ANDNET apprenticeship program and we are working on training the graduates about horticulture, living roofs, and low impact development design--as well as harvesting rainwater!

You will notice we extended our downspout from the building to move all roof water off site while we wait for the shipment of our rainwater tanks. Hopefully they will be here soon!

Come down and visit!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Blog on EcoCenter Living Systems

Friend! I am so excited about the work happening at the EcoCenter. Its a dream come true! Our living roof, constructed wetlands, rainwater tanks are all coming on line in the next fifty days!

You can go to our living systems blog at: to find out more about our work--

Or, you can visit us at the center!

More to come!


Sunday, March 7, 2010

LEJ and Habitat Gardens Teams up for the Living Roof!


San Francisco, CA, February 28, 2010 -- Habitat Gardens, a leading native
landscape and living architecture firm, today announced it has been awarded a
contract to design and install the living roof at The EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park in San Francisco, a 23-acre wetland park in Bayview Hunters Point.

The EcoCenter, a project of Literacy for Environmental Justice, is an environmental education center to educate the general public about renewable energy, pollution and greenhouse reduction, wastewater treatment, “green” building materials, and the green economy. The EcoCenter project is being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009.

“We are delighted to be working with Habitat Gardens on the EcoCenter’s green roof and have the project benefit from the firm’s deep experience and enthusiasm for living architecture,” said EcoCenter Project Manager Laurie Schoeman. “After a competitive review of capabilities and proposals, it was clear that the team at Habitat Gardens were the best qualified for the job.”

“The EcoCenter is a one-of-a kind, groundbreaking project with which we are proud to be associated. It will leverage all that we have learned in the last 10 years pioneering the field of living architecture and green roofs. The work will illustrate to all those who visit the center the beauty of green roofs as well as their effectiveness at temperature, sound and light control,” said Casey Lyon, Founder of Habitat Gardens.

The EcoCenter is located at Cargo Way and Jennings Street at the Port of San Francisco’s Heron’s Head Park (Pier 98). The center will provide space to upwards of 100 students in both an indoor and adjacent outdoor classroom space with the goal of providing a hands-on example of low impact development with an emphasis on environmental justice, reflecting its location in one of the most historically polluted communities in the region. The EcoCenter project is a partnership between the non-profit organization Literacy for Environmental Justice, the Port of San Francisco, the San Francisco Department of the Environment, and the State Coastal Conservancy.

Habitat Gardens offers native landscape and living architecture services for LEED certification on commercial and residential buildings. Throughout the last ten years Habitat Gardens’ team of certified green roof and living wall professionals has worked on over 40 green roofs throughout California. The firm was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Monterey, California. To learn more about Habitat Gardens, visit

For further information Habitat Gardens: Casey Lyon (831) 238-0038; or Awie Smit (415) 298-3536;
For further information Literacy for Environmental Justice: Laurie Schoeman (415) 694-1555;