Chicago Green Roofs

Chicago has been in the news for a long time regarding its environmental practices. I remember frequently hearing about Chicago’s green roofs and green infrastructure from the time I was eighteen until now. It did not click with me at first, but the bigger sustainability gets, the more I realize just how close this city was to the forefront of this movement. I remember learning about the Chicago City Hall green roof in 2008, and it was already more than 5 years old. At the time of installation the architect was quoted as saying “This is unique to Chicago.”1 Since then, Chicago has had an initiative to install green roofs all over the city.

The City of Chicago’s website has a section devoted to sustainability initiatives and incentives. One of their main pages is that on green roofs. It tells you that Chicago has over 5 million square feet of green roof, and that is 5 times more is elective green roofs than what Chicago requires.2 This is one of the more successful initiatives in urban areas nationwide.

To answer some of our prompts, the history of this policy in the city of Chicago goes all the way back to the first green roof on City Hall. It was installed in 2001, on arguably the most important building in the city. It was a statement installation, and has motivated others to do the same. With it being so successful, there has been no need for the initiative to change. The city has embraced this highly successful sustainable practice and has made it their own. Nowadays, there is not a new development that does not at the very least consider a green roof.






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