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From Green Roofs to Green Buildings

In November 2017, Denver voters passed a green roof ordinance ("green roof initiative"), which required new and existing buildings over 25,000 square feet in size to install a green roof either as the building was constructed or when the roof was replaced (for existing buildings). The ordinance sought to achieve important environmental benefits for the city, primarily by reducing urban heat island impacts and greenhouse gas emissions. However, in its initial version, the green roofs ordinance had several limitations that made it challenging to implement for most buildings, including legal challenges surrounding rainwater retention, the inability of many existing buildings to support the weight of a green roof, and high construction costs.

A Green Roofs Review Task Force is convened

In January 2018, concurrent with the city's adoption of the green roofs initiative, the Denver Department of Public Health & the Environment convened a multidisciplinary task force of individuals from academia, industry, government, and creators/backers of the original green roof initiative. The Green Roofs Review Task Force's mission was to recommend modifications, clarifications, and improvements to the green roof initiative through a collaborative, consensus-based process that honored the vote and the benefits that the ordinance sought to achieve. The task force met nine times from January 19, 2018, through June 7, 2018, and circulated a draft proposal for public input during May 2018. In their final meeting, members reached consensus on a proposal they believed took the ordinance in the right direction for Denver. 

The task force's consensus recommendations, and the resulting new "green buildings ordinance," looks at development holistically, recognizing that the best, long-term approach to building a more sustainable Denver was to identify more cost-effective options to increase green space, increase the use of solar and other renewable energies, foster the design of far more energy-efficient buildings, improve water and storm water management, and embrace established green building certifications. Compared to the original ordinance, the new green buildings ordinance may create up to 3.5 million more square feet of green space by 2050 while allowing for far greater flexibility in building design, ultimately lowering the overall cost of meeting these requirements by about 20% - 90%.

Downloads:

The Task Force's proposal (PDF) | Proposal summary (PDF)

The old Green Roof Ordinance (PDF) and Rules and Regulations (PDF)

All Green Roofs Review Task Force meetings were open to the public. View a list of the task force's members (PDF).

Meeting archive:

Friday, Jan. 19, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Download meeting summary)
Wednesday, Feb. 7, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Download meeting summary and slide deck)
Wednesday, Feb. 14, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Download meeting summary and slide deck)
Thursday, March 1, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Download meeting summary)
Wednesday, March 21, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Download meeting summary)
Friday, April 6, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Download meeting summary and slide deck)
Wednesday, May 2, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Download meeting summary and slide deck)
Wednesday, May 23, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Download meeting summary)
Thursday, June 7, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. (Download meeting summary)

From May 3 - June 3, 2018, the Green Roofs Review Task Force circulated an initial draft proposal for modifying the ordinance. The proposal and its supporting documentation were available for public review and comment through noon on June 3. All comments received were sent to the task force for review before their final meeting.

There were also two public briefings and input sessions held at the Webb Building (201 W. Colfax Ave.):

  • Friday, May 11, 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. in room 4.G.2
  • Monday, May 14, 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. in room 1.B.6

All meetings were open to the public.

Meetings to review task force progress

Special Issues Committee 

City Council Meetings