Hello Everyone. I’d like to take a moment to ask that everyone consider a Yes vote on citizen led Initiative 300. There are a lot of misconceptions out there and I wanted you to know the facts before making your decision.
Initiative 300 would create a new building code requiring buildings over 25,000 sqft to dedicate a portion of their roof to solar or rooftop gardens. The portion ranges from 20% to 60% depending on the size of the building.
These required building improvements would significantly reduce long term operating costs by lowering energy consumption and increasing the longevity of a roof. A green roof lasts 2-3 times as long as a traditional roof because the waterproofing membrane is protected from damage by the elements and workers by covering it with a growing medium and plants. A great example of this is the hailstorm we had in may. While many roofs needed to be replaced, the green roofs in denver lost a couple plants, saving those buildings tons of money. Also, these improvements have a return on investment of 6.2 years.
Because of the great return on investment, the less frequent roof replacements, and the decrease in long term operating costs, we argue that this will have no impact on rents or affordable housing. We would argue that it would decrease rent but we don’t necessarily believe that the owners of the building would pass their savings along to their tenants. This is an unfortunate and sad truth.
While green roofs need, at most, a ¼” of water per week, the amount of water saved from their energy conservation actually conserves more water. I’ll explain, each kilowatt of energy produced uses 25 gallons of water. Green roofs save you 10% or more of energy consumption below the roof. A typical 25,000 sqft building uses 500,000 kw (estimating 5 floors of 5000 sqft. so top floor uses 100,000kw or 2.5m gallons of water) So a green roof would actually save over 200,000 gallons of water.
There are exemptions in place. If a building cannot handle the structural load. If the building does 100% solar. If it is a school or energy star rated building. Exemptions have been left to the discretion of city planning during the permitting phase. Lots of wiggle room for everyone involved.
There has also been concern that this is a mandate. Initiative 300 is a building code and all building codes are mandates. Fire escapes and sprinkler systems are all designed to keep us safe. Just like green roofs and solar will keep our city and planet safe. Denver ranks 11th worst for air quality, 3rd worst for its urban heat island effect, and we have extremely polluted waterways from storm water runoff. Green roofs are a best management practice for managing storm water.
Denver county has had plenty of time to make advancement in sustainability but so far all we have are goals with no plans to reach them. The auditor’s office found that the office of sustainability has had no resources or plans put in place to reach their admirable goals. The buildings affected by this new building code consume 60% of the energy in this city. They mayor has said time and time again that we need to do something about climate change but in the six years he has been in office, no tangible steps have been taken. Initiative 300 would provide a solution for multiple issues that we face now and will face in the future.
I hope this helps answer some questions that you may have had. If not, feel free to comment and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability. I truly believe that development should be done sustainably with the future in mind. With all the flat roofs and all the construction doesn’t it make sense that we utilize that space and build for a cleaner future. Join us in making Denver a leader on sustainability. Please vote YES on I-300!