- GaiaTechnologies uses our patented GaiaSoil mix to build green infrastructure projects. GaiaSoil weighs 10 lbs per cubic foot dry and 30 lbs per cubic foot when fully saturated, holding 2/3rds of this weight in water (20 lbs), creating an industrial rooftop habitat for native plant communities.
- For comparison, regular soil weighs an average of 75 lbs per cubic foot. The density of GaiaSoil is 0.13 to 0.28 g/cubic cm compared to 1.6 g/cubic cm for regular soil meaning that GaiaSoil is almost 7 times lighter
- GaiaSoil increases/maximizes carbon capture, increases biodiversity, drops air conditioning costs; reverses urban heat island and diminishes or eliminates storm water, grey water, or treated waste water discharge, facilitating–’zero discharge’ from rooftops to street-sides, and industrial landscapes.
- GaiaSoil is made out of recycled materials which effectively removes them from the waste stream
- Manufactured with 5 to 20% compost, GaiaSoil can readily be designed and blended for any suite of native plant community or horticultural plant nutrient requirements.
- GaiaSoil humus and compost ratios can be almost infinitely varied to meet nutrient and water holding requirements for most any plant species or community
- GaiaSoil stores water as a subsoil reservoir beneath plantings.
- Jute, Coconut fiber, burlap, or other organic fibers and fabrics can be used above GaiaSoil, top-dressed with compost/mulch to simulate the organic layer at the soil surface in meadows and woodlands.
- GaiaSoil diverts about 20 cu. yds. of Styrofoam from the waste stream and landfills for each 1,000 sq.ft. of green roof constructed with GaiaSoil.
- A hundred cubic feet of water moved through green infrastructure accrues other interest in carbon capture, biodiversity, property values, and human health, potentially including favorable impacts on mortality and morbidity, but also adds $399 cooling value, based on its cooling capacity in kilo Watt hours.
- One inch of water falling on an acre, or 43,560 square feet, produces a volume of 3,630 cubic feet, or 27,152 gallons. A similar amount of water over a square mile, 640 acres, delivers 17.4 million gallons. An inch of water over the 300-square-mile city comes to 5.2 billion gallons, most of which currently flows into the combined sewer. New York City receives roughly 43.15 inches of rainfall per year
- When a mixture of rainwater and sanitary sewage overwhelms the combined sewage system by using up available volume within the sewer, the excess is released into the waterways causing a Combined Sewage Overflow (CSO)
- New York City captures about 80% of the CSO, which amounts to billions of gallons each year
- The open surface on a 10,000 square foot green roof allows 1,667 cubic feet of water from a 2” storm to enter the 6” of depth, where this water can be held in the capillary space of the GaiaSoil. Where micro-terraces are constructed additional water volume can be detained, fed to the plants, and moved out of the soil, through roots to leaf cover, leaving as water vapor.
- A single Gaia Technologies greenroof can prevent up to 1 million gallons of water per year (dependent on greenroof area) from entering the sewage system, thereby removing 1 million gallons from the total Combined Sewage Overflow that would otherwise make it into our rivers and oceans
- Instead, this water can be utilized by the green infrastructure project for much greater value (explained later)
- A 20,000 square foot green roof with a 6 inch GaiaSoil substrate depth ca hold 49,865 gallons of water when fully saturated at any given time
- This rainwater is used by the plants growing on the roof
- A 3-inch rainstorm over a 24-hour period (extremely heavy rain) produces 37,402 gallons of water over a 20,000 square foot area, meaning that a standard Gaia Technologies green roof can hold more water than the heaviest rainstorms can throw at it without needing any sort of drainage system
- Large greenroof drainage systems can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but this type of infrastructure is not necessary for Gaia Technologies roofs
- Gaia Technologies uses nature to protect human & ecological health and down toxics by re-establishing biogeochemical and ecological filters.
