Green Roofs

Did you notice yesterday’s Denver and the West cover story (with the large color photograph) on green roofs? The story highlights the green roof on the new Environmental Protection Agency building in LoDo. This was one of the many technologies and design approaches we considered for the new city maintenance shops. We dropped the idea because of the expense (the up front capital costs for this project are strictly limited by the amount of money we borrowed) but I’ll continue to push the city to consider it on future city buildings. Green roofs, which are basically roofs that are covered in vegetation of some sort, are very useful for stormwater runoff control, reducing water pollution, reducing energy costs, and reducing outdoor temperatures. They can be pricey up front but, like many of these technologies, more than pay back the investment in reduced operating costs. The newspaper of the National League of Cities just ran its own article on green roofs (“Green Roofs Sprout in More American Cities“) as well.

While I appreciate the financial challenge of investing more up front to make these sorts of technologies work, they really are investments. Most really do pay their own way on a reasonable timeframe, and they also represent investments in all sorts of other community values like those I mentioned above. Additionally, as more communities, businesses, and residential property owners incorporate these sorts of technologies into their buildings the cost drops even further.

City Council’s last session of our multi-month strategic planning effort is Thursday night, and I remain hopeful that we can find some consensus around the idea of a Golden Sustainability Initiative, in which we as a community encourage and facilitate the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

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