The campus at Chicago Green Tech features mostly plants
that are native to this region of the Midwest and does not
feature any traditional turf grass. Water conservation is
critical at CCGT, and turf grass requires significantly more
water to survive than do native plants. Grass roots are only a
few inches deep so they dry out very quickly, but the roots of
native plants can grow up to 12 feet deep and therefore are
much more efficient at collecting and storing water. Turf
grass covers approximately 20 million acres in the United
States, covering more land than any single agricultural
In addition to lots of water, regular grass needs
fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides in order to stay green
and lush. These chemicals ultimately get washed into our
rivers, ponds and lakes. Native plants have grown to adapt to
the region and have built up a tolerance to the local pests,
the heat and the cold, the times of drought and intense
rain.This means they do not need chemicals in order to
survive. There is no plan to use any landscaping chemicals at
Chicago Green Tech and by not having any grass, there will be
no need to mow or use other gas-powered maintenance
Landscaping with native plants is
a good investment:
- Native plants save money. A recent study of larger
properties estimates that over a 20 year period, the
cumulative cost of maintaining a prairie or a wetland totals
$3,000 per acre versus $20,000 per acre for non-native turf
grasses. Information from a study conducted by Applied
- Native plants provide shelter and food for wildlife.
Native plants attract a variety of birds, butterflies, and
other wildlife by providing diverse habitats and food
sources. Closely mowed lawns do not provide essential food
or shelter to wildlife.
- Native plants require fewer pesticides than lawns.
Nationally, over 70 million pounds of pesticides are applied
to lawns each year. Due to heavy watering and rain,
pesticides run off lawns and contaminate rivers and lakes.
People and pets in contact with chemically treated lawns can
be exposed to unhealthy pesticides.