You may have noticed eco roofs “sprouting” up around town. I remember the first time I saw one, I thought it was a totally unkempt disaster roof. Then, as I looked closely, I could see flowers and grasses that looked too lovely to be an accident or simple neglect. That was a few years ago, and ever since, I have been mildly obsessed with the idea of eco roofs.
The Hawthorne Hostel (pictured) was the first eco roof on Hawthorne Blvd. and has an informative sign out front describing the system. I see people staring and taking pictures all the time, some in bewilderment and some in fascination. It’s my favorite building on the Boulevard because of this.
In short, an eco roof is a green structure that is living, breathing, and sustainable alternative to a traditional roofing system. Using a combination of carefully layered soil and vegetation, their primary job is to delay and filter water runoff helping with watersheds.
However, the benefits are sprawling, and the more I learn about them, the more I am fascinated and compelled to be a crusader for this growing cause:
-Hot weather can heat surfaces in urban environments and create a “heat island effect.” An eco roof can absorb heat much better than a traditional roofing surface.
-An eco roof can absorb pollutants and help promote clean air.
-They provide upper level insulation for buildings, thus directly reducing heating and cooling costs.
-A habitat is created for animals and insects that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
-They look awesome!!
-And if that’s not enough, they also save money! With a life span almost twice that of a traditional roof, you won’t be replacing them nearly as often. Additionally, you may also be able to save with discounts and incentives from the city for helping with the local environment!
In May 2011, the City of Portland had 288 eco roofs that covered a total of 14 acres. By the end of 2013, the city hopes the number of acres will triple. The city gives a credit of up to $5/square foot as well as other incentives to those who’d like to tackle such a worthwhile (and beautiful!) project.
A thanks to portlandoregon.gov for a lot of this helpful information and the diagram credit. If you’d like to get in touch with the city to see how you and your home can benefit from an eco roof, check out Portlandonline.com/ecoroof or email besEcoroof@portlandoregon.gov.
For the fourth year in a row, Realty Trust has been named 33rd out of 100 of the Best Green companies to work for in Oregon. Oregon Business Magazine led the survey, which asked over 18,000 employees of over 440 Oregon companies questions regarding green and sustainable business practices and how empowered and inspired workers are to participate in these practices.
Here at Realty Trust Hawthorne, we have the added distinction of boasting the Greenest Real Estate office in the city of Portland, earning a Gold Level award from the Sustainability at Work program which is a section of the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. We worked very hard to achieve this elite distinction, doing so by finding every way we could to meet and exceed the requirements set forth for the Gold Level.
On a personal note, I am so pleased to work for a company that so values the environment and instills in it’s employees a sense of necessity to better our practices as brokers and a community. I consider myself one of the Greenest (if not the Greenest) realtor in Portland, boasting an almost paperless process (we can never be totally paperless – Oregon regulations and such..), using technology to keep myself on the leading edge of green advancements, and being the first broker at Realty Trust to use a fully electric car in my business.
At Realty Trust, we are proud to keep sustainability and green practices on the forefront of how we operate as a company. If you have any recommendations or suggestions to help us better our green ways, all comments and suggestions are more than welcome!
About a week ago, the Realty Trust’s Hawthorne Office found out that we received a Gold Level of certification from the Sustainability At Work program. This program is in partnership by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Water Bureau, Bureau of Environmental Services, Bureau of Transportation, Metro, Pacific Power and the Energy Trust of Oregon and works hard to help local businesses become more sustainable through specific actions. With this certification, we can now boast that we are the only real estate office in the City of Portland to reach the Gold Level of achievement.
To become certified, we had to complete 45 actions from a list that included everything from green education, to conserving water and paper, to having green materials and appliances in use, and everything in the middle. When we first started the certification process, we realized that we could easily qualify as a Silver Level office, but we wanted to “go for the gold”. We reviewed the list thoroughly and found areas we could improve upon and began implementing some of the actions mentioned. Before we knew it, our office was running even more efficiently than ever and we made it to the Gold Level as intended.
Realty Trust Hawthorne is committed to sustainability and greener living and we are honored for the Sustainability at Work program to recognize our efforts. There is always room for improvement though and we are striving to better our score for next year’s evaluation.
If you have any questions on how to live more sustainably, shoot us an email or give us a call and we’d be happy to talk with you about some of the small things that we do that make a big difference.