The Big Picture, The Future of Green Roofing in the Windy City


Green roofs have been inspiring interest for several years now and for good reason, there are many practical benefits to having a green roof, especially in Chicago. Here’s an overview discussing the benefits of green roofing as well as the costs. We’ll also take a look at some of the rules and regulations affecting green roofs in Chicago.

The Beauty Of Green Roofs

There’s something special about a green roof in a large city like Chicago. Practical benefits aside, there is something to be said about the idea of a green topping of Earth meeting the still blue sky. The green roofs that feature ponds and other bodies of water are even more spectacular, representing the meeting point between Earth, Water, and Sky.

What Are The Rules?

One thing that you should apprise yourself of is the FAR, or, Floor-Area Ratio bonus that you can get when constructing a building with a green roof. The zoning codes of Chicago have provisions for a bonus to be awarded to buildings with an excess of 50% green roofing over their roofing area.

There are some specific conditions that you should take into account if you’re interested in qualifying for the FAR bonus. In order for a building to qualify for the FAR bonus a green roof needs to stretch over 50% of the total gross area of the roof minus any area that’s occupied by mechanical equipment.

You will also have to furnish the appropriate documentation to satisfy the requirements to qualify for the Floor-Area Ratio bonus. This documentation includes but is not limited to, papers specifying that the building in question can support the weight load of adding the necessary greenery, water, and plants. You’ll also need to prove that you will have enough space to provide the appropriate depth for plants and vegetation to flourish. Finally, you will also need to make a commitment to having the greenery well-cared for over the duration of the building’s existence.

So what is the big deal about getting a FAR bonus? Builders who qualify for the bonus will be allowed to build more square footage on the plot. As you know, property, and space, is expensive in the city of Chicago.

The Advantages Of Green Roofing In Chicago

If you’re wondering how many benefits there are to having a green roof there answer is, quite a lot! One of the most substantial benefits to having a green roof in the city of Chicago or anywhere for that matter is the fact that it can save you a fortune on energy costs. Having a green roof dramatically reduces the cost of heating and lightens the load on HVAC systems. Both of these factors contribute to a much lower energy bill. You’ll save money on electric and heat.

Green roofing is also beneficial to the city itself because green roofs retain rainfall and subsequently help to facilitate more efficient stormwater management. You’ll also benefit from better insulation, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and higher air quality.

What Are The Costs?

At this point you might be wondering about the cost of having a green roof installed on a commercial building. Before taking a look at the average costs of green roof installation, you have to remember that this type of roofing will actually save you quite a bit of money down the road.

The national average is between $150-$200 per meter squared, although in some areas, the price may be lower or higher. Cost aside, having a green roof installed is a smart idea that you’ll look back on with pride later on.

When gathering information on pricing you should collect quotes from several contractors and zero in on the one that offers the best deal for the quality.

The Big Picture, The Future of Green Roofing in the Windy City

The future of green roofing in the Windy City looks bright. The city of Chicago is gradually moving towards a more sustainable future as it has come to embrace the benefits of environmental responsibility.

When you look at it objectively, it’s easy to see just how inefficient buildings without green roofs really are. Green roofing is here to stay, it’s the way of the future.

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