Denver, Colorado may become the latest American city to require buildings to have green roofs. On Friday, November 24, the vote for Denver’s Initiative 300 was scheduled to be tallied and certified.
Initiative 300 is a potential legislation that would create a new building code for the city of Denver. The code would require solar panels or green roofs for buildings 25,000 square feet or larger. However, the code would only apply to buildings constructed after January 1, 2018.
The green roof ordinance was advocated by the Denver Green Roof Initiative, a grassroots group aiming to reduce pollution in Colorado. Colorado currently ranks as the eighth state in the country with the worst ozone pollution. It also ranks third for the highest heat island, an effect caused when cities are a few degrees higher than the surrounding areas.
According to The Associated Press, Initiative 300 differs from other green roof ordinances. Unlike cities such as San Francisco and New York, Initiative 300 will require buildings constructed prior to January 1, 2018 to install a green roof after the current one ages.
A commercial roof will typically last up to 20 years or longer. Only buildings in Denver that are too old to support the weight of a green roof will be exempted from the ordinance.
“Initiative I-300 will contribute to improving Denver’s air quality, increasing the energy efficiency of its buildings, mitigating the urban heat island effect, managing stormwater runoff, and creating habitat for pollinators and other insects,” said Food and Water Watch Rocky Mountain Region Director, Lauren Petrie. “We are dedicated to a more sustainable future in Denver …”
The ballot for this initiative showed a 54% approval rating as of Thursday, November 16. However, the ordinance wasn’t positively received at the beginning of its legislation.
A green roof will cost property owners an additional $15 per square foot than it would cost them for a regular commercial roof. Because of this, many Denver businesses spent up to $250,000 in total to advertise against the Initiative. Despite this, Denver Green Roof Initiative pointed out that property owners would make back their investment and then some in as little as six years.
“We believe that the developers of Denver could be doing more to negate their footprint in our beautiful city,” said Denver Green Roof Initiative. “We believe green roofs are the answer.”