The 2011 Annual Industry Survey by Green Roofs for Health Cities (GRHC) found that the sector grew faster in 2010 than in 2009, when the rate of increase was 16 percent. Last year Chicago was the city with the biggest square footage of green roofs for the seventh year in a row, with more than 500,000 square feet installed. It was closely followed by Washington, D.C., GRHC said.
“Government investment in green roofs for their stormwater, air quality, green space and city cooling benefits largely fuels the growth of our industry,” GRHC founder and president Steven Peck said. “Cities such as Chicago, Washington, New York, Portland, Seattle and Philadelphia continue to lead the way with incentives and regulations that recognize the many benefits from green roofs, including much needed green jobs in their communities.
“We are also seeing tremendous leadership within the federal government and its agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and General Services Administration.”
Green roofs are roofs planted with vegetation to absorb rainwater and help regulate temperatures. In Chicago, more than 600 green roofs have been or are being built, the city Department of Environment said.
GRHC chair Jeffrey Bruce said, “As the green roof and wall industry develops further we will see costs come down and benefits to building owners rise, through the application of integrated design practices that turn wasted roof and wall spaces into value added urban farms, habitat, recreational spaces, horticultural therapy centers, energy conservation, green energy production, and stormwater management infrastructure.”