What Drives Us
- October 14th, 2015
‘Connecting the Living and Built Environments.’
This is GINKGO’s motto and the pursuit of this connection is what drives our company and employees. In today’s modern age, as cities expand and green spaces disappear, our relationship with the environment has become strained as we have reduced the role that nature plays in our lives. Many people have lost sight of how green spaces impact us and how they improve our health and wellbeing. Our mission at GINKGO is to introduce the living environment back into our built spaces by utilizing the space available in urban centres, namely on building roofs and walls, to connect the living and built environment.
The use of vegetation in building is not a new phenomenon and has deep historical roots. The reconstructed Viking longhouses found at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland and the sod houses constructed by settlers on the Canadian Prairies in the nineteenth century showcase our forbearers’ use of green building methods.
Green roofing technology has evolved substantially since those first forays, but the principle remains the same – vegetation is used to provide insulation for the building while absorbing rain and snow. A renaissance in living roofs occurred in Germany in the 1960s when modern vegetated roof systems, involving root barriers and water retention layers, were developed.
Living walls, also known as green façades, have also existed throughout history; be it in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon or the use by various civilizations of climbing plants to cover the outside walls of buildings. The modern technology behind green walls developed substantially over the twentieth century. Like green roofs, vegetated walls serve to insulate buildings and absorb moisture, while creating beautiful landscaped areas.
The application of modern green roofing and living wall systems has increased decade after decade as people recognize the practical and economic benefits living roofs offer. These benefits are particularly noticeable with the flat roofs that are prevalent on modern buildings. Flat roofs with such large surface areas unnecessarily increase the energy costs associated with the building while negatively impacting the surrounding people and environment, through increasing the ambient temperature and removing green space which is not only necessary to filter out the numerous pollutants found in the urban environment, but is beneficial to people’s physical and mental well-being. Furthermore, green roofs and living walls have multiple practical uses, from urban rooftop community farms to growing fresh herbs in a restaurant kitchen.
The green building industry in Canada has not reached the level of market penetration seen in Europe, a fact which GINKGO hopes to remedy. Our mission to connect the living and built environments has pushed us to become Ontario’s leading green roof installer; however, there is still vast potential for market growth in the living roof and living wall industry. Green roofs and green walls have a positive role to play in making our cities, workplaces, and homes healthier and more environmentally friendly, and GINKGO aims to be an advocate and leader in the drive to make Canadian buildings more eco-conscious and efficient.