A state-funded organization that fosters technology-based economic development and is concerned with addressing environmental challenges in Oregon is helping university researchers push technology into industry through a manufacturer of green roof technology.

Founded as the Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center, Oregon BEST, www.oregonbest.org, Portland, Ore., has established a network of shared-user research laboratories and collaborates with four universities. Oregon BEST Commercialization Funding is competitively awarded to collaborations between entrepreneurs and Oregon BEST member faculty at partner universities.

In an example of the commercialization approach supported, a modeling tool developed at Portland State University (PSU) is helping local green roof manufacturer Columbia Green Technologies, www.columbia-green.com, Portland, Ore. The initiative is seen as speeding adoption of green roofs to meet legislation aimed at reducing combined sewer overflows during heavy rains.

Also called eco-roofs or vegetative roofs, green roofs are promoted by the company, which partners with manufacturers of waterproofing materials and offers solutions for extensive, semi-intensive, and intensive roof gardens.

Columbia Green uses the new tool, which resulted from a research project funded by Oregon BEST, and led by Graig Spolek, a PSU professor and director of the Green Roof & Design Lab, when working with civil engineers and architects who need accurate, quantitative data about how much stormwater a green roof in a specific geographical location will both retain and detain.

“The green roof stormwater management tool developed by Columbia Green is specific to green roofs and developed using both theory and empirical data for multiple geographies across varying storm intensities, making it a valuable resource in building our confidence in the stormwater management benefits of green roofs.” says Eric Zickler, an associate principal at Los Angeles-based engineering firm AECOM, www.aecom.com.

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