World’s largest rooftop greenhouse to open at Chicago factory

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CHICAGO — The Method soap factory is about to make a good block of Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood a lot greener. Literally.

This fall, the eco-friendly soap manufacturer will finish planting a 75,000 square foot greenhouse on the roof of its Southside factory. The facility will take up a space larger than a full city block, making it the largest rooftop greenhouse in the world.

“We need to use our urban spaces more efficiently,” said Saskia Van Gendt, Method’s chief greenskeeper, in an interview with Business Insider. “Rooftop greenhouses are a representation of a model of doing that.”

The facility, built by a New York-based company called Gotham Greens, will use 20 times less land and 10 times less water than a standard agricultural system with the same output. Once fully operational, the greenhouse will grow over 1 million pounds of pesticide-free greens, including kale, arugula, bok choy and butterhead lettuce annually. Gotham Greens will distribute the produce to local stores, farmer’s markets and restaurants.

The greenhouse is just the latest of Method’s many environmentally-friendly innovations. The “ecological factory” is outfitted with three solar “trees,” which move to follow the sun, and a 230 ft. tall wind turbine. Collectively, on-site renewable energy sources supply the factory with one-third of all its power, according to Business Insider.

“We wanted to meet the highest standards of green building,” said Van Gendt.

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