Denver Updates Green Roof Initiative

The city joins a growing list of municipalities implementing policies and programs that use roof space to support healthier and more sustainable communities.

Denver City Council has approved the reviewed and revised Green Roof Ballot Initiative, which was supported by a majority of Denverites in the November 2017 election. The original version of the initiative required green roofs on all new and existing buildings.

A 24-member technical committee formed after the election  expanded the number of options available to building owners, as most existing buildings do not have enough loading capacity for a green roof.

More options to choose from

The revised version gives building owners that need to replace a roof the option to implement a reflective one, along with either renewable energy, support for other forms of green infrastructure, LEED Silver or equivalent, implement higher efficiency measures or provide financial support for offsite green space. New buildings will have eight compliance options, including a green roof, solar array covering 70 percent of the roof, LEED Gold or energy efficiency measures 12 percent greater than the current energy code.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of our advocacy efforts in Denver, more than a year and half in the making,” said in prepared remarks Steven Peck, founder & president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the non-profit industry-based association that advocated in support of the original ballot initiative. “Many of our members stepped forward to support this effort, with funding for citizens and technical support. More and more cities are realizing that their rooftops are valuable assets and with new policies, they can deliver stormwater management, reduce the urban heat island, save energy, support biodiversity and contribute to much needed green space,” he added.

Denver joins a growing list of cities that are implementing policies and programs that use roof space to support healthier and more sustainable communities. The list of cities includes Cordova, Spain; Toronto; Paris; Washington, D.C.; Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Copenhagen, Tokyo, London and Chicago. New York City and Vancouver, Canada, are currently considering mandatory green roof legislation.