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France just wrote a new page in their law book that other countries would be keen to follow. As of this past March, they require any new commercial building to have a green “living” roof or be equipped with solar panels. The aim is to reduce the amount of energy consumed, as green roofs provide better insulation, keeping the building cool in the summer and warmer in the winter months.

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In addition, green roofs help promote biodiversity in urban environments, attracting birds and other animals that might otherwise become displaced. An added benefit is the plants retain water, thus reducing runoff and lessening the use of drainage systems.

The push for this change came from environmentalist groups in the country, and was backed by the socialist government. Initially they hoped to require all new buildings to have green roofs, but that seemed like burden on businesses and they opted to require only commercial spaces in the law, with a caveat that solar panels could also be used. As green and “living” roofs become more popular around the world we hope to see this sort of thing grow on people.

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