Living roof hills are home to native plants

kirstendirksen | January 27, 2011 | It’s one of the most expansive and one of the most complex living roofs ever designed—the 197,000-square-foot rooftop is home to 1.7 million native plants—but the crown on architect Renzo Piano’s California Academy of Sciences is more than simply a home for native plant species, it’s also an integral part of the smart building design. Up here there are weather stations that report on wind, rain and temperature changes to a central computer. This feedback is used to open and shut the roof’s skylights (as well as the building’s windows) to create automated passive ventilation. In other words, this smart system means the building doesn’t need air conditioning (The skylights are also computer-controlled to provide natural daylighting where needed most).
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Manzanita species, native only to San Francisco area — from feared extinction to treasured revival

KQEDondemand | January 19, 2011 | With their reddish bark and bell-shaped flowers, manzanitas are California’s iconic plants, adapted to the state’s many ecosystems. One of the two manzanitas that grew exclusively in San Francisco’s foggy climate, the Franciscana, was thought to have gone extinct in the wild until it was rediscovered in 2009. QUEST explores how the San Francisco Botanical Garden is toiling to give one of the city’s rarest native plants a second chance.
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