Green Roofs Coming to Denver

Green-Roof-Construction5 Green Roofs Coming to DenverGreen initiatives to reduce carbon footprint are going to be increasing city by city, town by town, house by house. For a wonderful read on this subject, Paul Hawken compiled the book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. For all of us pursuing conscious living, this is an inspiring read.

Denver has become one of the latest cities to require rooftop gardens or solar panels on large buildings, which will keep the outdoor air cooler, make storm water easier to manage and reduce the amount of energy burned by air conditioners.

As reported in Boulder’s Daily Camera, here are highlights:

Denver joins San Francisco, New York, Paris, London and other global cities that require or encourage builders to put “green roofs” on large new buildings. Rooftop gardens and solar panels absorb some of the sun’s heat or put it to work generating electricity. Greenery absorbs rainwater and releases it more slowly, so storm sewer systems aren’t overwhelmed, advocates say.

Denver’s measure goes further than most, requiring many existing buildings to be retrofitted with green roofs whenever the old roof wears out and is replaced. Older buildings that can’t support the heavier weight of a green roof could get an exemption.

Advocates concede green roofs cost more, but they argue that they pay for themselves in about six years by keeping buildings cooler, resulting in lower utility bills, and they protect underlying roof materials from wear, so they last longer.Proponents also say green roofs can help cool off urban “heat islands,” which occur when dark, exposed city surfaces bake in the sun all day and release the heat into the air at night. Peck and others claim a host of other benefits: Rooftop gardens are amenities for building residents and office workers, they raise the value of the property and they make buildings more attractive to tenants. The mandate will also create a more certain market for green roof builders. These builders can allocate funds and bring that industry to the city, which will drive costs down.

As California has experienced with Title 24 now ten years into effect, putting cool roofs into building codes has reduced solar heat gain in hot climates along with reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Green roofs work best in colder climates and as the city hall roof in Chicago has demonstrated, produce benefits like lower roof top temperature, decreased energy demands, and noise absorption. The City has published a Guide For Rooftop Gardens in the interest of promoting more building owners to implement them.

Chicago’s City Hall implemented a city block size green roof in 2001 for a cost of $2.5 million funded from a settlement from ComED.
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Green roof at the Asha Centre in Gloucester, England, a retreat center designed around biodynamic farming and green design. Quite a magical place to connect to nature’s regenerative energy.

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To our regenerative future!


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