A groundbreaking new law has recently been passed in France, which requires the rooftops of new buildings that will be built in commercial zones in France to have plants or solar panels in them. This is one major step in the overall goal of France to have most, if not all, of its roofs to be "green roofs".
Such green roofs have several advantages that are beneficial to the building owners and to the environment, in general:
Making use of unused space - rooftops are usually just vacant spaces that provide no active use to building owners, aside from protecting the building from the outside elements. With green roofs, rooftops can be turned into gardens or small farms and even into energy generation facilities with solar panels.
Increased insulation - adding plants or solar panels to rooftops can act as another form of insulation to a building, which reduces the energy that is needed to heat it during winter and cool it during summer. This then reduces the overall demand on the national power grid during peak hot or cold weather, which can even reduce electricity prices.
Create spaces and homes for birds and other wildlife - humans and animals coexisting seems impossible in a dense urban city setting but this green roof initiative will help to change that. This is one of the major reasons why this law that requires green roofs have been pushed mainly by environmental activists in the country.
Turning roofs into energy generation facilities - with solar panels, you generate energy right on your very roof which can help meet some or all of your building's energy demand.
Reduced greenhouse gas emissions - adding plants or solar panels to a building's rooftop works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and its total carbon footprint, which is great in fighting climate change.
Environmental activists from France actually demanded a law that requires 100% roof coverage by plants or solar panels, but even if the passed law only requires partial coverage, it is still a huge step towards sustainability.
This green roof initiative may incur some costs for the building owner, but the good thing is that they earn it all back, especially with solar panels, as having a green roof also offers some financial incentives.
What makes this law standout is that it takes effect for the whole country of France. Similar laws and regulations have been passed in many cities all around the world, but France's law was the first one to have nationwide coverage.