Breaking Down The Denver Green Roof Initiative

In October of 2018, the Mile High City made waves with its passing of the Green Buildings Ordinance, a city-wide initiative that requires large building owners to install “green” roofing to reduce urban heat buildup and greenhouse gas emissions.  Since then, that ordinance has been replaced by a “Cool Roof” revision that allows for more flexibility in roofing options. But what exactly does that mean for you? And what can you do about it? Read on to learn about the new city changes, and also discover a cost-effective option that CIG Construction can provide to exempt you from such changes. 


What originally passed:

The original Denver green roof plan passed in October with the requirement that all large buildings would be updated with vegetative roofing, AKA gardens, trees, and other organic elements. However, this original plan fell apart when roofing experts like the CIG Construction team notified the city of the drastic construction issues and mounting costs businesses would face due to the added weight of such vegetation. CIG Construction owner, Kelly Stitzer, weighed on this issue last month on our first blog post on the topic.

“87% of existing buildings in Denver cannot withstand the weight capacity of a vegetative roof system. The ordinance will undoubtedly drive up the cost of construction, potentially driving up Denver’s already inflated real estate prices.”

—Kelly Stitzer, CIG Construction

What changed:

Since industry backlash, budgeting issues, and a buildup of community frustration due to rising real estate prices followed the new Denver Green Roof Initiative, the city went back to the drawing board. What they finally landed on was the new and improved “Cool Roof” plan, which requires owners to install cool, reflective roofing onto their buildings when being constructed, expanded, or re-roofed.

“Cool Roofs” are defined as the following according to the Denver green roof plan: 

  • Low-slope roofs meeting minimum reflectance levels 
    • Allowed surface types: Metal, concrete pavers, concrete surface, stone, and more
    • Required initial minimum reflectance: Ranges from 0.20 – 0.70 depending on surface type
  • Steep-sloped roofs meeting minimum reflectance levels
    • Allowed surface types: Clay or concrete installed on elevated battens and more
    • Required initial minimum reflectance: None required for clay or concrete, 0.25 for other surface types 
  • Read complete reflectance requirements and allowed surface types here.

The new Denver Green Roof Initiative applies to the following cases where a roofing permit is required: new buildings 25,000 SF+ under construction, existing buildings 25,000 SF+ requiring roof replacement, and building additions 25,000 SF+ requiring roofing installation.

hail damage roof repair

If your business falls under one of the above categories, a cool roof may be in your future. Keep in mind, the Denver green roof initiative requirements of your new or replaced roof vary by building size and age. On top of installing a new reflective roof, your business is required to meet additional compliance options as well.

Some of these Denver green roof compliance options include:

  • Payment to the Green Building Fund
  • Green Space or Green Roof Additions or Replacements
  • On-Site Solar Panels
  • Green Building Certification
  • Energy Program Enrollment
  • Energy Conservation

Read more about your compliance options by checking out our previous post: 


As you can see, the Denver Green Roof Initiative requires a complex and sizable investment from your business to remain compliant. But what if we told you there was an option that avoided these costly requirements all together?

Keep reading to discover CIG’s cost-effective option.

What you can do about it:

The new Green Building Ordinance only applies to roofing changes that require a roofing permit. Instead of replacing your roof when the time comes, consider a simple, efficient, and permit-free option like roof coating.

Roof coatings provide a cost-effective construction method that avoids the substantial fees and downtime that come with the new green roof initiative, but still upgrade and protect your roof.

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Ready to save your business money?

CIG Construction provides trusted and streamlined roof coatings with a 20 year warranty that keeps your business running, protecting you from potential hail damage and costly Denver green roof initiative fees. Contact our team today to protect your business without breaking the bank.

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Commercial Roofing

Information courtesy of denvergov.org