Nov 10, 2017

Controversial Denver Green Roof Initiative Gets Voter OK

A measure requiring developers and builders to put gardens on top of all new buildings has won the approval of Denver voters by a narrow margin.

What is officially called the Denver Green Roof Initiative is calling for the installation of at least 25,000 square feet or more of garden space on new commercial structures.

The idea behind the measure is to reduce the heat absorbed by buildings into the gardens. What is known as the “heat island effect” happens when rooftops and pavements absorbing heat cause a highly developed area to be hotter than its less developed suburban or rural neighbors.

The initiative sparked the opposition of various business and builder groups who said it would add incalculable costs to any given project.

Those in the opposition included the Colorado Real Estate Alliance, the Downtown Denver Partnership, and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

The initiative would require, based on a building’s square footage, green roof coverage of no less than 20 percent of a roof area, a figure that could increase to as much as 60 percent depending upon the structure and its size.

With all of the votes counted, the measure passed by a 52 to 48 percent margin, and will take effect January 1, 2018.

In response to the vote there is speculation that some aspects of what is being called the most extensive green roof initiative of its kind in the nation may be challenged in court. 


By Garry Boulard

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