Last week, the Ecotech Institute was visited by representatives of the Denver Green Roof Initiative, a grassroots campaign comprised of volunteers who seek to address climate change on a local level.
Launched in early 2017, the initiative proposes partially covering the roofs of large buildings with either solar panels or vegetation. The proposed new building code would apply only to buildings in the Denver area with rooftops of 25,000 sq. ft. or larger.
The activists’ goal is to change Denver’s status as the 11th-worst city in the nation for air quality and the third-largest urban “heat island” behind only Las Vegas and Albuquerque, according to a 2014 study by Climate Central. The “heat island” effect is created when an urban center becomes significantly warmer than the surrounding areas due to the heat radiating from the city’s rooftops and pavement.
Placing vegetation and/or solar panels on a rooftop helps reduce its exposure direct sunlight and increase the overall energy efficiency of the building. Green roofs also help improve air quality, reduce rainwater runoff, and provide additional habitat for plant pollinators and other insects.
Also known as Initiative 300, the Denver Green Roof campaign’s proposal will be put up for a public vote on the Denver County, Nov. 7, 2017 ballot.
“It was great meeting with the folks from the Denver Green Roof Initiative and giving them a tour of the Ecotech Institute campus,” says Chris Gorrie, Ecotech Institute Campus President. “As a school dedicated to renewable energy education, we were also excited to learn more about the initiative’s proposal to put solar panels and garden areas on large buildings across Denver.”