The promotion of green roofs has been Joy’s passion, 1,500+ green roofs later, including some of the most celebrated projects of our time did not come without challenges and success.
From 1998 to 2002 Joy was involved in Research and Development with Mr. Wolfgang Behrens who pioneered green roof systems in Germany. While working on an international basis with Wolfgang Behrens, Joy travelled frequently between Germany, Canada and the US advocating the value and benefits of Green Roof systems. It was on one of those visits to Canada Joy was introduced to the governing board of the City of Waterloo and was subsequently awarded the installation of the green roof system on the City Hall building.
Through her advocacy of green roof systems, Wolfgang Behrens System Developments was invited to give a presentation to Michigan State University. Presenting to a group of General Contractors, Architects, and MSU professors were Wolfgang Behrens, Prof. Liesecke and Joy Schmidt; this presentation led to the River Rouge Ford Truck Plant project. To confirm
Joy has worked on many green roof projects that have been ‘fun’ to challenging, requiring ingenuity, creativity and resourcefulness. As the Vancouver Olympic Village is counted as one of her top accomplishments, the River Rouge, Ford Truck Plant was a true challenge with world record results. This project presented a time challenge, the project needed to be completed and ready for the Spring of 2003, Ford Motor Company’s 100th anniversary. The growing (Spring 2002) to harvest (Fall 2002) period was short not allowing the plants to reach full maturity, as two seasons would yield the best crop. In addition, there were no fields nearby to grow the mats. Ford provided a portion of their landfill and she made it work, the field preparation, soil mixture and choice of vegetation that would flourish in a short growing season. The yield would only cover forty to sixty percent of the field. With her years of experience, she made the seemingly impossible happen, sustainably. The River Rouge, Ford Truck Plant proceeded to win the Guinness Book of Records Holder for the largest green roof.
From the inception of her company Xero Flor Canada Ltd. in 2001 to her present company, Vitaroofs International, Joy has been a strong proponent of Green Roof Systems in North America. Over 20 years ago it was never inconceivable to put a garden in the sky, she knows, she was there, at the very beginning raw knuckles from knocking on many an architect, landscaper or general contractor’s door. Times are changing, Joy was invited as a consultant for the City of Toronto Green Roof By-Law, which was enacted in 2009.
Joy continues to speak, teach, provide training and is a regular contributor to panel discussions on Green Roof Systems. January 2013 Joy delivered a speech on a paradigm in sustainability entrepreneurship and also participated on an expert panel, at the Green Roofs and Walls of the World Virtual Summit.
Her advocacy surely has paid off. Architects and entrepreneurs are on board. They view green roofs as a sustainable way for cities to help reduce the greenhouse effect on our planet while playing an important role in reducing urban temperatures, improving air quality all the while beautifying our skyline and rooftops. As well as they are given an opportunity to create fabulous colourful designs that soar to new heights, reach new breadths and demand answers to ever-changing structural and climatic challenges.
Joy Schmidt, the president of Vitaroofs International, has made it her mission to educate, generate interest, and offer creative products and solutions to the ever-expanding green roof market.
Vitaroofs International Inc.