France has passed a new law making it mandatory for the rooftops of all new buildings in its commercial zones to be partially covered in plants or solar panels.

Although French environmental groups had lobbied for a more stringent rule that would require green roofs to cover the entire surface of all new buildings, the government has opted to give developers the option of installing solar panels to generate electricity instead, reports The Guardian.

The new regulation is expected to help France catch up with the fast solar adoption pace other European countries have experienced, as well as jump on the green roofs bandwagon already popular in Australia, Germany and Canada.

Not only will incorporating green roofs in buildings change the city’s skyline, it could also work to lower urban air temperatures and ameliorate urban heat island effects in France, which occur when generated heat is absorbed by the buildings, pavements, and vehicles in cities.

Rooftop gardens also lessen energy demands and attendant CO2 emissions in a variety of ways – they can help improve a building’s insulation, reduce cooling and some winter heating costs, as well as lower the electromagnetic radiation from other buildings, which increases solar panel production.

Check out how six Australian projects got their green roofs right HERE.