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Voters Consider A 'Green Roof' Mandate For Denver Buildings

By Desirée Kaplan

People often think of Denver as a green city with an eco-conscious population. Yet, according to a study conducted by Climate Central, Denver produces one of the worst “heat island” effects in the United States. The heat radiating off of pavements and rooftops creates this effect. Denver came in third place right after Vegas and Albuquerque, two desert cities.

As a solution to this issue, The Denver Green Roof Initiative proposal is giving voters a choice to require buildings to have green rooftops with gardens and/or solar panels. If voted in, the new rule will require green roofs on both new and old buildings that meet certain requirements.  

Supporters of the proposed solution suggest that not only would green rooftops reduce the heat island effect, but there would be other direct benefits such as improving air quality, roof longevity, city beautification, and stormwater management. Despite the benefits of green roofs, there have been concerns about mandating the change along with fears that it may be too costly and wide reaching.