Many building owners are worried about the new ordinance that mandates cool roofs, but your building may not even have to comply with the new law depending on a variety of factors. Of course, having a cool roof, green roof, or solar panels on your building will give you a myriad of benefits, so even if you don’t have to comply, we always recommend making the choice that is more sustainable for the planet and your wallet. In this article, we are going to go through the requirements and exceptions to help you determine if your building has to comply.

Is your building over 25,000 square feet?

The new Green Building Law only applies to buildings that are over 25,000 square feet. The square footage requirement applies to both new buildings and for roofs on existing buildings once they are due for a replacement. The only time the square footage requirement does not apply is in residential buildings with 5 stores or less (or that are less than 62.5 feet in height). However, these residential buildings will still need a cool roof.

Is your building a unique structure?

Many structures over 25,000 square feet don’t qualify for these exceptions, but some do exist on occasion. If your building is one of the following, then you do not have to comply with the mandate:

  1. a one and two-family dwelling constructed under the provisions of the International Residential Code,
  2. Has dwelling units constructed in a group of three or more attached units in which each unit extends from foundation to roof and is not more than three (3) stories above grade plane, or
  3. Is a temporary structure, air-supported structure, or greenhouse.

Do portions of your building’s roof already have something on it?

Portions of your roof that already have solar panels, vegetation, cool roofs, HVAC systems or solar/air/water heating systems do not need to comply with the cool roof part of mandate. Also, if your roof is shaded during the peak sun angle on the summer solstice by neighboring buildings or other portions of the same building, you won’t need to comply with the cool roof portion. However, your building will still need to comply with choosing one of the environmental compliance options like green spaces, solar, energy efficiency or another eco-option. You are only exempt from having a cool roof.

Does your roof have a unique roofing system?

You do not need a cool roof if portions of roofs that are ballasted with a minimum stone ballast of fifteen pounds per square foot. An additional exception also applies to roofing materials covering less than twenty-five percent (25%) of an individual roof section or visible roofs for no more than ten percent (10%) of the total roof area. Again, this means no cool roof requirement but you must comply with the other eco-friendly building options.

Does your building require Denver permits?

Some buildings, like public schools, follow state laws and requirements as opposed to local ones. The Green Building Law only applies to new or existing buildings within the City of Denver that require a roof permit from the City in order to be compliant.

What about campuses?

If your project is going to include several buildings, you will need to demonstrate compliance with the ordinance through an IMP or Site Development Plan. If your campus is going to be built in a phased approach then you will need to enter into a development agreement with the City or review. This is to ensure that the City can confirm your outline of the timing for each compliance option you wish to choose.

Does your building need to comply? Do you need help navigating the new Green Building law and cool roof mandate? Contact Sow Green today for a consultation and let us help you with your next project!