28 May All rooftops in France must have solar panels or plants
According to a Law passed in March 2015, France, all new buildings in commercial zones must be partially covered with plants or solar panels. Green roofs reduce the amount of energy required to heat and cool a building, and solar panels provide the building with renewable energy, further reducing the footprint of the building.
Green roofs provide a number of benefits including the following:
- add to the visual amenity of the building which increases the appeal of the building to investors
- can keep materials such as waterproof membranes from being thrown into landfill and prolong the life of HVAC systems
- assist with stormwater management as water is stored in the substrate, taken up by plants and subsequently returned to the atmosphere via transpiration and evaporation. They also retain rainwater and moderate its temperature.
- plants trap air pollutants and other atmospheric deposition and filter poisonous gases
- avail community gardens in busy cities where space is generally limited.
France is a leader in green rooves in Europe, having approximately 10 times the number of green rooves of Germany. France derives nearly 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy however it lags in terms of solar energy with only 5 Gigawatts of photovoltaics installed as of the last summer (1% of all energy production). In contrast, Germany has nearly 40 Gigawatts of solar installed.
All pollution is also a concern in France and Paris’ air quality is beginning to rival that of Beijing and New Delhi. Paris has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2050. In March this year, authorities in Paris permitted only half of the cars to be on the road to improve air quality by banning cars with even numbered licence plates. It is the third time since 1997 that this measure has been taken.
In addition to banning cars, authorities also limited drivers to a speed limit of approximately 20 kilometres per hour. On the spot fines were given to drivers who exceeded the limit. All public transport in and around Paris and residential parking were free. The impact on the roads was dramatic with 30% fewer traffic jams during the morning peak hour traffic.