Jim's landscape architecture company, SWT Design, recently completed renovations on new office space. The original building is a pre-1900's Queen Anne home, to which they added additional design studio space five years ago. When the one story stucco 1920's commercial building went on the market a few years ago, they snatched it up. The design team came up with a way to join the buildings together with an enclosed walkway. Everything about the renovation was as green as possible, with energy efficient windows, use of renewable products, pervious pavers in the parking lot to prevent water runoff, use of rain barrels to collect water, and the crowning glory - a green roof on the stucco building. Not only does the green roof deflect the hot sun, it also has a wonderful garden with various types of plants ranging from drought lovers to tomatoes and herbs. The stairway to heaven is wrought iron and spiral, leading guests and employees up to an urban oasis complete with a sunshade and patio furniture.
All of the other plant materials on site are either natives to Missouri or used due to their ability to provide additional protection from water runoff. The amount of plants used, as well as the small pond they installed, help to provide a habitat for birds, bees and butterflies in an area of the town where concrete is king.
SWT decided to have a zero waste garden party on 09/09/09 to celebrate the addition of studio space as well as their successful year, despite the economy. The invitations were all sent via email so there was no paper waste. A local combo provided easy listening music. The food and beverages were all locally grown or produced, and were served on compostable plates. All the glass, paper and cans used at the party were recycled. About 300 people filtered in and out during the 4 hours of the open house, drawn no doubt by the phenomenal weather and an opportunity to hear good news instead of bad. The party was quite a success, and I think we need to send a message to Kermit, via email of course, that it IS easy being green.