“Not-So-Green-Roofs” in Denver

In 2017, voters in Denver approved the so-called “Green Roofs” initiative, which called for buildings over 25,000 ft. sq. to dedicate a certain portion (between 20% and 60% depending on building size) of the rooftop to green space. However, just yesterday the Denver City Council unanimously voted to repeal green roof requirement and passed a more business-friendly “cool roof” requirement in its place.

The new measure requires buildings over 25,000 ft. sq., both new and existing structures that undergo roof replacements, to have light-colored, reflective rooftops. In addition, developers and building owners will also have to incorporate other environmentally friendly options. Buildings meeting the criteria will be required to have cool roofs, plus either: green space on the structure, a contribution to the Green Building Fund for green space off-site, solar or energy efficient systems, or energy efficiency certifications (the exact options vary depending on whether it’s new construction or existing development).

Critics of the measure claimed that the mandates would increase costs, and in some cases, add structural or engineering issues. Proponents contend that Denver has one of the highest urban heat island effects in the country, and this measure will both reduce that impact, but also offer water and storm management and greenhouse gas emission reductions.

If you would like more information about this initiative or have any questions in general about Colorado initiatives, please contact Dieter Raemdonck at draemdonck@lrrc.com.