Monday, February 21, 2011

It’s Alive! Island Gateway is greening up its walls and rooftops.

The green roof is not a new idea.  We’ve all seen those dustbowl-era photos of the shed-roofed stables with goats standing on top eating the grass from the roof of the very building that shelters them at night.  Like most good ideas, they stem from a natural process most likely discovered long ago.  But, the re-integration of live, growing elements into our living and working spaces is still only just beginning to take root in the mainstream development of building structures.

PHC, through the Island Gateway is excited to play a roll in bringing these living design elements to such a prominent location on Bainbridge Island – a community that prides itself on being eco-conscious and Earth-friendly.

The basic ideas behind a green roof and a living wall are the same: integrate living, growing elements into the non-living structure.  In practice this means engineering a structure to carry the load of soil mass and plants, as well as the water that will be absorbed through rainfall.  Esthetically, this ties the buildings into the landscape in a very literal way.   

But that’s not all!  Theses living elements of the buildings actually serve very ecologically and economically important functions.  By catching and absorbing rainfall – in the natural growing process – these living elements reduce the amount of site water runoff before it ever reaches the gutter. This will help to greatly reduce and control the amount of run-off that enters Winslow Ravine. And by using mostly hearty native species of plants, the need for artificial watering is reduced or eliminated.

Further, the soil, root structures, and growing mass of the plants all serve as a natural insulation making for efficient (yes, that means costs savings on heating and cooling!), comfortable environments indoors, while providing visually pleasing environments out of doors. 

So, while the green roof may not be a brand new idea, it’s an important one – an idea we’re excited to be sharing and implementing at the Island Gateway!

For more info on green roofs and living walls check out G-Sky: Green Walls & Rooftops at
Also check out the Island Gateway’s landscape designer, Jack Johnson of Outdoor Studio at

And this really cool video:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Island Gateway: A National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat

We are proud to announce that the Island Gateway project has been recognized by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as a Certified Wildlife Habitat.  The NWF works to protect wildlife habitat nation wide and part of their program includes certifying “mini-refuges” in private gardens and campuses.  Being a NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat, for the Island Gateway, is about having a functional, thriving community, while still providing natural areas for wildlife. Thanks to “conscientious planning and construction, landscaping and sustainable gardening, wildlife may find quality habitat – food, water, cover and places to raise their young.”

Read more about the National Wildlife Federation and how to make your garden into a Wildlife Habitat here: