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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 31 2012: Buildings will rise regardless of mandatory green roofs. I doubt there will be less development and building, but there may be less diversity in what buildings are being constructed. With the added cost of green roofs either the design of the building will have to suffer and be less creative in an architecture sense or the amount of companies able to build will be smaller allowing for them to experience more growth. If somehow tax dollars were able to help contribute to the expense perhaps that would maintain development of buildings.
    • May 31 2012: If we could use tax dollars to contribute to the development of green roofs, then I believe we could make positive headway on accomplishing the requirement! Raising taxes would not necessarily be a bad thing either don't you think?
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        May 31 2012: It just depends on whether or not people are willing to create a better living environment for their community. And not everyone cares or feels that tax dollars should be spent this way. Though I do think it would be beneficial in the long-run.
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      Jun 1 2012: If green roofs were mandatory in cities, yes it might not stop development. But, it will make development better. Those companies that are creating new development, have the money and would give back to nature the space that it has altered. If the mandate was to stop development then that would be great as well. I see this as a win-win situation.
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      Jun 1 2012: I agree with the fact that I do not think that development will stop. I do however think that the developers will find a way around the 2,000 sq meter requirement for green roofs in a way to "beat the system.
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      Jun 1 2012: I agree that development will continue, even if if is just replacing older buildings and I think that innovation is important in that process, but it also takes a long time for new ideas and building practices to become widespread because there are so many buildings already and replacing them takes a long time. Maybe in 50 years things will look different.

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