Depending How You Look At It, Denver Green Roof Changes Are Simpler Or More Complex

Sourced from Colorado Public Radio

A Denver task force is finishing up revisions on one of the strictest green roof policies in the country. The proposed changes would give large buildings in downtown Denver more choices in how they comply with the ordinance voters approved last fall.
The Denver green roof ordinance is modeled after a Toronto law. The goal is for green roofs to absorb heat and suck up water, slowing down stormwater that can flood streets.

Task force members like Andy Creath of Green Roofs Colorado have been charged with walking a tightrope between giving more options to building owners and not over-complicating the program with too many choices.

“We want to get these benefits for the city, but green roofs may not be the only way to do that,” Creath explained.

So far, one big focal point for revisions are existing buildings. Under the original Ordinance 300, any such building that sought to replace its roof would have to add a green roof and solar panels. One of the estimates the task force received was that “90 percent of our existing buildings would not support a green roof,” said Denver City Council Member Mary Beth Susman.

Instead, existing buildings over 25,000 square feet will have to add a cool roof and one of the following options: green roof, on-site solar, LEED Silver Certification, pay into a fund for green space off site or enroll in an energy program like Community Solar. Residential buildings that are over 25,000 square feet and have five stories or less will just be required to add a cool roof.

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