Hillsdale Library has four bioswales, or trenches designed to concentrate and filter stormwater runoff, from the library’s roof and driveway. The bioswales are home to plants native to the Pacific Northwest which do not require irrigation, and in turn decreases Multnomah County's water use and reduces the branch's water bill. While using less water, the plants found throughout the Library's landscape provides shelter and food for wildlife. The area behind the building, adjacent to the bioswales, is a large native maple tree and smaller native plants which also provides habitat for birds and insects.
As the landscape surrounding the Library provides a bountiful and peaceful habitat for wildlife, staff who work indoors benefit, too. Hillsdale Library staff member, Liz von Behren, who was instrumental in working on the certification process explained, "Hillsdale is a wonderful place to work because of the LEED features of the building and the natural surroundings. Working in an environment that is free of chemical odors and full of natural light, with birds visible from the workroom in our backyard habitat is uplifting to staff. Sustainable practices at work bring staff together in a common purpose that makes them feel that they are contributing to a better world."
In addition to creating a sustainable landscape, the branch received LEED-Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in November 2004, and Gold certification from the City of Portland's Sustainability at Work program in 2018.