Bringing green space back to the Emerald City

We here in the Emerald City love our green space. We love our city parks, our pea patches, and our waterfronts. We love our access to the wilderness surrounding the city.

We also take pride in our civic commitment to sustainability. We love our bikes, our locally sourced food, and our recycling programs.

Increasingly, developers are finding ways to incorporate these values into projects, which is crucial to addressing our modern environmental and economic concerns. But there is more we can do. Sustainable building remains primarily reserved for big budget projects, and often takes the form of a selling point. The fact that sustainability is an attractive marketing device is inarguably positive, but we need to move on from talking point to common practice.

The most obvious and prevalent untouched market is in existing structures. While the federal government has a made a push toward energy efficiency retrofits, and consumer technology gradually shifts towards efficiency with LED lighting, energy efficient appliances, renewable building materials and hybrid transportation, there are a number of things we can do to make sustainability common practice for existing home and business owners, as well as developers.

Many of the existing sustainability retrofit options require extensive planning and labor, which add to the already increased cost of new technology. Government incentives and continuing innovation can help mitigate these difficulties. But for a normal family or property owner, the emphasis must be on low cost, low effort options that take the form of sustainable modifications like rainwater collection systems, landscaping, and green roofs.

In order to make options like these attractive to typical property owners, the long term savings should be emphasized and factored into pricing and payment plans. In addition, systems should be simple and adaptable.

Perhaps most importantly, sustainable options should provide positive feedback. An investment in a sustainable addition to one’s property should include an experience, for both the owner and observers, that reinforces the commitment to sustainability, and gives enjoyment, whether it be visual, spatial or philosophical.

Urban Canopy green roofs are designed to incorporate all these aspects, with the aim of bringing sustainability to the average property owner. Our modular system can be fitted to most roofs, both sloped and flat, and is priced with the aim of paying for itself over the course of several years. Water is collected for reuse, taking strain off city drainage infrastructure. And most of all, it provides an attractive, interactive experience. As plants grow and flower, they provide a reminder to owner and observer alike that we are all working together to create a sustainable, enjoyable Emerald city.

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