Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

September 16, 2016 08:00 ET

San Francisco Poised to Be the First Major U.S. City to Pass Requirements for Green Roofs on New Buildings.

CitiesAlive 2013 Green Roof Conference was a Catalyst for the New Legislation.

TORONTO, ONTARIO and SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA--(Marketwired - Sept. 16, 2016) - Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), the North American green roof and wall industry association, is delighted to congratulate San Francisco on its policy leadership. Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced legislation on September 6, which was unanimously approved by the San Francisco Planning Commission yesterday, that builds on their existing solar roof mandate. This makes San Francisco the first city in the U.S. to require green roofs and/or solar panels on new construction projects. "Rooftops are one of the last untapped environmental resources in our growing city, and we need to be strategic about how we activate these spaces," said Wiener.

The new legislation will allow owners and developers the option of building 30% of roof space as green roofs, or a combination of green roofs and solar panels. The proposed ordinance builds on legislation requiring 15% roof space to be set aside for solar panels adopted earlier in 2016, and allows owners and developers to implement two square feet of green roofs instead of one square foot of solar panels if they wish.

Jeff Joslin, Deputy Director of the San Francisco Planning Department said, "This legislation arrives as a direct result of the international green roof conference, Cities Alive, which San Francisco co-hosted in the fall of 2013 and the concurrent SPUR-issued policy recommendations in Greener and Better Roofs: A Roadmap for San Francisco."

San Francisco hosted the 11th Annual CitiesAlive Conference which highlighted urban resiliency by bringing together members of the green roof and wall industry, including policy makers and stakeholders. Since then, the City's Planning Department, Office of the Environment, and the Public Utilities Commission have worked to leverage the conference and develop this innovative policy. This year, CitiesAlive is in Washington, DC from November 1-4, 2016, and will celebrate the innovative policies that DC has implemented to address stormwater in the metro area.

"On behalf of all GRHC members and association partners, congratulations to the City of San Francisco and those who contributed to this policy," said Jeffrey L. Bruce, Chair, GRHC. "We look forward to watching San Francisco become a greener, healthier, and more resilient city."

"It's been a pleasure working with the city officials, SPUR and other stakeholders to contribute to developing this legislation which recognizes the important contribution green roofs can make to building owners and communities," said Steven W. Peck, Founder and President of GRHC. "Over the last three years, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has actively facilitated the development of this legislation with CitiesAlive, technical policy support, as well as providing Green Roof Professional (GRP) training in the marketplace," he added. "CitiesAlive will be held in Washington, DC this November 1-4, 2016, and Green Roof Professional training is currently scheduled for November 17 to 19, 2016 in San Francisco."

The proposed legislation is anticipated to seek a final approving vote by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors later this year. If approved, the ordinance will take effect January 1, 2017.


Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) is a membership-based industry association developing the green (vegetative) roof and wall industry in North America through education and advocacy.

CitiesAlive: 14th Annual Green Roof & Wall Conference is in Washington, DC, November 1-4. Green roof and wall leaders, policy makers, planners, and civil engineers, landscape architects and designers will focus on stormwater in Washington. CitiesAlive delegates who register by October 14 for the Stormwater Engineering Package will save $90. To register, visit

GRHC is an approved education provider for LA CES, AIA CES, BOMI, NLAP, APLD, and RCI. CitiesAlive attendees can earn up to 17 CEUs at CitiesAlive.

Image: CitiesAlive 2008 Extensive Institutional Awards of Excellence Winner, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA. Photo courtesy: DC Ryan and Rana Creek Design

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