France Mandates Green Roofs For All New Commercial Construction

A green roof or living roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. It may also include additional layers such as a root barrier and drainage and irrigation systems. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons GFDL/CC-by-sa-3.0)
A green roof or living roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. It may also include additional layers such as a root barrier and drainage and irrigation systems. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons GFDL/CC-by-sa-3.0)

EcoBuilding Pulse reports that a new law, passed by the French Parliament last week, requires all new buildings in their commercial zones to have a living roof or solar panels.

This is less stringent than the original proposal by French environmental activists, which called for complete roof cover by greenery, but is still a huge step toward more sustainable cities and infrastructure.

While this will initially cost building owners and developers more money, that investment will be partially offset by the benefits of incorporating either a green roof or solar energy. Green roofs act as additional insulation reducing energy costs and act as a rainwater catchment system. Additionally, green roofs can be used for food production or as additional public space, extending per-square-foot use of a building to its exterior. More benefits include improved air and water quality as well as reduce GHG emissions and pollution. The life span of green roofs generally extends two to three times beyond traditional roofing materials.

Solar panels eventually pay for themselves in either the form of renewable electricity or solar thermal heat and hot water. This is particularly beneficial in France, which has characteristically trailed behind the rest of the European Union in solar development after a decrease in its use left the country accounting for just 6% of Europe’s installed solar capacity in 2013.

France is the first to do something like this nationwide, although other cities have approved similar mandates, including one in Toronto in 2009 that requires green roofs of residential and industrial buildings.

Published byMelanieDawn

Melanie Dawn Molina Wood is a Miami native currently living in the historic downtown district. She has earned her LEED Green Associate accreditation, the NAR GREEN designation, and an Eco-broker credential. She is also a proud member of the US Green Building Council – Miami Chapter, and a member of the Sierra Club. For more information about sustainability in Miami, or to connect with a real estate agent anywhere in the world, contact Melanie Dawn by text/phone at 305.801.3133, or by email at MelanieDawn@MelanieinMiami.com

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