Portland Realtor Insider: Rooftop Gardening Trend “Grows” in Portland

As the temperature drops, we’re all thinking about fall. At the McDonald Group, we love this time of year with all of the gorgeous colors in the trees, golden sunlight breaking through the dark clouds, and the swirling leaves that dance through the trees. For some people around the country, fall means getting ready to clear out the garden for the winter ahead, but a lot of people in Portland have found creative ways to keep their gardens growing all year long. One way Portland-area homeowners keep the green alive is by planting an ecoroof that thrives in the rainy season. What’s even better, Portland citizens are eligible for benefits from the Grey to Green initiative, the city’s effort to increase the number of ecoroofs in town by offering cash payments for home and business owners willing to make the swap.

Ecoroof gardeners can receive up to $5 per square foot, which makes the ecoroof both eco-friendly and cost-friendly.

If you haven’t heard of ecoroofs, they are truly a twenty-first century marvel. These resource-saving roofs made of a soil-filled structure where several strong root system-growing plants are cultivated to absorb water and lesson the burden on the city’s gutters and sewers. Other benefits include longevity – ecoroofs last about twice as long as traditional shingled roofs – less maintenance, and a reduced energy bill, as ecoroofs help to insulate a house, keeping it cool in the summer and warm in the cooler months .

Since the city program was initiated in 2008, Portland has handed out more than a million dollars for 98 ecoroofs in town, but the city is striving for about six times that amount within the next three years. If successful, that amount of ecoroof coverage could reduce the seasonal impact on the city’s sewer system by about 17.6 million gallons of water, as well as keeping pollutants out of Portland’s sensitive ecological areas and improving air quality. That’s a huge impact!

If you’re interested in investing in the smart choice of an ecoroof, there are many city organizations established to make your transition to an ecoroof easy. For initial information, check out the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services website. If you’re thinking about applying for the city’s Grey to Green grant program, you’re in luck – the next round of applications will be available at the Bureau’s website on October 1st, and will be accepted until December 1st.

If you’re trying to sell a home in Portland, an ecoroof could be the perfect investment to set your home above the competition. Green homes are selling well, even in this tough economy, because buyers are looking for sustainable renovations and homes for sale in neighborhoods that value resource protection. Take the plunge and do something smart for the earth, your wallet, and the city of Portland.


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