Pedalpalooza and Ecoroof Bike Tour

June 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Matt Burlin tells us that Portland, Oregon’s Pedalpalooza is coming up very soon, and the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services is taking part this year with an Ecoroof Bike Tour.  The tour will take place on this Saturday, June 19th, from 10 am – 1 pm and includes viewings of North and Northeast Portland residential ecoroofs.

Space is limited, and in fact is almost full!   Please RSVP to BESEcoroof@portlandoregon.gov, and you’ll receive confirmation via email.   You can also reserve via phone by calling 503.823.7914.

Make sure to stay up to date with Portland, OR, ecoroof hapennings at their Ecoroof Blog on the Portland Online website – there are lots of new project reports, photos, and related articles getting posted every week.

Happy pedaling and greenroof sightseeing!

~ Linda V.

Day 2 of Ecoroof Portland, a Win-Win for All!

March 24, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Before the second day of Ecoroof Portland‘s Vendor Fair and program sessions, Tom Liptan co-led an ecoroof tour starting at 8:30 a.m.   Along with Jason King of TERRA.fluxus, on March 13 the group was comfortably and efficiently  transported by ecoShuttle around northeast Portland to see a variety of roofs, below.

The five sites visited on Saturday morning  were the Metro Regional Headquarters Ecoroof and Yakuza Restaurant (above),  K-4 Condominiums (left), and the O’Brien  and Omey residences (below).

I’m sorry to say we just couldn’t make ourselves get up early enough to join in!   But our trusty friends Casey Cunningham at the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services and Jason shared these photos with us (I hope to add/update these profiles soon to The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database) – by the way, Jason King is a very talented landscape architect here and has been involved with many ecoroof projects, including the Multnomah County Multnomah Building, top photo above.

After the 10:30 Intro to Portland Ecoroof session, Commissioner Dan Saltzman welcomed everyone and spoke about the City’s vision for a sustainable future and some of their ongoing projects.   Then I was introduced as the keynote speaker, sharing my presentation “Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design.”   A  compilation of my favorites from the past three years  of Haven Kiers, our Design Editor, and my Top 10 List of Hot Design Trends in Greenroof Design,  I also  added  some outstanding projects that will make our Top 10 for 2010 (under construction), including this one below, the  $90 million Oregon Sustainability Center, designed by Portland firms SERA Architects and GBD Architects:

 

Saturday’s first afternoon session was all about case studies – small and large, public and private.   Kevin Falkerson, AIA,  and Kerrie Lee Cole, GRP,  of SYMBIOS  shared their experience of design-based solutions with the Salmon Creek School  living roof, from  concept through construction and follow-up.   The LEED  Platinum Sonoma County, California environmental center has many eco-friendly features, offering  the students of this K-8 grade school numerous opportunities for place-based learning – about the ecology of the natural site and the  greenroof itself.

The semi-intensive roof sports a diverse palette of non-native and native sedums and succulents, accented with beautiful detail plantings including boulders and rocks.   See a photo gallery here.

 

Next up was the energetic Walt Quade, a general contractor with Cully Construction Co. (and Green Home Oregon), who built his own energy-conscious, partially underground  home with a custom-designed 1,490 sf greenroof in north Portland.   He also started from research to conception through several design options, before deciding on the one that would best suit his family’s needs and desires.   Walt not only described the construction process step-by-step, he also provided insights on lessons learned.   His message was clear:   ecoroofs do not need to be a high cost item if you are knowledgeable about products, and they are not that difficult to execute – but you do need to know your limitations and hire professionals when necessary.   See his photo gallery here.

Karl Schultz from the Port of Portland followed with the new  sustainable headquarters facility  for the Port of Portland at PDX, Portland International Airport.   Situated in front of the terminal  which is  connected to the parking garage, the 10-floor LEED Gold-designed facility has extensive daylighting, high performance glazing, radiant heating and cooling ceiling, reflective membrane, and a Living Machine – an organic wastewater treatment system that treats wastewater onsite to be used in the building for non-potable uses.

The structure also features an intensive built in place greenroof on the 8th floor  and  the larger 10,000 sf  LiveRoof modular greenroof on top of the 9th floor on the north side  installed for rainwater treatment   – both incorporate “adaptive plant Micromist irrigation.”

The final session was the very interesting, informal, and lively  “The Ecoroof Doctors are IN” panel with Tom Liptan, Ed Snodgrass, Patrick Carey, Dave Elkin,  and Alice Meyers from the  BES Ecoroof Incentive Program.   They offered advice and fielded many questions from architects, homeowners, and designers about a ton of  subjects – from which are the best plants to benefits of modular vs. built in place systems to construction details.

