Since 2009, the City of Portland Ecoroof Blog has helped build awareness of green roof technology and reach more people in Portland and across the world. Visits to the blog have grown from 500 to 17,500 per month. At the same time, ecoroof demand has increased, and Portland now boasts 330 ecoroof projects and is on course to surpass all annual records for 2012. The blog has been a great way to share this information on the Environmental Services website and show the value of ecoroofs in Portland.
Ecoroofs allow us to turn rooftops into functional elements of a healthy urban watershed, but they are part of a broader set of green infrastructure tools the city uses to manage stormwater. An average of 37 inches of rain falls in Portland annually, washing over roofs, streets, and parking lots and carrying dirt and pollutants to rivers and streams. This stormwater runoff can also cause erosion and flooding that harms properties and wildlife habitat if it’s not properly managed. The city uses green infrastructure to address these problems in a cost-effective and sustainable way that meets our goals and provides other benefits.
Green infrastructure designs mimic natural systems to manage stormwater runoff at its source and improve water quality. Integrating green infrastructure into our built environment helps sustain a community’s livability, health, and economy. Just as parks, natural areas and open space are integral to a city, so are small, localized green spaces like rain gardens, green streets, and ecoroofs. Bringing nature into the city can increase our mental and physical health, enhance social interactions, increase property values, and reduce the demand for energy and piped infrastructure, which saves money for Portland sewer ratepayers.
The completion of Portland’s combined sewer overflow (CSO) control program last year makes green infrastructure's role in managing our urban watersheds even more important. To recognize this, the Ecoroof Blog will expand to highlight the range of green infrastructure projects throughout the City of Portland. We'll continue to emphasize the beauty and value of ecoroof projects, but we'll also look more broadly at how the entire green infrastructure toolkit can improve our city spaces while enhancing livability.
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