Are ‘green roofs’ the future for commercial buildings?

Green roof
Are green roofs the next wave of the future?

A vote earlier this month in Denver may be a sign of things to come for commercial buildings. Mile-high city voters approved a so-called, “green roof” ordinance.

That makes Denver the fourth major North American city to pass such an ordinance. The rules are modeled on those already in place in Toronto, Chicago and San Francisco.

With adoption by such large cities, it seems likely more localities will at least consider similar ordinances.

But just what does Denver’s new ordinance mandate? The Denver Business Journal breaks it down:

The initiative as written requires buildings in Denver that are 25,000 square feet or larger to install green roof features, such as rooftop gardens, or a combination of gardens and solar-power panels.

The portion of the roof that must be covered by the green features varied between 20 percent and 60 percent, based on the size of the building.

The initiative also directs Denver city officials to create an advisory group to guide the measure’s implementation and to create exemptions, with a cash-in-lieu payment.

Businesses in Denver opposed the ordinance, according to the business journal. But environmental advocates favor green roofs for a variety of reasons, from stormwater runoff control to combating greenhouse gasses.

According to Michigan State University research:

As land continues to be replaced with impervious surfaces due to population growth and urbanization, the necessity to recover green space is becoming increasingly critical to maintain environmental quality.  Installing green roofs is one option that can reduce the negative impact of development while providing numerous environmental, economic, and social benefits.  They can improve stormwater management by reducing runoff and improving water quality, conserve energy, mitigate the urban heat island, increase longevity of roofing membranes, reduce noise and air pollution, sequester carbon, increase urban biodiversity by providing habitat for wildlife, provide space for urban agriculture, provide a more aesthetically pleasing and healthy environment to work and live, and improve return on investment compared to traditional roofs.

This is an interesting development. David Bange Roofing has already incorporated solar roofs into its Florida offerings and prides itself on providing the best service no matter the roof type.

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