Earlier this year, March was declared “Ecoroof Portland” month by Mayor Adams, and the learning and fun didn’t stop with Ecoroof Portland 2010 –  here are  a few  more opportunities to learn what they’re all about from sponsors the Portland Audubon Society, Urban Greenspaces Institute, and the City of Portland (check for space availability):

South Waterfront Ecoroof Tour, March 27th
Green Roofs and Living Walls for Wildlife, March 30th – with one of our perennial favorites, Brit Dusty Gedge of Livingroofs.org  
Downtown Ecoroof Tour, March 31st

We left Portland with a greater understanding of how City employees, from the  Mayor to City Commissioners to everyone at BES, view their work.   I felt  that the employee buy-in for  eco-friendly stormwater management  options for a cleaner and greener Portland is just amazing!   It was evident from everyone we met how much they loved their jobs and how strongly they felt that ecoroofs were a real solution.   They really impressed me with their friendliness, professionalism, and dedication – thanks for inviting me!

Oregon is a land of widely different people, places, and ecosystems, and the beautiful City of Roses is always a pleasure to visit.   The City of Portland serves as a shining example to the rest of the U.S. on how municipal government can really work effectively for and with their people to promote healthy,  sustainable development.   Ecoroof Portland is a win-win event for everyone here – the citizens, the City employees, and as a result from all the support and financial incentives, the local environment as well.   Stay in touch by visiting the City’s BES website.

~ Linda V.

Ecoroof Portland, Day 1

March 23, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Since the 1990s, Portland, Oregon,  has worked hard to  earn its reputation as a sustainable building pioneer.   Very socially conscious, it’s also a very young city  in terms of energy and spirit.   As the host of Ecoroof Portland 2010, the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services  (BES) does  a great  service to its citizens with this free yearly event with information and technical assistance about ecoroofs – other sponsors included ReDirect Guide, EcoMetro, KXL radio, KINK radio, Portland Business Journal, Left Bank Annex, and ecoShuttle.

A large number of BES staff was on hand to assist, but Matt ran the show.   Matt Burlin  is the  Outreach Coordinator, Sustainable Stormwater Management, City of Portland Environmental Services, and  did an excellent job of organizing and coordinating everything!   Held at the Left Bank Annex  close to the Rose Quarter,  Ecoroof Portland  was easily accessible by public transportation, and in fact, the city encouraged folks to do just that.   The industrial urban space venue was chock full of environmentally friendly features including great daylighting, recycling bins everywhere, and water conservation features in the restrooms.

The program provided options for all levels of sophistication – beginner, professional, researcher, and those who were ready to put  an ecoroof  on their own house or commercial structure.   Friday started out at a very civil 10:30, with  “An Introduction to Ecoroofs in Portland” given by Matt and Amy Chomowicz (also offered on Saturday morning).   Attendees heard about general ecoroof information – how they work, why they’re important, and what resources are available in Portland  to help you get started on your own project  to  gain skills and experience in the industry.

 
The Vendor Fair was open at 10:00, and I was surprised to see how full both the intro session and exhibitor area was for a Friday morning.   We skipped the intro and perused the trade show on the main floor, mingling with  old friends and meeting new ones.

These regional expos are so important for a variety of reasons, and it also gives us an opportunity to meet with local reps of some of our advertisers, too, and learn about business in their neck of the woods – we connected with “new” folks from Tremco, Tournesol Siteworks, American Hydrotech, Xero Flor America, GreenGrid, ILD, and Etera Green Roof Plants (Northwest Horticulture), below.

I was pleased that there was  such a high number of professional firms  exhibiting  among the manufacturers and suppliers, for example landscape architects Lando & Associates Landscape Architecture(who have worked on many ecoroofs here including The Metro Headquarters Greenroof) and  Walker Macy (who worked on the Platinum LEED OHSU CHH building, among others).   Architects, consultants, contractors, structural engineers, and researchers also had booths.

In addition to product and service vendors, non-profit organizations and community organizations were also here including the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities booth, which was manned by Patrick Carey, a trainer for all of the courses needed to get your GRP designation – the 101, 201, 301 and 401.

And it was great to see Ecoroofs Everywhere  and meet Greg Haines,  above left, after all these years (who used to work at BES, seen with Matt, right).   Greg has been installing ecoroofs in Portland since 2002 when he co-founded Ecoroofs Everywhere as a non-profit organization (since 2007 it has been a for-profit partnership).   Of course, the City of Portland had  booths to answer questions about their Ecoroof Grant Program (they gave out beautiful posters) and WorkingGreenPortland.com, a  website  and tool to educate and motivate people about site specific stormwater management options, and city grants and incentives for each.

