Gunderson unveils greenroof pilot project
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
Gunderson unveiled a habitat roof pilot project in Portland this week.
Gunderson LLC, a subsidiary of The Greenbrier Companies Inc., unveiled this week a first for Portland: A 1,000 square-foot roof on an industrial area that's meant to create a habitat for bugs and birds while providing a natural filter for stormwater.
Working with the city of Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland-based Greenroof Info Think-Tank, Gunderson designed and built its own greenroof. The company will use it as a testing ground to determine what kind of design works best in an industrial setting and how effective the green rooftop is in providing an environment conducive to a vibrant ecosystem.
"We're trying to figure out how to value the habitat," said David Harvey, environmental director for Gunderson. "It doesn't have an actual measurement, so we're looking for some attributes to mention."
While ecoroofs are usually lauded for their efficient handling of stormwater, habitat roofs also emphasize biodiversity. The goal of a habitat roof is to provide a varied habitat for small critters by including varying depths of soil, plants of different sizes and logs to provide shady resting spots.
Gunderson, which dedicated the roof with Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman on Tuesday and hosted a gathering of the Greenroof Info Think-Tank to tour the site Wednesday, will continue to work with both the city and the think tank to study the site and determine best practices for future sites. A committee of think tank members has assembled to develop a measurement system for habitat value.
"We have more than 20 acres of rooftop," Harvey said. "We want to determine which ones we can build habitat roofs on and what's the best soil to use."
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