Green roofs were on developer Kyle Zeppelin’s radar screen long before the initiative to require them on some buildings in Denver surfaced.
The green roof initiative was adopted by Denver voters last month by an 8.6 percent margin. It was widely opposed by Denver’s development community, with Zeppelin being the most high-profile exception.
“Denver developers are used to getting their way,” Zeppelin told me recently over lunch at the Source, one of his developments in RiNo.
“This was truly a David vs. Goliath issue. Opponents outspent us by about an 8-1 margin. And probably 50 cents of every dollar for the green roof side came from us,” Zeppelin added between bites of his chicken sandwich, sans bread.
Zeppelin, whose father, Mickey, was a pioneer developer not only in RiNo but also in LoDo and the Golden Triangle, was an early adopter of green roofs.
“We were looking at ways to improve our tenant experience” aesthetically and environmentally,” Kyle Zeppelin told me.
Zeppelin concluded about two years ago that green roofs could accomplish the goals; his team ran the numbers and they penciled out.
They currently are installing green roofs on three buildings: Flight, Zeppelin Station and the Source Hotel.
“One point. Maybe slightly less,” Zeppelin answered, when I asked him what the additional costs were to incorporate the green roofs into the buildings.
In other words, the roofs added 1 percent or less to the entire construction cost for each building.