French law requires all new commercial buildings have green rooftops!
I guess I’m late to the party because I somehow completely missed this last spring, but I’ve just learned about some vibrant news coming out of France! Did you know that all new buildings in commercial zones across the country must, at least partially, cover their rooftops with plants or solar panels?These green rooftops create renewable and sustainable energy. They reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a building during the winter months, and thusly cool it down during the summer months. Those who opt for the plants are also retaining rainwater which helps to prevent issues with runoff. It also gives a home to insects and birds amidst an urban jungle! In addition to being environmentally beneficial, a recent study by the University of Melbourne found that green roofs could even improve worker productivity! In the study, participants who took a 40-second break just to look at a green roof were more focused and accurate when they got back to work compared to those who viewed a concrete roof.
"This draft law is a very positive step forward and a concrete lever for greener and smarter cities,” said James Watson, CEO of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association.
French environmental activists had been vying to make it mandatory that all new buildings make the entire surface of a rooftop green, but the government convinced the activists to limit their scope to include commercial buildings only. The law also made it less arduous for businesses by limiting the surface area required to be covered, and by giving them the choice of installing solar panels to generate electricity instead of covering the roof with plants.
"Solar electricity produced on your roof can partially or entirely instantaneously cover your own power needs," Watson said. Aside from the monetary savings, solar energy production saved about 110 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions globally in 2014.
While other cities like Tokyo, Copenhagen, Toronto, and Zurich have similar green roof bylaws, France is the first to introduce such legislation country-wide.
First creme brûlée and now this?! France, you have my heart.