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On the South Side of Chicago in the Baddest Part of Town

For fans of fall color, it is the most wonderful time of the year. Locally, even just a drive along the New Jersey Turnpike becomes a technicolor assault on the senses. According to the USDA, most of the deciduous forests within the lower forty-eight are currently displaying peak color.

Deciduous forests may be the star of the seasonal color change, but they are not only plant group that is losing chlorophyll and progressing from green to shades of yellow, orange and red. Sedum green roofs are subject to a similar change in color that occurs with the onset of cooler temperatures and shorter days.

The Testa Produce green roof, located in the old Union Stockyards complex on the south side of Chicago, is displaying amazing fall color this year.

Sedum and Phedimus in shades of red, yellow and orange

Sedum and Phedimus in shades of green, red, yellow and orange.

Planted in the fall of 2010, this green roof was designed by Roofmeadow for Testa Produce’s corporate headquarters and distribution facility. The green roof includes a 7,500 square foot barrel roof on the face of the building.

Looking east towards the green roof and the face of the facility.

Looking east towards the green roof and the face of the facility.

The 4.00 inch thick profile on the barrel roof has a maximum pitch of 43 degrees requiring slope stabilization of the growing media. A cellular confinement web contains the growing media and is in turn supported by the weight of the adjacent 31,000 square foot flat green roof, without the aid of any fixed anchors to the building structure.

The flat portion of the green roof, which is responsible for supporting the weight of the media and plants of the barrel roof.

The flat portion of the green roof, which is responsible for supporting the weight of the media and plants of the barrel roof.  The mass of the media supported by this roof is over 90 tons.

Custom pre-grown reinforced sedum mats were used to plant the barrel portion of the green roof, and, five years later, the plants are healthy, and coverage is in excess of 90% of the roof area.

Looking north over the barrel roof, the skyline of Chicago is visible in the background.

Looking north over the barrel roof, the skyline of Chicago is visible in the background.

At it's steepest the pitch of the barrel is 43 degrees. This is Roofmeadow's steepest slope supported green roof to date.

At it’s steepest the pitch of the barrel is 43 degrees. This is Roofmeadow’s steepest slope supported green roof to date.

Once a brownfield site, the Testa building is now LEED Platinum making it the first industrial building to achieve that status. The facility also includes the first free standing wind turbine in the City of Chicago, a solar hot water system, recycled concrete, LED lighting and solar tracking skylights.

What was once the baddest part of town is now, because of Testa Produce, the greenest part of town.

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