As part of its efforts to promote sustainability, Rush has incorporated green roofs — roofs that are partially or completely covered with vegetation and soil, planted over waterproof material — into the new hospital and other campus buildings.
Green roofs play a crucial ecological role on campus. Rather than going into storm sewers and eventually to water treatment plants, much of the rainwater that falls on the green roofs is captured and stored to nourish the plants.
Green roofs also provide shade and remove heat from the air, reducing temperatures of the roof surface and the surrounding air. On hot summer days, the surface temperature of a green roof can be cooler than the air temperature. Green roofs also are believed to absorb heat and act as an insulator for buildings, reducing energy needed to provide heating and cooling.
The new hospital has several green roofs, including one atop the bed tower, covering the four butterfly-shaped sections. Another is on the ninth floor and will be open to staff, with benches and a walking path. In addition, the Edward A. Brennan Entry Pavilion contains a green roof garden that also includes indigenous landscaping.
The rooftop gardens were designed to grow a combination of local plants that bloom in different cycles, varying the colorful view from season to season. They also give patients and families a way to connect with and relax in the outdoors.
Other green roofs are atop the Orthopedic Building and the loading dock.