   

At noon,  Environmental Services Director Dean Marriott welcomed everyone, gave us a quick  update on the Ecoroof Grant program and introduced the keynote speaker, Ed Snodgrass.   Ed, in his usual laid back and affable way,  presented “Ecosystem Services: How Ecoroofs Contribute to Sustainable Cities” sharing his thoughts on how greenroofs  add benefits to our highly sealed urban areas by mimicking natural processes within the bigger picture.   He showed multiple examples of how the natural technologies of plants and soil protect the environment, economy, and equity in cities through connecting living roofs, rain gardens,  porous paving/vegetated parking lots and other systems, while  providing  stormwater management, energy reduction, cooling properties, treatment of graywater and sewage, wildlife habitat and more – for example  the corporate campus of Mercedes-Benz, below, a model of sustainability.

Next  came current research and monitoring efforts specific to the area.  Portland State University (PSU) graduate student Debbie Beck gave a presentation on “Greenroof Soil and Water Quality – Changes in Runoff Water Quality When Biochar is Mixed into a Greenroof Soil.”   Growing media needs to be designed to ensure low concentrations of nutrients in stormwater runoff;  biochar is a soil amendment made from the pyrolysis of waste products, ranging from biomass to tires in a carbon-net-negative process.   It was evaluated for its ability to retain nutrients in greenroof soils, and Debbie also  presented findings on its cleansing properties.

Tim Kurtz, PE, from the City of Portland BES  talked about  “Stormwater Monitoring of Three Ecoroofs in Portland, Oregon”  explaining that although ecoroofs have become a primary option for reducing roof runoff into sewers and streams, at present they’re all treated the same, regardless of growing media depth or composition.   Data was presented from the Hamilton Apartments, the Multnomah County Multnomah Building, and the Portland Building, above,  to determine which greenroof design and maintenance variables are most important to maximize stormwater retention.

 And featured speaker  Dr. David Sailor from PSU presented “Energy Performance of Ecoroofs – the Role of the Roof in Affecting Building Energy and the Urban Atmospheric Environment” – enlightening us how energy analysis of ecoroof performance requires sophisticated techniques and that complex energy balances on vegetative roofs vary from time of day and season to season.   Dr. Sailor concluded with his initial results of studies involving both greenroofs and photovoltaics, with a focus on potential system interactions and synergies.   His findings clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of the two technologies working together – the plants fare better with some shading from the harsh sun and the panels perform better from a cooler rooftop.

“Portland’s Shift to a Sustainable Future: The Role of Ecoroofs” took over the late Friday afternoon session with an interactive panel featuring Dan Vizzini of City of Portland Environmental Services, Tom Puttman of  David Evans and Associates, and Tom Liptan, ASLA, Ecoroof Technical Program Manager with BES.   Fourteen years after ecoroof guru Liptan installed his own atop his garage, the City continues to boost implementation of green infrastructure practices, including a target of 43 acres of ecoroofs by 2013. The panelists discussed their evolution from “grey to green” and how these changes will influence the fabric of  their city.

At 6:00 pm the Vendor Fair was closed to the public, and the City provided a lovely reception for the exhibitors and speakers.   This casual gathering and networking opportunity was a great time just to relax a bit.   Matt and Linda Dobson  (she manages  BES’s Stormwater Team) welcomed Portland Mayor  Sam Adams and it was easy to understand the city’s success with their ecoroof initiatives – you could feel the Mayor’s pride, commitment and  passion for their projects and staff.   He extended an open invitation to all to embrace sustainable business practices and sustainable design, and let us know that the City was looking into funding low interest loans.   He also informed us that he was talking up the challenge to green his own garage roof,  Ã  la Tom Liptan!

Tom Liptan then introduced me in such a nice way, reminiscing about my student days at UGA and how I called him back in 1998 wanting to know all about his garage greenroof and what could we do to promote these earth-friendly roof covers.   I presented a short demo of The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database – how it began with my 1999 research study when I initially had about 30 case studies, to how it’s grown to 1,023 at the moment; why I felt the industry needed an open, free resource for compiling and maintaining a clearing house of sorts.

Ed was up next and Tom also shared his funny recollections of meeting him several years ago.   Ed showed some very unique and interesting” Greenroofs from Around the World” with a fast-paced show of his highlight reel.

Afterwards we were off to the  richly decorated  Alu Wine Bar for a glass of a spectacular local pinot noir (2007 Arterberry Maresh from Dundee Hills, OR) with a bevy of BES people.   From there  Aramis, Ed and I  met Patrick and Brian Heather, GRP,  from SolTerra  for dinner at the very funky and famous Cajun Montage – quite a noisy and fun local favorite!   Patrick and Brian have been collaborating on various projects in Portland and Seattle, and we topped the evening off with a visit to the mixed-use SolTerra offices to see some of their innovative handiwork.   SolTerra provides a variety of services and products for the solar, ecoroof, and living wall markets, and what we saw looked very impressive!

Tomorrow I’ll wrap up our visit  and experiences at Ecoroof Portland 2010 ~ Linda V.