Anschutz Health and Wellness Center in Aurora


Why is this important?


All growing cities have areas for concern. Our mission is to solve Denver’s growing problems with one simple solution, Green Roofs across the City.


Denver currently ranks third highest in the United States for Urban Heat Island. Falling behind Las Vegas and Albuquerque. An Urban Heat Island absorbs warmth from the sun and raises a city’s temperature much higher than surrounding areas, making Denver nearly 5 degrees hotter. By adding green space at roof level, plants and growing media are absorbing the sun’s rays, helping to keep the building cool through a process called evapotranspiration. A Green Roof can reduce heat-flow through the roof by 70% to 90% in the summer and 10% to 30% in the winter (National Research Council of Canada). Lowering the city’s Urban Heat Island effect would promote cooler days and less energy consumption throughout every building in Denver.


Denver is 11th worst in the nation for air quality. Specifically for particulate and ozone pollution. This places the citizens of Denver at risk for premature death and other serious health effects such as lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm.


Another side affect from all the concrete, is storm-water drainage issues. In Denver, where intense heavy storms come out of nowhere, it is very important to have proper storm-water drainage. This is an ever increasing problem as the city continues to grow. These intense storms drop so much rain that the drains can’t handle it all and the streets become flooded. This polluted storm water runoff overflows into our lands, streams and rivers. Green roofs solve this problem as well. In fact, Green Roofs retain and release storm-water so well that is was named as a Best Management Practice for infiltrating and detaining runoff by the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District.


One of Denver’s sustainability goals for 2020 is to grow/produce 20% of food in Denver. Green Roofs can help contribute to that goal. Buildings are permitted to use the rooftop space for urban agriculture. This allows for the building to rent out their rooftop space to urban farmers who can then supply their goods around the city. Another sustainability goal is to attain all national air quality standards. Green space at roof level help filter air and traps dust and other particles much better than a traditional roof.


These are just a few of the many benefits of Green Roofs. Vegetated roof space promotes a rich biodiversity for insects and birds. Green Roofs has also been linked to improved performance and accuracy in the workplace and also provide additional space for lunch and recreation. The life span of a Green Roof is 2 to 3 times longer than a traditional black roof. The list goes on and on.


If there are so many benefits to Green Roofs, why aren’t they everywhere? The simple answer is cost. Green Roofs, on average, cost $15 more per sqft than a traditional black roof. Even though the extra cost would be offset in as soon as 6.2 years, most developers choose not to incorporate them because they build the building then sell it. They don’t see receive those energy and storm-water savings. They don’t save the money from roof longevity. Yet they are still able to sell the building for more money with these improvements!! We believe that the developers building Denver could be doing more to negate their footprint in our beautiful City. We believe Green Roofs are the answer.