Gunderson unveils second 'habitat' ecoroof
By Drew Dakessian, Sustainable Business Oregon intern
Portland City Commissioner Dan Slatzman cut the ribbon on Gunderson's latest habitat roof project. Click on the image for a closer look at the habitat roof.
Dignitaries this week dedicated a 2,400-square-foot ecoroof at the Gunderson LLC facility on Northwest Front Avenue in Portland, continuing the company’s efforts to gauge such a roof’s habitat value.
City Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Mark Eitzen, general manager of Gunderson, a division of Lake Oswego-based The Greenbrier Cos. Inc., cut the ribbon on the second of three so-called habitat roofs that the company will erect, providing a home for wildlife in an industrial zone.
Habitat roofs are based on the model for a traditional ecoroof, defined by Portland Bureau of Environmental Services as “a lightweight vegetated roof system used in place of a conventional roof … typically made of a waterproof membrane, drainage material, a lightweight layer of soil, and a cover of plants.”
In Gunderson's case that roof features 30 types of plants that bloom throughout the year serving as fodder for a roof-based micro-ecosystem.
“Ultimately, you’re trying to have a food source for birds,” said David Harvey, Gunderson’s director of health and safety. “Basically, you plant the plants to establish a food chain, and the plants then become home to small insects. What ends up happening is the spiders eat the insects, the wasps eat the spiders, and the birds eat the spiders and the wasps.”
If a habitat roof is viable, “a bird hardly knows if there’s manufacturing down there or if it’s just regular ground,” Harvey said.
Gunderson became the first company in the Northwest to work on such a project in an industrial setting with an initial habitat roof completed in June of last year.
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