Portland Celebrates Ecoroof Month in March

February 23, 2011 at 10:07 pm

By Matt Burlin

The ecoroof industry in Portland, Oregon, has been making great strides.   Since 2008, the City of Portland has offered an incentive of $5 per square foot of ecoroof on approved projects.  Over 100 projects have been funded so far for over 8 acres in vegetated roof space, and the funding will be offered twice annually until 2013.   The City now boasts nearly 13 acres of ecoroofs (extensive green roofs) and close to 28 acres of green roofs (intensive and extensive combined).


 
The entire month of March will include ecoroof-themed events and presentations.   During the first week we welcome Dr. Stephan Brenneisen, green roof and biodiversity expert, who will participate in a design charrette and share a presentation on his work in Basel, Switzerland.

There will also be several ecoroof project tours throughout the month that are free and open to the public.   The calendar of events can be found on the City of Portland’s Ecoroof Portland  website.

 

The high point of the month will be the third annual Ecoroof Portland event, which will take place on Friday, March 18, 2011  at the Oregon Convention Center.

The event brings together professionals from throughout the ecoroof industry as well as all business owners, homeowners, and developers with an interest in ecoroofs.   More than 60 local ecoroof designers, landscapers, contractors, architects, consultants, nurseries, suppliers, manufacturers, researchers, non-profits and community groups will be on hand at this free, public event to share their knowledge with Portland citizens about greening our local rooftops to protect our rivers and streams.

(To apply to be a vendor, visit www.portlandonline.com/bes/ecoroofpdx, email Jake at jake@socialenterprises.net or call 503.226.2377 for more information.)

We’re very excited about our keynote speakers for this event.  Wolfgang Ansel, Director of the International Green Roof Association  (IGRA), and renowned green roof designer Paul Kephart, of Rana Creek Living Architecture,  will headline this year’s program. (Last year we were lucky to have Greenroofs.com‘s Linda Velazquez and Emory Knoll Farms’ Ed Snodgrass as our keynote speakers!).

Additional programming includes case studies of high profile ecoroof and green building projects, and live demonstrations with ACE Academy (Architecture, Construction, Engineering) students and faculty.

 ~ Matt Burlin

Matt Burlin  is the  Outreach Coordinator  for Sustainable Stormwater Management with the City of Portland Environmental Services (BES).   Contact Matt at 503.823.7863 or his new email address: matt.burlin@portlandoregon.gov.   Visit the City of Portland’s website for complete info.  You can also stay up to date by liking our facebook page.

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.

Rooftop Hopping in Metro Atlanta

October 17, 2009 at 1:19 am

Rachel, Landon, Logan and Curt at Atlanta City Hall

Last Friday October 9, I spent the entire day greenroof hopping in Atlanta with Landon Donoho, a student film director from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and his crew (Rachel, Logan, and Curt).  A friend of our youngest son, Ari, as a senior Landon has to make a documentary for school and decided to do it on greenroofs in the Atlanta area – enter me for a little help!  I gladly obliged since I know so many people here and he is such a nice young man. Bill getting ready for his interview with Landon!We started bright and early (way earlier than I would normally get up) at Atlanta City Hall at 8:00 a.m., where Landon interviewed Bill Brigham who has been intricately involved from day one with the Atlanta City Hall Pilot Green Roof, the first municipal greenroof in the southeast U.S.  If you don’t know Bill yet, you should – he’s a transplant from Jersey and is really funny – in a good way!  He kept us laughing with his continual banter and commentary, with blatant teal blue socks in view.  When asked what his position with the City of Atlanta was, he explained that after 17 years his title was really much more of an epithet: Bill Brigham, ASLA, Principal Landscape Architect/Project Manager, Bureau of Watershed Protection, Department of Watershed Management, City of Atlanta.

Bill and I walking on the Atlanta City Hall Green Roof Pilot GreenroofGreg Harper, the local GreenGrid rep, was there and afterwards showed us a mirror image testing area also off the fifth floor where they’re monitoring plant survival on various GreenGrid modules.  We had quite an entourage as our oldest son, Joey (the screenwriter and director), and our daughter Anjuli (passionate about film herself and an aspiring producer) joined us for a while, too, along with Saul Nurseries’  Kathy Saul and Robin Andrews.

Interviewing Bourke at SouthfaceFrom City Hall we travelled a couple of minutes north to the Southface Energy Institute Eco Office and their Turner Foundation Green Roof, where Landon interviewed Bourke Reeve, a seemingly mild mannered MHP, LEED AP, Technical Associate Commercial Green Building Services kind of guy, but he turned out to be a real natural in front of the camera!  The views of downtown were spectacular.

A close-up at Southface and some maintenance work on the greenroofA view to the west from SouthfaceAfter a very quick lunch next we headed a few blocks north again, and with Greg as our tour leader and were able to see all three of the greenroofs located on the property of the Woodruff Arts Center, home of the High Museum, the Alliance Theatre, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, among other facilities.From the roof of the Atlanta Dormitories of SCAD, you can see the Bunzl Administration Building across the way, the Woodruff Arts Center below, as well as part of the SCAD greenroof itself on the upper left.Via the higher, normally non-publicly accessible roof of the #1 Woodruff Arts Center SCAD Dormitory, we could see across to #2 the Frances Bunzl Administration Center of the High Museum of Art, and down to the actual overstructure roof (over the huge parking garage) of the #3 Woodruff Arts Center itself with one of its sculptures in the garden below in view.

