More than just a pretty roof: Ecoroofs save cash
By Lee van der Voo, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
"This isn’t about butterflies, it’s about lifecycle costing," he said, adding that he would like to see less emphasis on the ecological benefits of ecoroofs and more talk about their practical uses.
Containing precipitation is chief among the ecological perks of ecoroofs, but improving air quality, holding carbon, providing wildlife habitat, filtering pollution and reducing urban heat are also noted.
More practical uses, however, appear to be gaining traction with Portland businesses and institutions, where 22 projects totaling 2.8 acres have been approved for city grants since 2008. The program's goal is to fund 43 acres for $6.5 million by 2013, diverting 17.6 million gallons of precipitation from the city storm water utility to save roughly $9 million in upgrades and maintenance. It has awarded $1.3 million to help install 98 ecoroofs around Portland in two years, totaling 6.12 acres between business, institutions and residences.
Participating businesses have included apartment buildings like the 1200 Building, as well as mixed-use developments like newly constructed Tabor Commons at Southeast 57th Avenue and Division Street, hospitality operations like the Hawthorne Hostel at 3031 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., and restaurant ¿Por Que No? at 3524 N. Mississippi St.
At its long-time distribution site at 1510 S.E. Water Ave., Portland General Electric Co. is among the latest wave of businesses plotting ecoroofs aimed partly at practicality. The utility is currently planning a 19,000-square-foot ecoroof in sight of the Hawthorne Bridge, with construction set for spring 2011.
Spokeswoman Elaina Medina said the location is an ideal place to showcase ecoroofs. The utility is also interested in energy efficiency results, she said.
Lee van der Voo, lvdvoo*at*gmail.com, is a freelance writer for Sustainable Business Oregon.
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