A law approved recently in France makes it mandatory that new buildings built in commercial zones be partially covered in either plants or solar power panels…
the Guardian reports:
“The law approved by parliament was more limited in scope than initial calls by French environmental activists to make green roofs that cover the entire surface mandatory on all new buildings.
“The Socialist government convinced activists to limit the scope of the law to commercial buildings.
“The law was also made less onerous for businesses by requiring only part of the roof to be covered with plants, and giving them the choice of installing solar panels to generate electricity instead.”
Green roofs help reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a building in winter or cool it during the sweltering summer days.
Additionally, plants on rooftops retain water, helping to reduce any problems with excessive runoff while also giving birds a place to nest.
The green roof concept has already been adopted in Germany and Australia, and Toronto, Canada, adopted a law in 2009 which also mandates green roofs in both industrial and residential buildings.
Solar panels, of course, provide a financial incentive for those who choose to install them on buildings, Healthy Holistic Living notes:
“If they’re so inclined, businesses have a great opportunity with this new law to make an impact on their own pocketbook too. Of course, at the outset, solar panels are much more expensive than a living roof, but over time, they pay for themselves. What’s more, after they’re done paying for themselves they keep doing what they do best: generating electricity all day every day, saving their owners hard-earned cash, year after year.”
There are other, often overlooked benefits of green roofs, according to Sempergreen:
- Increases solar panel efficiency: A green roof reduces the temperature on the roof. Thanks to this cooler roof, the efficiency of solar panels is higher and reduces total energy costs.
- Reduces ambient noise on the inside and outside: A green roof acts as a sound barrier to a building. It absorbs sound and provides a quieter environment, both inside and outside the building.
- Extends the lifespan of the roof: A green roof protects the roofing material from external influences such as the sun, rain, wind and temperature fluctuations and doubles or triples the life span of a roof to up to 60 years or even longer. You will recoup the investment in your green roof within 8 to 21 years.
- Creates a fire-resistant layer: With a green roof, you create a natural fire-resistant layer on your house or office building.
- Saves time and money: In contrast to planting a green roof with individual plug plants, laying a green roof using vegetation blankets is quick and easy to realize. And the subsequent maintenance is minimal. That saves both time and money.
- Increases biodiversity: The host plants that are included in a green roof promote the habitat of birds, butterflies and insects, especially in the city environment which is mainly concrete and asphalt.
In the near future, maybe every nation will see the value of green or solar roofs and all of us will be able to help contribute to a cleaner environment while also lowering what we pay for energy.