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Study on How Green Roofs Can Reduce Heat Effects
Conducted in Chicago

Study on How Green Roofs Can Reduce Heat Effects

The city of Chicago's website states there are currently 509 vegetated roofs within city limits. A map of all of them is viewable on their website. Pictured is the Chicago City Hall building which includes 20,300 square feet of green rooftop, with more than 150 varieties of plants.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A study led by the University of Notre Dame, in collaboration with researchers from Texas A&M University, examined Chicago's census tracts, climate models and electricity consumption maps, and determined which areas held the largest amount of residents most vulnerable to heat wave effects.

From this information, the team was able to decipher where the best places to install future green roofs would have the biggest reduction of: temperatures, electricity consumption and injuries/fatalities.

The reason that this study was important is because the city of Chicago already has 5.5 million square feet of green roof coverage and has set the goal of 6,000 green roofs by 2020. They currently have 509 green roofs in the city, so planning for an additional 5,491 is advantageous.

The next step for the researchers is to account for multiple variations, like changing weather conditions throughout the year or day, as well as looking into the creation of a technique for implementing their method in other cities around the country.

Ashish Sharma, research assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences at the University of Notre Dame, who led the study, was quoted in a Texas A&M news article as having said, "What we've seen when it comes to urban planning is decisions are made without interdisciplinary input. Now, we have a framework for answering the question, how do we improve urban resilience to extreme heat?"

The Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative, the Notre Dame Center for Research Computing, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the United States Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture, funded the study.

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August 24, 2019, 1:11 am PDT

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