Green Roofs Keep on Growing

Find the Right One for Your Home


They may have originated in Babylon—but green roofs have found a new home in Chicago.

Thanks to the Mayor’s strong backing of eco-friendly permits and building grants,
Chicago now has more square footage of green roofs than any other American city.

Besides the aesthetic benefits, green roofs can prove an environmentally and economically sensible choice for homeowners. The green surface reflects light and reduces the heat island effect, absorbs and manages storm water, and reduces energy needs. While green roofs do lower heating and cooling bills by 20% - 30%, an additional economic incentive is a greatly increased lifespan. 

There are two types of green roofs that can be installed on your home: extensive roofs that have as little as 1" to 5" of soil depth and intensive green roofs that require a minimum of 12" of soil. Intensive will let you grow shrubs and trees, but requires more maintenance and a flat surface. Extensive roofs, on the other hand, are more flexible and can even work on sloped surfaces.


A new advance in the construction of green roofs is modular systems like the GreenGrid. Their 2' by 2'-long modular trays of various soil depths can be combined to fit any roof size—or budget. The planting trays, made of recycled plastic, can be moved in and off the roof and rotated for maximum sun exposure.


The Chicago Center for Green Technology used a similar system for their extensive roof.  “The design is simple and easy to rearrange or adjust over the life of the roof as preferences or roof use may change over time,” says director Stephen Bell.


So stop trying to keep up with the Joneses' green lawn.  Go for a green roof instead.


Click to learn more about the GreenGrid system or for a guide on residential green roofs provided by the City of Chicago. For an overview of Chicago's green roof program, click here.
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