Have you heard France is slowly going off the grid by declaring mandatory roof gardens or solar panels? It’s true; the French government passed a new law in March 2015 that states all new building structures constructed in commercial zones have to have either solar panels or gardens covering at least part of their roof area.
This is wonderful news for environmentalists and for the country at large, although it may cost a bit more at the outset and take a while for everyone to start experiencing the benefits. In the long run, it’s well known that green roofs have an excellent insulating quality, keeping heat inside the building in the winter time and keeping it cool in the summer months. Green roofs also provide birds with places to live and forage within an otherwise concrete environment. Also, green roofs also help filter the air as well as absorb rainwater, therefore eliminating issues with excessive water runoff on city streets. Meanwhile, solar panels are very beneficial for the environment, reduce carbon footprints, and can help building owners save thousands of dollars in heating bills each year. They are also one big step closer to becoming energy independent, or, in other words, “off the grid.” This is a very positive start towards greening the French urban landscape. Imagine if people started building new homes with half gardens, half solar panels on their roofs. Not only would it be beautiful, but it would also be nature-friendly, energy-efficient, cost-efficient, and liberating as well – that is, no more monthly heating bills.
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Imagine if entire cities and countries started going off-grid by implementing more and more small changes as France has by declaring mandatory roof gardens or solar panels. Imagine just how quickly this would change the world. Other areas are interested in greening their cityscapes. For example, people in Germany and Australia have been creating beautiful green roof gardens for quite some time now, and the idea is becoming more popular all the time. And Canada’s very own city of Toronto adopted a new by-law back in 2009, stipulating that all new residential and industrial building structures must include green roofs.
The movement towards living off-grid is taking root in so many different ways these days. Off-grid means living a life that is not solely dependent on public utilities such as electricity, grocery, and other commercial items. And it's not just one group that is deciding on alternative sources of energy; you will find everyone from individuals and families who are building green cabins and tiny homes that use alternative methods for electricity. Some of the alternative methods of electricity include solar panels, windmills, and water turbines to name a few, grow their food, and live virtually self-sufficiently, to cities like Toronto that are slowly but surely implementing new laws calling for more energy-efficient structures that won’t cost the bank to heat, off-grid living is making progress with each passing year.