CHICAGO-The city is still very much the leader in one form ofenvironmentally-friendly development. According to a recent surveyby Toronto-based Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, Chicago is leadingthe way by a wide margin in the growth of green-roof projects, withmore than 550,000 square feet in the Chicagoland area in 2009.

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The organization this week released its 2010 industry survey,which indicated that the green roof industry has grown more than16% since last year. However, Chicago’s efforts tower over the restof the nation; as the next strongest green-roof installer isWashington, DC with just less than 200,000 square feet.

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Jeffrey Bruce, chairman of the organization, said that thebenefits of installing growing vegetation atop a new or refurbishedbuilding are numerous, such as better stormwater and air quality,and the reduction of heat build-up in downtown areas. “Policies incities such as Chicago, New York, Washington, Portland,Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Toronto are making a difference,” hesaid in a statement.

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Chicago has codes in place to offer incentives to builders whoinclude green roof technology. Examples of uses in the city includethe 25-acre roof on the Millennium Park garage, the roof on CityHall, and commercial projects such as the proposed roof on TestaProduce Inc.’s 91,000-square-foot warehouse at 4555 S. Racine Ave.,and at the new 353 N. Clark St. building.

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Steven Peck, founder and president of the organization, saidthat green roofs are installed in about 10 million square feet outof about the four billion square feet built in North Americaannually. The target is to get to 20% green roof coverage by 2020,he said in the statement.

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