France Declares All New Rooftops Must Be Topped With Plants Or Solar Panels


How’s this for urban progress: According to The Guardian, all rooftops on new buildings built in commercial zones in France must now be either partially covered in plants or fitted with solar panels. This decree went into place early March, 2015.

As green roofs have an isolating effect, this helps to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a building in winter and cool it in summer. This is just one way France is urging its citizens to do their part and limit the country’s carbon footprint.

Green roofs also help to retain rainwater, thus helping to reduce problems with runoff. And according to ecologists, the new environmental legislation will favor biodiversity and give birds a place to nest in the urban jungle.


When this law was first approved by parliament, it was more limited in scope than initial calls by French environmental activists. They sought to make green roofs that cover the entire surface mandatory on all new buildings. But with the Socialist government’s urging, concerned activists limited the scope of the law to commercial buildings only.

And the law was made less burdensome for business by requiring that only part of the roof to needs to be covered with plants. This allows them the choice of installing solar panels to generate electricity instead, notes Agence France-Presse.

Green roofs are gaining popularity worldwide. In Switzerland, all buildings must have a green roof if they have a suitable pitch. And in Canada, the city of Toronto began requiring some new buildings to include rooftop planting in their design as early as 2009; the requirements now apply to industrial buildings as well.

No doubt other countries will follow suit as the world becomes more environmentally conscious.

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