- Biogeochemical reactions regulate nutrients, breaking down or sequestering toxics in the process
- Proton availability (gold to red); electrons density (purple to green), drive major chemical reactions. Proton and electron concentrations are under biotic control. By establishing the right habitat in the right places, capacities to sequester or remove toxins and support ecological growth and development can be incorporated into human enterprise
- Gaia Technologies swales not only capture rainwater and prevent it from entering the sewage system, they also remove toxics that the rainwater has accumulated while flowing down the street through the methods described above
“Control or management of destabilizing forces (e.g. wind, water, and gravity) is the essence of
ecosystem development and stability.” (Bormann & Likens 1979, p 6)
- In terms of cost-saving efficiency that contributes to the ecological sustainability of urban environments, green infrastructure is incredibly effective and Gaia Technologies is at the forefront of documenting this efficacy through our designs and modeling, providing a significant Return On Investment (ROI).
- Sixteen million gallons of water a day would be needed to power 100,000,000 sq.ft., or 3.6 square miles, of green roof or green wall vegetation, with evapotranspiration rates typical of the temperate zone. Redirecting this quantity of water to green roofs, green walls, and street-side plantings, in any combination, would transform treatment from a cost to a benefit, cooling surroundings and dropping building energy use each warm season day.
- The New York City treatment cost for 16 million gallons is $62,500. This cost would be avoided were this water fed to green infrastructure instead of the waste water treatment plant, but its potential value is much higher
- Because of the role of water in thermal regulation, evaporative cooling through green infrastructure provides a hundred-fold benefit over avoided treatment cost
- Because each 33 gallons of water evaporated through leaves is the equivalent of a ton of air conditioning, 16 million gallons of water supplied to green infrastructure produces the equivalent of 470,000 tons of AC, a cooling value worth $8.3 million a day
- On a 1- to 3-story building, a green roof will drop building AC costs by 1/3rd or more. In aggregate, 100,000,000 sq.ft of green infrastructure would
remove about 1/7th of the peak load requirement of NYC of 2003
- Every 1/4 inch of water evapo-transpired from 100,000,000 sq.ft. of green infrastructure could remove about 16 million gallons of runoff that would otherwise go to the waste water treatment facilities, avoiding a cost of about sixty thousand dollars a day. This same volume of water fed to 100,000,000 sq.ft of green infrastructure would produce more than eight million dollars worth of cooling each warm season day
- Each 1° F drop in intake air temperature increases chiller/HVAC efficiency by 1%
- A modeling study found that adding green roofs to 50 percent of the available surfaces in downtown Toronto would cool the entire city by 0.2 to 1.4°F (0.1 to 0.8°C)
- A Toronto study found two green roofs with minimal vegetation reduced peak summertime roof membrane temperatures by 35°F and summertime heat flow through roofs by 70-90 percent compared with a conventional roof, substantially reducing energy needs for cooling
- Temperatures behind green walls can be reduced by as much as 10 degrees Celsius
Sociological and Economic Benefits
- Green roofs can extend a roof’s lifespan by two or three times. According to Sustainable South Bronx, on a 90 degree day a green roof is about 80°F, while a black roof is 175°F, causing substantial wear and tear
- Through shading, green walls can lower temperatures in summer and reduce energy costs by 23 percent
- Shaded and cooler areas near businesses mean that potential customers will be more willing to stop and look at the business’ advertisements and products, increasing revenue
- Aesthetically pleasing green infrastructure draws visual and social media-based attention to a business. Positive social media attention is one of the most important ways to generate sales and revenue
- The City of Philadelphia Triple Bottom Line Assessment found that increased tree canopy can reduce ozone and particulate pollution enough to significantly reduce hospital admissions, lost work days, and mortality
- Green infrastructure has also been shown to increase nearby property values, which can be of benefit to businesses and homeowners
- When green infrastructure is employed in economically depressed areas, it can signal economic revitalization and promote additional investment from other parties
- When green infrastructure is used for recreational purposes, it will result in greater physical activity which has been shown to reduce stress and the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, and certain kinds of cancer, and lead to improvements in mental health and overall health and well-being
- Attractive, accessible greenspace can improve community identity and sense of place, improve aesthetics, and provide a place for
gathering and social interaction. Improved social capital has been linked to reduced stress and improvements in mental health and overall health and well-being
- Green infrastructure and improved aesthetics also have the potential to reduce crime and violence in a community