TED Conversations

Kimberly Powell

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

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?

+5
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    May 27 2012: Upon reading many of the responses to this question I found it interesting that there is a stark separation between short term safety regulations/codes, for earthquakes as an example, and long term safety regulations, such as green roofs and the prevention of long terms affects associated with rapid climate change. Are these not the same type of regulations but viewed at different time frames. This makes me hopeful that other governments will begin to take their citizen's long term health into account when addressing safety initiatives. Anyone have ideas on this?
    • thumb
      May 27 2012: While it seems all too logical that the current generation should invest more money into future safety, it doesn't happen on a regular basis. I think the problem lies in how much we as a society are willing to invest in people and generations we will never know. I think it could be argued it is human nature to think in the short term. In any case, I agree that investments in long-term health and safety should be given more recognition, green roofing being one of them.
      • Jun 1 2012: I agree that we should be looking into the future and not solely focus on short term natural disaster scenarios. Although, short term disasters can be very devastating, long term disasters may make short term problems obsolete. In addition, green roofs may not drastically change the engineering problems a building faces meaning that in many cases no additional structural changes may need to be made.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.