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Denver Repeals Green Roof Law on its First Birthday


Green roof on urban building.

Apparently, it's not easy to be green if you're a roof in Denver. One year after 54 percent of city voters approved a green roof ordinance, the Denver City Council has thrown it out. In a unanimous decision, the city council replaced the green roof law with a cool roof law, according to The Denver Post.

The original green roof ordinance applied to facilities with at least 25,000 square feet of gross floor area and required a percentage of the roof be vegetated. At the minimum, 20 percent of the roof had to be vegetated, up to a maximum of 60 percent required vegetated roof area for facilities 200,000 square feet or greater.

Built into the green roof ordinance was an exit strategy available to the city council after six months. With a two-thirds majority, the city council could make changes to the new ordinance. In place of the green roof requirement, the city council instituted a requirement for reflective roofing on new or re-roof projects on buildings with more than 25,000 square feet.

Projects also will have to implement an additional strategy from a long list of add-ons, including: installing some vegetation on the roof or paying a fee to offset the green space requirement; installing some vegetation plus solar or achieve energy efficiency gains above code; or installing a much greater percentage of solar or other renewable energy.

Projects also can instead add on certification, including LEED Gold, Enterprise Green Communities, National Green Building Standard ICC/ASHREA 700, or an equivalent.

This Quick Read was submitted by Naomi Millán, senior editor, Building Operating Management. 

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