Oregon Brewery Installs Green Roof System

EUGENE, Ore. — Clean water is essential to beer making. That’s why it was important to Ninkasi Brewing Company in Eugene to install a hybrid green roof system that would improve the quality of water in the areas surrounding the brewery.

The brewery’s roof is a living, planted system from Spring Lake, Mich.-based LiveRoof. The hybrid roof system incorporates the aesthetic appeal of a garden with green roof technology, and is visible above the front entrance and from windows throughout the facility.

The roof system reduces stormwater runoff and filters pollutants that might be deposited into local streams, lakes and rivers. Inside a box, plants are grown to maturity, about an inch above the box. The boxes are fastened securely to the building’s roof by an aluminum edge restraint. The system also moderates the temperature of runoff water, which minimizes its effect on local aquatic life.

“We strive to improve the lives of our customers, the residents of our communities, our employees and our business partners,” said Nikos Ridge, CEO and co-founder of Ninkasi, in a statement. “Pure, clean water is an essential ingredient to our beer, so it makes sense that we would design our facilities in a way that is sensitive to local waterways. The green roof helped us to achieve this and had the added benefit of a spectacular view for our visitors and staff.”

Greenery for the rooftop was provided by Cornelius, Ore.-based GreenFeathers. The company typically delivers plants to residential properties, but the company has experience with commercial buildings, including Planned Parenthood and Oregon State University’s Student Success Center.

The brewery also tapped local, Eugene-based landscape architecture firm Cameron McCarthy and landscape contractor Rexius, also based in Eugene.

“This project has been very rewarding,” said Grace Dinsdale, president of GreenFeathers, in a statement. “We knew that sustainability was a high priority for Ninkasi and feel proud to have contributed to those efforts through use of recycled materials, locally sourced plants and soil, and sustainable growing practices.”

Oregon’s adult beverage areas have been rapidly embracing green technologies. In Oregon wine country, Sokol Blosser, located in Dayton, Ore., is a LEED certified winery that boasts a green roof and cantilevered overhangs that reduce heat and glare.

Oregon Trail Brewery, another Oregon microbrewer, is a big proponent of keeping its business sustainable. Owner Jim Wills prefers reusable containers, and told healthygreenpages.com that glass bottles “just get crushed and made into new ones,” which isn’t very energy-efficient. The beer sold outside of the brewery comes in what are called “party pigs,” a mini-keg that can be reused.

LiveRoof gained notoriety in July, when it provided the first green roof at the University of Iowa. The Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building, a 200,000-square-foot, six-story facility now has a 6,440-square-foot green roof. The rooftop system is intended to help the university achieve a LEED Gold certification for the building.

“They capture rainwater, filter it and release some of it slowly, thus reducing temperature and runoff impacts in the watershed,” Liz Christiansen, director of the University of Iowa Office of Sustainability, said in a statement about why the college installed the eco-friendly system. “Green roofs protect the roofing membrane and prolong its life, as well as moderate the urban heat island effect. These benefits reduce long-term maintenance costs for buildings and grounds. Green roofs can help the UI achieve its goal in the area of energy conservation, because green roofs reduce the demands on building cooling, especially during periods of peak electricity demand.”

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