Recently, many things have changed in Buenos Aires concerning environmental awareness and policies towards more responsible urban planning - ones that are in tune with the rest of the world. As mentioned in previous posts, the government of the city is making huge changes in waste management, sustainable transportation and promoting an overall "green" mentality.
However, until not so long ago, green or sustainable building was left lagging behind or even forgotten entirely in the priorities of the government. Responsibility was left mainly to the private sector, which self-imposed some green building regulations and imported ideas from North America.
That promises to change from now on due to the recent approval by the Buenos Aires Legislature for the Green Roofs and Terraces Law, which will provide economic benefits for all building owners who green their roofs and decks. More specifically, tax credits will be given on city taxes to those who carry out green roofing initiatives, especially the "Alumbrado, Barrido y Limpieza" tax (lighting, sweeping and cleaning).
The new law also states that these covers must have waterproof membrane insulation, a protective folder and after coating at the gravel drainage layer, and that all green covers must have a structural analysis to verify the resistance loads generated by their implementation.
The city government hopes that the implementation of this law will create a massive expansion of green roofs or terraces whose main objective is to contribute to the improvement of the urban environment. A sustainable future can be achieved only through ecological sustainability and adaptation strategies to climate change, and this obviously should also apply to buildings.
At this level, clearly the aim of these measures on buildings is to contribute to a more sustainable development of the city, as it reduces runoff, helps to reduce the effect of the urban heat island and improves air quality. However delayed this law is in the global context, it is a huge step considering the recent developments of a city that was falling dangerously behind in terms of sustainability.
And even if there is much still to be accomplished, the fact that the government is taking a strong position on the issue makes one hopeful of the future and hopeful that other cities in the country learn from this example.
Do you think governmental action is essential for sustainability? Can our cities rely on the private sector? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Credits: Images by Luis Lozano-Paredes. Data linked to sources.