Just in time for Earth Day, the New York City Council passed a package of legislation called the Climate Mobilization Act on April 18th. The package included ten pieces of legislation, one of which, Intro 1032, will require green roofs or solar panels on all new construction and rooftop replacements.
Green roofs achieve many environmental goals: they help reduce energy demand in buildings, reduce Urban Heat Island effect, purify the air, create vital habitat for birds and other pollinators, and help capture and manage the stormwater runoff that currently overloads our sewer system causing sewage overflows in our waterways.
With over one million rooftops in NYC, there is ample opportunity to utilize this space to make NYC greener. Other cities including Denver, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington DC have green roof laws. As the largest city in the country, NYC’s law will have the massive impact, potentially transforming thousands of rooftops to environmental assets each year. The bill will automatically become law in 30 days, unless signed into law by the Mayor before that.
Now the City has passed this ambitious law, we need to ensure there are robust incentives to install green roofs. Solar energy is a more mature market with a variety of financial and technical assistance readily available to property owners. We need to push for similar incentives and assistance programs for green roofs both at the City and the State levels. For starters, we should amend and renew the green roof tax abatement program at the state level. We should also urge the City to restructure the water rate to incentives green infrastructure.
See more coverage of the new bill in the Brooklyn Eagle and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.