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Denver approves revised ‘green roof’ rules

Author: Mark Harden - October 30, 2018 - Updated: October 30, 2018

The Denver ordinance as revised calls for light-colored “cool roofs” to be installed on large new buildings. (iStock/Getty Images)

A rewritten version of Denver’s new “green roofs” rules will give developers and building owners more flexibility than was called for in a measure that voters approved in 2017.

The city’s new “Green Buildings Ordinance” was approved Monday by the Denver City Council and will take effect Friday.

The Denver Green Roof Initiative as passed in November 2017 required most buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to install environmentally-friendly green-roof features, such as rooftop gardens, or a combination of gardens and solar-power panels.

Mayor Michael Hancock and many business leaders opposed the measure as passed, saying compliance would be too costly. There was also concern that many older buildings would be unable to structurally support the rooftop installations called for in the initiative.

But the Denver charter allows the city council to revise or even repeal voter-approved measures, which is what happened.

Instead of requiring rooftop vegetation in all cases, the version as passed Monday calls for new, large buildings to have “cool roofs” in light colors to reflect heat. Building owners could install vegetation or pay for it elsewhere, or they could install renewable energy systems.

Many real estate and roofing interests that had opposed the original initiative have embraced the compromise, Denverite reports.

The city’s Community Planning and Development agency plans an open house for developers, contractors, property owners, and others on the new ordinance on Nov. 15; details here.

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.