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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: I do think that green roofs are a great idea and would increase the biodiversity of a neighborhood and help with energy efficiency. However, I do wonder about the risks of making this mandatory. I feel that if developers are to continue building at the rate they are going now in order to maintain their business and at the same time to implement green roofs, they might cut corners elsewhere. It is no surprise that construction sites go up as fast as possible because it is what will make them the most money. If you require them to add on green roofs and all of the extra work and special materials that go along with building a green roof, I fear that corners will be cut elsewhere and therefore possible cause a greater risk than the green roofs are worth.
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      Jun 1 2012: Theresa, you make a very valid point. Today, our society is big on being cost efficient. A building company would care more about the initial cost then saving earths biodiversity, simply because it is just not their job. If green roofs were to become mandatory, the developers might indeed cut cost somewhere else in the building process. With that said, do you think that there is any way around this obstacle? Is there a way that green roofs could become mandatory without it effecting the quality of the work?
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      Jun 1 2012: It is true that there would be cuts elsewhere but I don't think that the quality of the work would be affected to a point that it was bad. What kind of work do you mean? Like the building itself? There regulations that must be followed so that it is not a poorly constructed building. Now if it is decoration that would decrease in quality , that is not a big deal. If it a reduction in the quality of work of the service provided, then that affects those in charge directly.

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