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Denver’s Green Roof Law Repealed and Replaced

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Denver’s ambitious push to enact a first-of-its-kind “green roof” law has been halted by a unanimous vote from the Denver City Council to repeal and replace it with a revised law. The original law called for all buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to install rooftop greenery, but now these buildings will be required to install “cool roofs” instead. In this short article, the Denver construction lawyers at Cotney Construction Law will discuss the details of Denver’s new cool roof law that is replacing the green roof initiative passed in November of 2017.

Cool Roofs

The Department of Energy describes a cool roof as “one that has been designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof.” Cool roofs utilize light-colored reflective surfaces to greatly decrease the amount of heat being absorbed by the roof. Whereas a standard, or dark, roof can reach temperatures exceeding 150 degrees in the summertime, a cool roof being subjected to the same conditions can stay 50 degrees cooler. This allows the owner of a building or home to cut air conditioning costs.

There are an array of different options including roofs that use reflective paint, a sheet covering, or highly reflective tiles or shingles. The Denver City Council is also requesting that developers implement one of the following when building new structures:

  • Integrating green space into structures and lots
  • Paying a fee to support Denver’s overall energy efficiency and environment
  • Utilizing renewable energy that meets the standards of certification programs like LEED

Changes to the Law

The new law affects new construction and reroofing projects on all buildings over 25,000 square feet. The original green roof initiative wasn’t very cost effective and failed to meet all of the environmental goals it was drafted to accommodate, so the new law aims to address these issues. Real estate developers complained about the additional 3 percent cost of construction that resulted from the original law. In addition, many roofs in Denver were ill-suited to handle the extra weight added by the required greenery. Although developers and building owners will be forced to pay more for cool roofs, the cost savings on cooling are expected to be anywhere from 20 to 90 percent less than green roofs. Unfortunately, cool roofs don’t include all of the benefits associated with green roofs such as rainwater absorption and providing superior insulation.

In summary, Denver’s goals for this initiative are largely the same, and changes in the green roofing ordinance aim to foster a more feasible transition from traditional roofs to cool roofs. If you want to learn more about the laws regarding cool roofs, a Denver construction attorney can assist you with any of your questions.

If you would like to speak with a Denver construction lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.