Atop the Atlanta Dormitories of SCAD

The view of midtown Atlanta was great, and from this vantage point we could even see the intensive greenroofs on 1010 Midtown, 1180 Peachtree, and Colony Square.  Greg spoke about the Woodruff Arts’ commitment to sustainability and their efforts to green a multitude of buildings on the campus, and how the SCAD Dormitory was the second GreenGrid roof here after the Bunzl roof.

Reflections at Northpark 500We then rode north up 400 and visited Northpark 400 and Northpark 500, the award-winning office towers and corporate campus.  We spent most of our time filming on 500, which has great vantage views of the some of the Atlanta skyline and the northern suburbs.  While they got great shots of the surroundings and some cool time lapse photography of the gorgeous, fast moving clouds, Landon tried to interview me amidst some very high winds, which didn’t prove too successful – so we returned on Sunday afternoon and re-shot some of that sequence under more peaceful skies.

Northpark 500 and Sky GardensOther greenroof sites were visited by Landon and crew over the weekend including the new Chattahoochee Nature Center and 901 Moreland Avenue, a single family residence, where they interviewed architect David Butler.  We got really lucky with a pretty spectacular, drizzle-only weekend as we were sandwiched by continuous thunderstorms on either end.  These storms accompanied by flash flooding have been wreaking havoc recently on a multitude of Georgia communities, and many are still feeling the effects of the “Flood of 2009.”  It really drives home some of the potentially dangerous effects of stormwater gone wild.

Logan, left, and director Landon, right

Landon hopes to have a finished documentary in about five weeks, and I know he’ll make a great director, he’s really kind and patient and passionate about his craft – all qualities that should guarantee success in life.

Can’t wait to see it! ~ Linda V.

Greenroofs.com Announces the 2009 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof Design!

June 8, 2009 at 3:29 pm

2009 marks the third year of our “Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof Design” – download the Press Release here.   Compiled by our Design Editor, Haven Kiers, and I, we presented the Top 10 List on Friday, June 5, 2009 at the 7th Annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards and Trade Show in Atlanta, GA.

Our time slot was changed by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities from 9:30 am to 8:00 am, so if you went by an older Agenda, you missed us!

In 2007, we explored “chic sustainability” and looked at examples of trailblazing and trendsetting greenroof design.   Last year, we turned to greenroof industry professionals for inspiration and guidance and asked them to share their top 10 trends of 2008 with us.   Together we chose “The Influence of LEED on Design Professionals = Pushing the Green Envelope,” “Sky High Cool Green Schools,” and “Eco-Communities & Eco-Cities” for the top three spots.

This year, the projects we have chosen all share a similar concept – the desire to improve their surrounding environment.   The focus of the Top 10 Trends of 2009 is on greenroof design as a means to combat problems in our world of the built environment versus nature, and restore sustainability to the eco-system.

Sandton City Shopping Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa

I feel the common element running through all the categories this year is the increasing shift in viewing the building not as a single physical element to be manipulated, but holistically – integrating the site, building envelope, and roof with cultural awareness – creating vegetated surfaces in 3-D and truly linking nature to human design.

Without further ado, the

2009 HOT TRENDS in GREENROOF DESIGN:
Top 10 List

10) Client Specific “˜Boutique’ Greenroofs

9)     Design Competitions: Promoting Future Inspiration

8)     Earth-Sheltering for Sustainable Site Design

7)     Master Plans – Greenroofs in Every Corner

6)     Sustainable Stimulus: Green Buildings Creating Green Collar Jobs

5)     LID Strategies: Celebrating Water with Greenroofs, Rain Gardens, Stormwater Catchment & Beyond

4)     Championing the Green Machine: Policy Driven Ecological Development

3)     Healthy, Efficient & Affordable Green Housing

2)     Sky-High Green Living on the Rise: Condos, Townhomes and Lofts
 
1)     “Towers of Power” – Mega Vertical Structures Linking Earth and Sky

The Lilypad, a floating ecopolis with greenroofs and greenwalls for future climate change refugees

As usual, we included built projects, those on the boards, and several which are stunningly conceptual, like “The Lilypad” by Vincent Callebaut, above and below, designed to make us really push  our notion of the possibilities of function and design, and to reprioritize  and rethink our global view of our diminishing natural resources.   Actually, The Lilypad is a “Tower of Power” – Mega Vertical Structures Linking Earth, Sky, and Water!

The Lilypad by Vincent Callebaut. A completely self-sufficient floating city, each is designed to hold around 50,000 people

Missed our presentation?   No problem –  click on  the 2009 PowerPoint here:

Click here to view the Top 10 PowerPoint for 2009

You can also view the 2008 and 2007 PowerPoint presentations of the Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof Design, and the papers, too.   We’ll be posting the 2009 paper – with hyperlinks to each project in The Greenroof Projects Database –  by the end of the month.

Happy Greening!

~ Linda V.