Hello, my name is Sunni, I am a 350 Denver team leader and I am writing today to discuss an exciting citizen led Initiative I have been volunteering for in the City and County of Denver. We are very excited because we succeeded in getting our grassroots all volunteer ballot measure, I-300, on the ballot for Denver voters this November 7, 2017.
I-300, (the Green Roof Initiative), is a sustainable and responsible building code that will help bring the level CO2 from around its current level of 410ppm to a safe level below 350ppm, thus protecting the health and prosperity of the many current and future residents of Denver. 350 Denver and 350 Colorado have endorsed this Initiative because of its benefits to the environment and health of its inhabitants.
The Green Roof Initiative creates a new building code requiring large buildings over 25,000 square feet to devote 20% of their roof to either solar panels, roof gardens, or a combination of the two. The percentage of green roof/solar increases every 50,000 in square footage and caps at 60% for buildings greater than 200,000 square feet.
Here are a few reasons that 350 Colorado supports the Green Roof Initiative:
- Green roofs promote energy efficiency by keeping the building insulated so they pay for themselves in approximately 6.2 years, all why reducing a building’s actual energy consumption. While a typical green roof costs more than a traditional roof, green roofs last four to five times longer, so they’re actually a really good investment and will save money in the long run.
- Green roofs help clean the air! Denver currently suffers from particulate and ozone pollution, ranking 11th worst in the nation. This puts us at risk of life-threatening illnesses.
- Urban heat island occurs in large cities where heat-radiating roofs and pavement often elevate temperatures several degrees in the summer heat. Denver has the third-largest “heat island effect” among U.S. cities. Increased vegetation reduces the heat island effect. For example, a recent study measured a temperature of 80 degrees on Denver’s EPA green roof, while a normal blacktop roof across the street measured a temperature of 170 degrees.
- Green roofs will encourage responsible and sustainable building and create jobs to stimulate the economy making Denver a more attractive, aesthetically pleasing, and habitable area to live and work.
- Green roofs won’t raise rent because they are a sound investment in longevity and energy savings. They decrease the operational costs of a building which translates directly into decreased costs to the owner and/or prospective renter.
- Green Roofs provide wildlife habitat, specifically for birds and bees. Remember the 70-mile ocean of Painted Lady butterflies that descended upon Denver recently? Wouldn’t that be a sight to see more often.
While the opposition has argued that mandates are not the solution, now is not the time to wait. It is time to take serious action now for the safety and well-being of ourselves and our future. There are many existing building code mandates, some of them citizen led initiatives, requiring buildings to have smoke detectors and fire alarms to protect the safety of their occupants. Likewise, green roofs will help protect the safety of all Denver residents by filtering the air and storm water and alleviating the urban heat island effect. Green roofs are already a tested and successful principle and have been proven to be effective as demonstrated in Toronto, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago, New York, and many other cities internationally