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Kimberly Powell

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If green roofs were mandatory in cities would there be less development and building?

William McDonough knows the benefits that come from designing and implementing green roofs. McDonough has helped design living roofs for big companies such as Nike and Ford Motors. But many companies and homeowners overlook the benefits of green roofs. One benefit of green roofs is that they keep the internal temperature of a building steady throughout the year. The National Research Council of Canada found that having a green roof reduced the daily energy demand for air conditioning in the summer by 75%. Toronto is the first North American city to pass a law mandating green rooftops for all new residential, commercial and industrial developments. Any new construction with floor space of more than 2,000 square meters must devote between 20 and 60 percent of its roof to vegetation. But with green roofs comes an unwanted financial upfront cost. Will developers decide that the benefits outweigh the costs for installing green roofs?

If green roofs were mandatory in cities would there be less development and building?

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    May 21 2012: I think that if green roofs were mandated, then many different businesses would sprout (pun fully intended) to provide that service, and would need to build, and even if the initial cost went up, people still need buildings. Development and building costs are already fairly high, and green roof initial costs are not that astronomically high that it would be so detrimental that development and building would slow. I feel the benefit outweighs that initial cost, and development would increase to replace the old.
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      May 22 2012: Do you think UO or any other university for that matter would take the initiative to build with green roofs?
      • May 23 2012: The mandatory implementation of green roofs seems like a great idea to me. In addition to the points that many people have made the already high upfront building costs, I really do think that considering the later savings that green roofs can have for building temperature regulation, etc may outweigh or at least equalize the upfront costs. Especially when you consider how long you expect a building to be in existence and how those savings add up over the years.

        As to your question, Kimberly, I do think that a university may be one of the early places to take on this initiative. Not only is a place like UO full of young people who are passionate about making changes towards a more green future, including architecture, but at least at our university there seems to be constant construction and remodeling. This provides many opportunities for new technologies. Additionally students studying architecture are probably at the forefront of learning about these things and can be key assets for new green architecture implementation. This could provide opportunities for the school to save money, be a pioneer on a new green architectural front and allow students gain experience by using their education to provide input into changes in the university.
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        May 24 2012: I think the University of Oregon would be an amazing place to start a green roofs program. We currently have a sustainability initiative and this seems like a logical next step especially with the work that Jessica Green of the biology department is doing in partnership with the architecture school. It would be interesting to find out how many current building could be retrofit for green roofs on campus as well as how to initiate a mandate for all new buildings.

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