Repurposed materials • Low-impact planning
Re-use beats recycling every time, so we've re-purposed this historic property as our staff offices, meeting, and workshop space. One of our goals on the property was to use as much of the existing infrastructure as possible - after all, recycling starts with reusing wherever possible. As we planned our new parking lot, the sections that were still in good shape were left intact. Then, as the old parking lot was being demolished we saved as much of the concrete as possible to be used elsewhere on the property.
Thanks in part to a Metro Nature in Neighborhoods grant, we've installed demonstration naturescaping, rain gardens, pervious concrete, pavers set in sand, lawn alternatives, downspout planters, flow-through planters, and even a composting toilet. Now when we teach about the benefits of these water saving practices, we can literally walk out the door and show folks a working example!At the same time, we're providing much needed green space to an under-natured neighborhood. The extensive landscaping, wildlife habitat, and downspout art enhance the livability of this densely populated area.
Less Water Usage • Low-impact planning • Low sewer runoff
Composting is a familiar process to many rural and suburban residents. Organic materials, such as leaves, lawn clippings and food waste, are placed in a pile or enclosure. Over time, in the presence of oxygen, heat, and moisture, biochemical processes convert the material to stabilized compost, which resembles rich, dark, potting soil. Pathogens are nearly eliminated and the volume of the organic material is reduced by 90 percent or more.
The same biochemical processes are employed by our composting toilet to treat human waste. A composting toilet is a system that provides an environment for aerobic (in the presence of oxygen) decomposition. It is a miniature, on-site waste treatment plant right beneath your feet.
Low-water, low-runoff garden • Attracts local birds and butterflies • Hardier against pests
Our natives don't stop at Oregon grape! We have planted over 100 different native species to showcase their color and variety. Native plants need relatively little or no watering, fertilizing, or care once established. They are also less susceptible to pests, and they attract a variety of native birds and butterflies. Plants with similar tastes in water and light are grouped together to further reduce water and maintenance.
Naturescaping reduces water use, stormwater runoff, and pollution without sacrificing splendor. It also saves time, money, and energy while providing a beautiful habitat for birds, wildlife, and the people that live near it.
Rain Gardens and the Gutter Tree
Reduces water run-off • Low water usage
Water from our downspouts and gutter tree run into rain gardens that hold stormwater runoff from disconnected downspouts and allow it to soak into the ground naturally. This helps reduce pollution that gets into our streams.
The top bucket of our gutter tree collects runoff from the roof of the building. Each planted bucket takes a turn carrying and passing stormwater to the next until it reaches an outfall at ground level where the water is received by a rain garden. The planter mimics some of the ecological functions of a forest. The plants of the Bucket Brigade drink up and transpire some of the stormwater from the roof, the rest meanders down and soaks into the earth or evaporates rather than ending up in the city's overloaded stormwater system.
Stop by during our business hours and ask for a tour or watch one right now!
Less water runoff • Thermal insulation • Low-impact planning
The plants and growing medium on the ecoroof on the porch help absorb rainfall. In addition, the vegetation helps cool the air and reduces the summer temperatures on the roof and in the second floor offices that face the green roof. Another added bonus is that ecoroof will protect the roof from the elements and could double its lifespan.
An ecoroof weighs significantly more than a conventional roof, so it was necessary to make significant structural reinforcements to the building to be able to handle the weight of the plants, water, and growing medium.
Less water runoff • Low-impact planning
As far as water is concerned, it's like this parking lot isn't even there. Rain flows right down through the pervious concrete, between the pavers and deep into the ground. That means no runoff, which is much better for rivers and streams..