Green Cities

France Goes All-In For Environmentally Friendly Roofs

In March of 2015, France passed new environmental legislation mandating that all planned commercial buildings must have roofs at least partially covered with either solar panels or plants. Of course, environment activists would have preferred the entire roof be covered and not just commercial buildings held to this new standard, but they can be costly and difficult to construct. When it comes to the environment “every little bit counts.” Even without the force of law, green roofs and solar panels are becoming popular worldwide as an important environmental initiative for individuals, companies, and whole communities. More and more people are beginning to understand the numerous negative impacts that rapid industrialization have and are having on the environment and our natural resources. They are joining the initiative to mitigate the issues urbanization and industrialization have caused. Planned correctly, rooftop gardens can provide habitats for birds and insects that were lost to the concrete of a city. And solar power is becoming a leader as a viable renewable energy source. The American movement for sustainable architecture has been unfolding at the local and state levels through government incentives and other programs like Earth Day Network’s Green Cities. This program helps educate the public about the economic and environmental rewards of energy efficient and sustainable building, but there is a call for greater action still. As a country that is continuously listed as having one of the biggest ecological footprints, America (and really any other countries with the means to do so) should be implementing more environmentally progressive laws to lower not just carbon emissions, but rainwater runoff pollution and habitat depletion. The USA is constantly building. If it were mandatory to build with the ideals of sustainability then – even as the economy continues to grow – the environmental impact rate would slow.