The new Denver Green Building Law has a significant focus on cool roofs (in fact, they are mandated for all new and existing buildings in Denver). But it wasn’t always meant to be that way. The original ordinance, which Denver citizens voted for in November of 2017, would have required all new and existing buildings to install a green roof, not a cool roof.

After the Green Roof Initiative passed in November 2017, it quickly became obvious that the language would have some unintended consequences, so a task force was formed to ensure a good compromise was met between private interests and local citizens. It became very clear that requiring green or vegetative roofs on all buildings would be challenging for many local industries. The task force, which had 25 people, consisting of City staff, real estate experts, green roof experts, and roofing industry representatives, spent over 6 months deliberating the original ordinance.

In addition, many channels and opportunities for public comment and feedback were created in order to ensure that whatever law was passed would both allow Denver to mitigate the impact of the Urban Heat Island effect while also allowing it to be as easy to comply with as possible.

The result? The task force provided a proposal to City Council that they felt would meet the environmental goals of Denver while also allowing building owners and development companies a myriad of options to comply in easy and affordable ways with the ordinance. The City Council approved the proposal and voted the new ordinance into law on October 29th, 2018, almost a whole year after the initial mandate made headlines. The new law went into effect on November 2, 2018.

Now there are several compliance pathways that focus on much more than green roofs but instead focus on the overall impact of the building. For example, many building owners can opt for renewable energy programs with Xcel, or install solar energy on their building in order to comply. But regardless, all buildings must have a cool roof. That is how a law that focused on green roofs became a cool roof ordinance that focused more on green building in general. This mitigates any unintended consequences of the original language and gives building owners more options that are environmentally and budget friendly.

Need help with your green building project? Contact Sow Green today for a consultation!