After voter approval by Denver residents, on January 1, 2018, the hotly contested Green Roof Ordinance was greenlit in the Mile-High City. In this two-part article, our Denver construction attorneys will discuss vegetated roofing and how contractors can become eligible to work on green roofing projects in Denver.
Why Roofs Are Going Green
Denver experiences as high a level of urban heat island effect as any city in America. With climate change and urbanization, the downtown district faces a warmer climate than surrounding areas in Colorado. Vegetated roofs effectively minimize the urban heat island effect, reduce greenhouse gases, provide insulation that lowers HVAC costs, absorbs rainwater reducing the chance of urban flooding, and improves the aesthetic quality, property value, and marketability of the city.
What is the Green Roof Ordinance?
With the newly passed green roofing initiative, Denver joins other cities like San Francisco that have already mandated eco-friendly rooftops, but the Mile-High City is the first to require either solar installation or vegetation on existing roofs. Buildings, new or existing, must meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standard to be in compliance. Here are some important compliance guidelines for the green roofing initiative in Denver:
For new buildings:
- Denver’s new “green roof” rule stipulates that buildings over 25,000 square feet must allocate a portion of the roof area to vegetation.
- At least 10 percent of the rooftop must be covered by green space. The maximum coverage limit is up to 60 percent of the roof area.
- For every floor the structure has, the amount of green space increases by an additional 10 percent. In other words, if a building is five stories, 50 percent of the building’s rooftop must be occupied by vegetation.
For existing buildings:
- If a building exceeds 50,000 square feet, the ordinance requires two percent of the rooftop to be covered in green space.
- Including additional stories, the maximum coverage area has a cap limit of 18 percent.
- There are other options besides vegetated roofing. For example, older buildings can have 70 percent solar installation on the roofing area or combine vegetation with cool roof supplies. Cool roofs have reflective features that reduce the impact of solar heat.
For more information on green roofs in Denver, please read the second part of our series.
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.