France Announces That All Rooftops Must Now Be Covered With Plants

Environmental regulation passed in France this March has mandated that all commercial buildings in France must have either plants or solar panels on the roof, a short article in the Guardian reports.

Because rooftop gardens insulate buildings with their thermal mass, the new legislation is being lauded by eco-enthusiasts and efficiency-sticklers alike: green roofs have an insolating effect, which helps reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a building in the winter and cool it in the summer. Plants also help retain rainwater, which benefits urban municipalities where excessive salt and runoff are pervasive issues. While businesses will have the option of incorporating solar panels instead of plants, most municipalities are opting for rooftop gardens because of the compendium of aesthetic benefits: rooftop gardens are excellent environments for employees to roam, and plantings can be harnessed to produce food or other raw materials to generate a profit– they also add a bit of cheer to dreary industrial landscapes. The initiative comes on the heels of Paris’ 2010 Plan Biodiversité, in which the city council adopted a strategy to plant 80,000 square yards of green roofs and rooftop gardens by 2020. Now, that effort has expanded to incorporate not just the entire city, but the nation as a whole.

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