While green roofs are touted as management practices for coping with climate change, is there any direct relationship between green roofs in the city of Chicago and per capita energy usage? Noah Boggess, a graduate student in DePaul’s MA in Sustainable Urban Development, addresses this question using data from the City of Chicago’s Data portal from the year 2010.
This map highlights the higher per capita energy consuming community areas in darker shade, and the lower energy areas in lighter shade. The energy usage is overlaid with green roofs shown as solid black circles, in which the size of circles represents vegetated square feet of green roofs.
The map reveals high energy usage in central neighborhoods. The Near North has the most green roofs of any neighborhood in the city while boasting the highest per capita energy usage from 2010. The map inset shows green roofs in the Loop. It was found that, at this time, there is no strong connection between green roofs and energy usage in Chicago, likely because there are not enough green roofs to have a large impact.