France's new "green roof" law will require any new construction in commercial zones to have a roof covered in plants or solar energy panels. The nation boasts a mere 5 gigawatts of solar generation, lagging well behind Europe's more advanced nations in solar installation, such as Germany, which has closer to 40 gigawatts of installed solar power.
The "green roof" law serves several purposes, according to Intelligent Building Today. Should a property owner decide to go with plants instead of solar, they will gain free insulation to reduce heating and cooling needs and reduce pollution through the air-cleaning properties of plantlife.
"The primary function of a green roof would be for environmental purposes," ecologist Colleen Butler told The Times-Picayune, expounding on the benefits, such as water retention. "The rain falls on the roof and gets absorbed by the soil of the green roof. It prevents the water from becoming storm water, and then having the municipality have to deal with that water with pipes and drains and pumps."
However, the real benefits come from businesses that decide to invest in solar power.
"Green roofs" have become popular in other parts of the world as well, with great success shown in New Orleans, Louisiana, as well as Germany, according to the news source. Toronto also passed a "green roofs" law in 2009 for industrial and residential construction.
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