Denver: Green Roofs Now Required

According to an article in the Denver Post, downtown Denver is about 5 degrees hotter than surrounding areas in the summer due to the heat radiating from concrete rooftops and pavement. Denver ranks third in the country for the severity of the “urban heat island” effect — described as a phenomenon that increases air conditioning use and worsens air quality.

Citing a solution, the Denver Green Roof Initiative placed an initiative on the November 7 ballot, which recently passed, that will require buildings 25,000 square feet and over, constructed after January 1, 2018, to cover at least 20 percent of their roofs with gardens or solar panels. Denver joins San Francisco, New York, London and Paris in cities around the world with similar requirements.

Realtors, contractors and builders opposed the initiative, citing a rise in construction and housing costs as their primary concern. The Green Roof Initiative estimates a green roof will cost about $15 more per square foot than a traditional roof but will pay for itself in six years.