By Shannon Madden
New construction provides a perfect opportunity for integrating green infrastructure in building design, and that’s exactly what’s happening at a new two-flat at Gresham and Barry avenues in Logan Square. The comprehensive design will manage stormwater well from the beginning, reducing runoff by roughly 1,060 gallons per 1” storm and preventing about 38 pounds of suspended solids from entering the combined sewer system each year.
An extensive green roof and rooftop lounge illustrate how stormwater management and functional space go hand in hand. Thanks to LiveRoof trays, a modular system of light-weight, vegetated units, precipitation will nourish plants instead of running directly off the roof. Gravel on the rest of the roof provides additional stormwater storage capacity and creates a usable lounge area for residents. In addition to capturing much of the building’s runoff, rooftop gardens and green roofs like this can reduce the costs of heating and cooling buildings – an added benefit of rooftop green infrastructure.
The property will have ground-level green infrastructure, too. Four rain barrels will collect additional runoff from the roof. The downspouts on the south side of the building will convey water to rain barrels, where it can be used to irrigate native plants and rain gardens in front of and behind the home. Deep-rooted native plants and soils enriched with mulch and compost will infiltrate and store excess precipitation, again reducing runoff.
Once the building is fully constructed this summer, Environments Studio and its contractors will begin installing the green infrastructure. By fall, residents of the brand new home will be able to lounge on the rooftop and see beautiful native plants outside their windows – all while providing the Logan Square community with a little respite from stormwater woes.