Green Roofs in Chicago

While there are many amazing projects in sustainability around the world, there’s an innovative new project right under our noses. The city of Chicago started a new project called “green roofs” by mayor Richard Daley in 2001. This initiative was put in place to, “combat the urban heat island effect and to improve urban air quality.” The first tester roof was put into place at the end of 2001, at the cost of $2.5 million dollars, covering an entire block.

While the green roof is incredibly helpful for environmental reasons, it also has become an economical solution to energy problems. So far, the green roof at Chicago’s city hall saves the city $5,000 per year. This helps with utilities and energy consumption.

The garden also brings a large diversity and amount of plants to the urban landscape. “The 20,300 square foot City Hall rooftop garden has over 20,000 herbaceous plants installed as plugs of more than 150 varieties including 100 woody shrubs, 40 vines and 2 trees.” The green roof is visibly accessible to anyone, however the garden is not public.
Since the implementation of the primary green roof, there have been more green roofs created city-wide. The concept has since branched out to other parts of the nation and world. green roof


3 thoughts on “Green Roofs in Chicago

  1. It is great to know that the city is taking initiative in combatting the issues of poor air quality in urban areas as well as urban heat islands. These are issues that plague many urban areas such as Chicago, and one can see this first hand while living in the city. I am from a relatively rural area a bit Northwest of the city, and I can literally feel how much warmer and more humid it is in the city, as warmth is trapped inside the urban ‘bubble’. This is also a phenomenal way to use every inch of open space, as rooftops often times go unused.


  2. Chicago has taken great strides in promoting environmental sustainability. I love to see how we are utilizing existing infrastructure to add more green life to the urban environment. Hopefully, developments will begin to consider this before they design buildings and try to create buildings that incorporate this idea from the beginning.


  3. One of my favorite projects in Chicago right now in Chicago are the green roofs. I think the part that I like the most about it is that roof space would have been completely useless. It is a simply shift and it makes so much sense. The benefits also pay for themselves quickly. Our sustainability goals can be reached quickly by working this way.


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