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Denver’s Green Roof Law – Now Green Building Ordinance

In November of 2018 the Denver City Council adopted new compliance rules for green roofs to help energy efficiency and decrease temperatures city wide. This city law requires developers and property owners to move toward sustainable development, which collectively seeks to increase green space in Denver, improve water and stormwater management, increase the use of solar and other renewable energies, foster the design of more energy-efficient buildings, and increase adoption of national green building programs, such as LEED.

Paying into the Green Building Fund

An owner whose building is subject to the requirements of the Green Buildings Ordinance (commercial buildings over 25000 sq ft.) may choose to comply by paying an amount to the Green Building Fund. Upon the owner’s request to comply through payment to the Green Building Fund, the owner must calculate the amount of green space required, and CPD shall calculate the appropriate fee to be paid to the fund.

In cases where an owner chooses to provide required green space, but is unable to provide the entirety of required green space coverage, the owner may pay the applicable amount for no more than twenty five percent of the green space required, but not provided, and must provide at least seventy five percent of the required green space coverage.

Revenue received through payments to the fund will offset the cost undertaken by the city in providing new or improved green space within the City. In selecting projects for funding, the City will strive to give priority or preference to low income areas that currently have less green space and trees. These projects will make substantial impacts in alignment with the uses and purposes outlined in the Green Building Ordinance and include green spaces located near the buildings that paid into the fund where feasible.

Solar Panels

Buildings must purchase solar panels through a five year contract from Xcel or a community solar project. If they purchase renewable energy less than one hundred percent of the building’s consumption, the same amount of electricity as the required amount of onsite solar panels would have to be achieved to demonstrate that the building will achieve the equal energy cost savings. Existing solar panels can count towards the solar coverage requirements of the ordinance if panels have a minimum efficiency rating of sixteen percent.

Obtaining Green Building Certification

Existing building owners can submit to CPD with the roof permit application one of the following for the entire building: A LEED Building Design and Construction: New Construction Silver or higher certification and/or a current LEED Operations and Maintenance Silver level or higher certification. An Enterprise Green Communities certification, National Green Building Standard ICC/ASHRAE 700 Silver level certification or higher or equivalent approved alternative green building certification.

Energy Conservation

Energy conservation is the effort made to reduce the consumption of energy by using less of an energy service. To demonstrate an energy cost savings beyond the current code, an energy model indicating baseline code compliance and predicted EUI for the building.

For new buildings 25,000 sq ft or larger it is a requirement to have a “cool roof.” This is meant to reflect sunshine rather than absorb it. Roof covering material (shingle of membrane), must meet the solar reflectance values. Whereas, with existing buildings and roof replacements, building owners are not required to replace their roof, they just need to meet requirements once the roof is replaced. To meet roof covering solar requirements for a partial replacement a “roof section” is required on all sides with a parapet wall, edges, expansion joints or roof dividers.

What is This Going to Do to Roofing Products and Cost?

For Low Slope roofs, there is a huge push in TPO systems. There are options for white EPDM, however the curing process for this action ensures more cost, so the TPO membrane will be the cheapest solution. Coatings are white and not constituted as a “re-roof” therefore the ordinance is not required to be followed.

Learn more about the Rules and Regulations Governing Green Building Requirements to see what you can do or call a Kapella Roofing Specialist.

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