Living Roof Earns Green Kudos and Floor-Ratio Bonus

August 15, 2004 · by DesignIntelligence

When Chicago’s Bank One decided to go with architect DeStefano + Partners’ plan for a green roof on one of the complex’s low-rise towers, the city granted an increase of five square feet for every one square foot of planned green roof.

When Chicago’s Bank One decided to go with architect DeStefano + Partners’ plan for a green roof on one of the complex’s low-rise towers, the city granted an additional floor-area ratio increase of five square feet for every one square foot of planned green roof. The corporate center is a 1.75 million sf office complex comprised of a 37-story office tower and an 11-story low-rise.

That strategy was one of several plans to allow Chicago to implement the federal government’s Urban Heat Island Initiative, which recognizes the impact large city centers have on the heat index and even weather patterns.

The green roof absorbs and dissapates solar heat and lessens stormwater runoff. According to DeStefano, for every inch of rain, one square foot of roof collects about a half-gallon of water, absorbed by the roof’s plants. In this case, the roof on one building’s low-rise 12th story cap is not intended as a public garden, but an environmental benefit. The six-inch thick roof is planted with about 20 varietals.

The Urban Heat Island Initiative began in 1998 as a pilot program that involved the EPA, NASA and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. The Bank One project was presented as a tutorial at the Second Annual International Green Roof Infrastructure Conference this summer in Portland, Ore.

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