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San Francisco Legislation Aims To Add Green Roofs To New Buildings

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced legislation Tuesday that would allow developers to substitute a "green roof" for solar panels on new construction.

Following up on his previous legislation, passed in April, requiring all new construction to include rooftop solar panels, Wiener introduced legislation that would allow developers to meet that requirement with a plant-covered "green roof," solar panels, or a mix of the two.

"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," Wiener said Tuesday. "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 previous solar panel legislation required that at least 15 percent of new roofs in buildings up to 10 stories in height include installed solar panels.

The new legislation would allow developers to meet some of that requirement, at a ratio of 2 square feet of green roofs for every 1 square foot of solar.

Green or living roofs can create energy savings, reduce stormwater runoff, improve air quality, provide ecological habitat and prolong the life of the roof, according to a San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association Green Roof Task Force.

"Our research has shown that greener, better roofs bring many benefits to building owners and the general public alike," said Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director at SPUR.

The best known example of a living roof in San Francisco is on the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, while others can be seen at a mixed-use building at 38 Dolores Street and at 50 United Nations Plaza.

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