Green Roof Development on Historic Properties

Historic buildings are great opportunities for sustainable development and are regularly being rehabilitated to incorporate green design features while still preserving their historic character. One way of increasing the sustainability and energy performance of a building is to install a green roof.

We’ll help you navigate local, state, and federal historic preservation guidelines in order to have the best of both worlds - historic preservation and energy savings.

What is a Green Roof?

A green roof is a layer of vegetation planted over a waterproofing system that is installed on top of a flat or slightly–sloped roof. Green roofs are also known as vegetative or eco–roofs. The appropriate depth of any green roof depends on the roof structure, the plants chosen, annual rainfall, and stormwater performance requirements.

Some green roofs are installed in one large integrated section, while modular green roofs use small portable planting beds placed together to create a larger green roof. The modular units are often plastic or metal trays filled with growing medium. Modular green roofs can be installed incrementally and are easily removed for maintenance and inspection of the roof layers underneath. 

Why Have a Green Roof?

The installation of green roofs on historic buildings helps to improve energy efficiency, makes them more environmentally beneficial to the community and building occupants, and allows the buildings to continue operations while updating them for modern environmental standards.

  • Save money on energy bills

  • Improve stormwater management

  • Reduce Urban Heat Island effect

  • Insulate the building

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emmissions

  • Extend roof life

International Green Roof Success Stories


Chicago City Hall

Chicago, Illinois

Union Stables 2 credit- Lease Crutcher Lewis .png

Union Stables Building

Seattle, Washington


National Bohemian Brewery

Baltimore, Maryland

Want a green roof at your historic property?