Making a Green Difference in Denver
As we move into the spring season, it’s hard not to see the beauty of Colorful Colorado. The days are getting longer which means more time to enjoy the scenery. Our state is notorious for the great hikes because of having a mile-high elevation, and the breathtaking view below those peaks. Colorado ranks in the top ten most beautiful states in the nation, and among one of the healthiest in the United States.
Now all those facts are obvious to the residents or even the tourists that have fallen in love with the state. Surprisingly most do not realize where Denver falls in environmentally rankings. Denver has been categorized as third most intense state for UHI (Urban Heat Island) effect according to USA Today. You may be wondering what exactly UHI means. National Geographic describes it as an area much warmer than rural areas surrounding it, UHI is created by the higher population of people with high activity. Once we know the meaning of the term, it’s not quite as shocking. Unfortunately, that ranking is accompanied with eleventh for worst air quality in the United States.
My first question when coming across this scaling that Denver has fallen into was, how can that be? Well, Denver is the second fastest growing state, and that can be seen in merely just being in the state compared to five years ago. Denver is constantly building to house and grow with the population moving to our great state. This is one of the main cause for UHI effect because it is a modification of the land. As the buildings go up and the area is taken over by asphalt and concrete, the land no longer reflects the heat during the day but absorbs it. Along with this absorption, we’ve taken away the natural cooling effects by displacing the natural vegetation that was in place. With all these factors weighing in it is no wonder we are radiating as an UHI. With this growing process comes the growing numbers of vehicles on the road, houses requiring heat, and industrial plants able to work 24/7. Everything taking place for this growth contribute to the air quality and heat island that Denver is slowly growing known for.
Alright, so now that I’ve sent you into a slight panic about how bad Denver’s air is to breathe and the even higher temps this summer, you might be wondering how we can reduce all of these? My suggestion is to join Denver’s Green Roof Initiative. This movement is meant to improve storm water management, conserve energy, and believe it or not REDUCE URBAN HEAT ISLAND. So, what are Green Roofs? They are landscapes built on top of roofs that have passed the structural requirements. Green roofs can be extensive, semi-intensive, or intensive depending on the building’s roof structure and the price willing to be paid. These structures consist of a choice of vegetation, growing medium, drainage, and waterproof/root barrier. Green roofs can serve as a break area, and even provide part time employments to maintain intensive systems. As for business owners, they can reduce the cost for heating/cooling during seasons, extend roof life, gain tax incentives, and give a purpose to unused space. They improve air quality, filter storm water, and reduce the carbon monoxide impact in larger cities.
We have teamed up with Green Earth to join this movement to be part of keeping Colorado colorful. Every city deserves to have residents ready to work and invest in its future. Fortunately for us, we are lucky enough to already have one of the most beautiful states to maintain.