30 percent of all the land area in San Francisco is comprised of rooftops, but most are underutilized, according to the San Francisco Planning Department. City supervisor Scott Wiener is offering a solution that builds on the measure passed earlier this year to require rooftop solar. If new legislation introduced September 6 is approved, San Francisco would be the first city “to pass requirements for green roofs.”
The San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously approved the legislation Wiener introduced. The existing solar mandate requires 15 percent of rooftops on buildings with 10 stories or less to include solar panels. The new legislation would go a step further: 30 percent of new roofs could be turned into green roofs or a blend of green roof and solar panels. Owners could include two square feet of living roofs or a blend of living roofs and solar as opposed to one square foot of rooftop solar panels. According to Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, their 11th Annual CitiesAlive Conference, hosted in San Francisco in 2013, helped inspire the legislation.
In a statement, Wiener said, “Climate change and our continuing drought demand that we take aggressive action to improve our city’s sustainability…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. Our solar requirement was a great step, and by adding green roofs to the mix, we will make our buildings greener, our air cleaner, and our city healthier.”
The next step is a vote from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors set to occur later in 2016. If they pass the ordinance, new buildings could start adhering to the new legislation January 1, 2017. The 14th Annual CitiesAlive Conference will take place in November in Washington, D.C.