What You Need to Know Before Building a Roof in Denver

As of November 2nd, 2018, the City of Denver has enacted a Green Building Ordinance. This requires any roof over a 25,000 square foot building to have a cool roof and another eco-friendly option. If you’re building a new building, your roof will have to comply, and existing building will have to comply when replacing their current roof (unless the roof being replaced was damaged in an emergency). So what do you need to know in order to be compliant in the Mile High City?

Step 1: Understand Your Options

There are two compliance pathways you can take, one for existing buildings and one for new construction. All roofs must be cool roofs, and in addition to that, you must choose at least one of several compliance options. New buildings have eight compliance options, and existing buildings have five. The options range from green roofs (otherwise known as vegetative roofs), solar panels, green energy programs with Xcel, green building certifications, or a cash-in-lieu fee of $50 per square foot that goes into a City Green Fund. Some options are expensive and some are quite affordable, but almost all of them will actually save you a lot of money in the long run.

Step 2: Establish Your Goals

Whether you are building a new roof or replacing one, your goals for meeting these compliance options are important for determining with pathway is best for you. You may, in fact, want to choose the most difficult, but the most sustainable option simply because you know that a sustainable building with a green roof will last longer, save you money, and have a positive impact on the community in which your building resides. Or you may be on a very small budget and want to choose the least expensive option. Maybe there is a way you can do a little bit of both. But knowing what your values are will help you determine the right options within your budget and timeline.


Step 3: Hire the Right People

So how do you align your goals with the right compliance pathway and make sure everything goes to plan? You hire the right people. From green roof consultants to green building contractors, you want to make sure you hire someone who understands local laws and can make sure you are compliant. In addition, you want to hire someone who will choose the best option for your budget. There are a lot of financing options for green roofs and alternative energy projects that have low interest rates and terms, as well as tax or saving incentives for green building projects. And depending on the compliance pathway you want to choose, you may need additional help such as structural engineers or landscape architects.


It may seem daunting at first, but the Green Building Ordinance is actually a great document that gives building owners and contractors a lot of options to be compliant, no matter what your situation is. If you think you’ll need help with replacing or building a roof, contact Sow Green today. We can help you understand your options and hire the right people to make sure your project goes as smoothly as possible!