Sunny future for ecoroofs
By Christina Williams, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
Ecoroof with solar, 79 SE Taylor St. in Portland
Solterra , which has offices in Portland and Seattle is expanding its reach up and down the west coast and has 10 employees.
Brian Heather, the company’s president, said that Solterra’s $800,000 in 2009 sales have already been eclipsed by the $1.5 million sold so far this year.
"What’s starting to emerge is an inventory of companies getting more work," said Tom Liptan, who manages the ecoroof program for the City of Portland.
The city offers several incentives for ecoroof development, including up to $5 per square foot per installation. Ecoroofs are becoming a more common choice for new construction because of their stormwater management properties.
Portland is also leading academic research on how solar energy and greener rooftops can work together.
A group of researchers at Portland State University received a National Science Foundation grant last year to study how installing solar panels over trays of ecoroof plantings can actually make the green roof thrive while making the solar panels operate more efficiently. The researchers installed monitors and sensors on the Taylor Street building to gather data for their work.
"The opportunity was too good to pass up," said David Sailor, a professor for PSU’s Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, who is involved in the research. "It gives us the opportunity to study how the systems perform in general and study the roof’s interaction with the urban environment."
Michael Kauth, who owns the century-old building once used by International Harvester, paid $500,000 to install the new roof and its green and solar features. He expects to get about 40 percent of that money back in the form of incentives.
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