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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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  • Jun 1 2012: Although it will increase the upfront cost of development, it may decrease the cost over time and will definitely decrease the negative environmental impact. To alleviate the upfront cost perhaps a government assistance program could be implemented. Additionally, the costs of adding a green roof to a development project probably would not exclude a large percentage of the market. Green roofs may even inspire a new type of development which is ultra efficient to minimize the extra cost of a green roof.

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