Greening the Rooftops and Growing the Local Economy
Apr 30, 2013 at 9:25 AM 0 Comments
The Portland skyline has always been pretty green, thanks to the city’s trees and the forests of Mt. Tabor and Forest Park. Now, even the rooftops are getting greener! Ecoroofs replace conventional roofing with a living, breathing vegetated roof system that provides many benefits to building owners, residents and the community.
Since 2008, the Portland Ecoroof Incentive has helped fund 154 ecoroofs, comprising over 9 acres of green roofs atop commercial, industrial, and residential buildings across Portland. Close to $2 million has been invested in Portland’s green economy through the program. Because of these ecoroofs, nine million gallons of stormwater annually are managed on private property and stay out of the sewer system. This funding has also enabled ecoroof contractors to expand their business, open new businesses, and strengthen the local and regional market--even during the recession. The Greenroof Information Think-tank, a now 400-member group of mostly local professionals, illustrates this growth. The group has met regularly since 2009 to advance policies and programs that support green roof business development.
Portland installed more ecoroof area in 2012 than in any year prior. 119,000 square feet, on 34 roof projects, barely edged out the previous record of 117,000 set back in 2008. Key contributions came from Gray’s Landing in South Waterfront, which includes over 30,000 square feet of ecoroof beneath photovoltaic panels and above affordable housing, as well as University Pointe Housing at Portland State University, where over 24,000 square feet of ecoroof is installed over five levels.
There are now a total of 378 ecoroofs in Portland, and more innovative approaches are being developed. Projects are pairing ecoroofs with photovoltaic panels, being designed for bird and pollinator habitat, and prioritized in sensitive areas to maximize benefits on Portland’s rooftops.
Don’t miss the annual Portland Ecoroof Symposium this Thursday, May 2nd. The Symposium is perfect for building owners and development industry professionals and will focus on how these innovations improve the return on investment for green roofs.
In celebration of UN World Environment Day 2013, the City of Portland and The Intertwine are featuring stories about Portland’s green infrastructure, sustainability and environmental innovations.
The Bureau of Environmental Services uses green infrastructure to keep stormwater out of the sewer system, filter pollutants and provide cool clean water to our rivers and streams, reduce flooding, and provide habitat for healthier watersheds. Portlanders’ stormwater fees are at work protecting water quality in our rivers and streams and increasing neighborhood green space.
PHOTOS: Ramona Apartments Ecoroof, Pearl District (top). Thom Ross Residence ecoroof (bottom).
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