The Emerging Emerald City
According to industry expert Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, as of 2007 Chicago has surged ahead of all other American cities to become the green roof top dog, with our green rooftop space totaling 517,633 square feet last year. Our fair city is also expecting an additional 4 million square feet of gardens to be completed or under construction by the end of 2008.
Mayor Daley provides major incentives for builders and developers to contribute to his green roof initiative, using programs like the Green Roof Improvement Fund to award financial assistance to eligible residential and commercial sites in the financial district who pledge to install a green roof. The city also dangles money in front of developers by providing public financial incentive worksheets, faster approvals for construction projects that include a green roof, and in the newly released Chicago Climate Action Plan, an entire section devoted to the cost-savings analysis of Energy Efficient Buildings.
On a related note, beekeepers are busy harvesting the honey that has accumulated over the summer from the four beehives situated on City Hall’s green roof. Rooftop Honey is sold in the Chicago Cultural Center shop and across the street at the Randolph Farmstand.