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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 28 2012: I think green roofs are a good idea since it would reduce energy demand and the cost of heating and cooling the building. However, I don't think developers, if given a choice, would use green roofs if the upfront cost was too high. If the upfront cost is high, that cost would then be passed on to tenants at residential buildings. The fact is that unless developers are forced to, they will go with the cheaper alternative to make more money. But, I think green roofing and other sustainable building practices will gain favor among developers as the upfront cost continues to decrease.
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      May 28 2012: I agree that green roofs are a good idea but that building developers will be less inclined to use them in buildings if the upfront cost is too high. I think that perhaps if green roofs and their benefits were advertised more to the general public, there would be an increase in demand for them and more developers would be willing to supply them.
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      May 31 2012: With "today's economy" I have a feeling this would be an added financial hardship that wouldn't be justifiable. It is hard to get people to see the long term effects when so much start up money is needed. Does anyone know some dollar figures for what this might entail? I'm sure it varies drastically depending on the circumstances...just curious though.

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