Denver City Council Passes Revised Green Roof Ordinance

Yesterday evening, Denver City Council passed the recommendations of a 24-member Technical Committee that reviewed and revised the Green Roof Ballot Initiative which was supported by a major of Denverites in the November 2017 election. The original Green Roof Ballot Initiative, spearheaded by a concerned citizen named Brandon Rietheimer, required green roofs on all new and existing buildings. A Technical Committee, formed after the election, expanded the number of options available to building owners, recognizing that most existing buildings do not have sufficient loading capacity for a green roof. Now, when an existing roof must be replaced, building owners will have to implement a reflective roof and either renewable energy, support for other forms of green infrastructure, LEED Silver or equivalent, implement higher energy 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% of the roof, LEED Gold, or energy efficiency measures 12% 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 Steven W. Peck, founder and president, 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.

“Thanks to Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the Green Infrastructure Foundation for all their support. Both were major contributors to the success of the Denver Green Roof Initiative. Denver’s revised Green Roof Initiative is a win for green roofs and renewable energy. Denver is now a leader on sustainability, and on the pathway to becoming a more innovative and resilient city.” said Andy Creath, President of Green Roofs of Colorado, who helped lead the local advocacy effort.

Denver now joins a growing list of cities in North America and World Wide that are implementing policies and programs that use roof space to support healthier and more sustainable communities. Among these include Cordova, Toronto, Paris, Washington DC, Portland OR, Shiraz, San Francisco, Copenhagen, Tokyo, London UK and Chicago. New York City and Vancouver are currently considering mandatory green roof legislation.

For more information, on October 31, 2 pm Eastern time, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is hosting a Free Open Forum Webinar - Building a Green Roof Initiative: Lessons from Denver. To register please go to:

A Denver Green Roof Professional (GRP) Training will take place November 29 - December 1 featuring the expertise of Patrick Carey & local expert Jennifer Bousselot. To register please go to:

Additional Background

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) is a member supported industry association with a mission to develop the green roof and wall industry throughout North America. GRHC provides online and in-person training programs, manages the Green Roof Professional accreditation, publishes the Living Architecture Monitor ( organizes events to support market development and advocates for supportive public policy.

The Green Infrastructure Foundation is a charitable organizations that partners with communities to shape healthy, resilient, and sustainable places using living green infrastructure. It runs community driven design charrettes and provides training on green infrastructure and economic valuation.

Click here to download the press release