Denver Green Roof Ballot Initiative Wins Voter Approval Despite Well Funded Opposition

A historic win for the citizens of Denver occurred last night when the first fully citizen led ballot initiative requiring green roofs or solar panels on large new and existing buildings won voter approval by over 52%.   This win occurred despite opposition groups outspending supporters by a margin of 12 to 1.  With remaining votes to be counted today, Brandon Rietheimer, the leader of the initiative said, “I think we are in the clear. This shows that we in Denver want more leadership on sustainability.  We had all these goals in place and no plans of action to reach them – and this is a path to a greener future.” 

In mid-October, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities released a detailed cost-benefit analysis of the economic impact of the proposed mandatory requirement.  It found that over a fifteen-year period, the requirement would result in approximately 57 million square feet of additional green roof space in the city, generate more than 25,000 job years of employment, and help to dramatically reduce the urban heat island effect, a problem which is severe in Denver, with average temperatures 5 degrees Fahrenheit more than the norm.  

“The cost-benefit study prepared by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities definitely contributed to the win”, said Andy Creath, President of Colorado Green Roofs and a proponent of the initiative. “The nature of the discussion improved significantly when people began to more understand more fully the major benefits that green roofs can provide in Denver described in the report.”  

Unless there is a major shift away from supporting the green roof initiative when the final votes are tallied today, it will take effect on January 1, 2018.   “Congratulations to the many citizens who donated their time to this important initiative.  Now it will be important to work with those in opposition to ensure that details are completed through a competent technical advisory committee so that the will of the people is respected,” said Steven W. Peck, Founder and President of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. “This is good news for the development community and building owners, because a more sustainable and healthy Denver is a win for everyone,” he added. 

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is a trade association dedicated to the growth of the green roof and wall industry greenroofs.org.  Making Informed Decisions, the cost-benefit study of the Denver Green Roof Initiative is available at: livingarchitecturemonitor.com/denver

Please contact Steven W. Peck, at speck@greenroofs.org for additional comments.