NYC Passes Green Roof Bill


Last week, the New York City council approved a package of bills and resolutions intended for radical energy efficient improvements.

The Climate Mobilization Act will require that all new residential and commercial buildings in the city have green roofs made up of either plants, solar panels or small wind turbines—or a combination of all three.

The Bills

The bill package includes legislation written by councilmembers Rafael Espinal, Donovan Richards and Stephen Levin. All bills will require that 100% of a roof’s area is to be covered by one of the green roof options, rather than the traditional 25% to 50% as required by other trending cities.

Espinal’s bill promotes an energy-efficient building practice, which requires that all commercial and manufacturing buildings are required to install an energy-efficient green roof.

“It’s important for New Yorkers to know that green roofs are going to play a major role in making our city a more livable city from lowering the temperatures of our communities to improving air quality across the city,” said Espinal.

Richards' bill tackles residential buildings that are five stories or fewer and have less than 100 square feet of rooftop space. In this instance, the building would be required to install a green roof option or solar-electricity-generating system, depending on the structure’s dimensions.

Richards' bill also requires that the Department of Housing Preservations and Development perform a study on the potential impact of green roofs and building affordability.

Lastly, Levin’s bill plans to increase real property tax abatement for the installation of green roofs to $15 per square foot. Typically, green roofs can cost anywhere from $20 to $30 per square foot, but the city has planned incentives to help cover the cost of installation.

"Today, we are passing a bill that won’t just make our skyline prettier—it will also improve the quality of life for New Yorkers for generations to come," Espinal concluded.

The New Green Deal

The green roof legislation comes on the heels of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s release of $14 billion act, OneNYC2050—Building a Strong and Fair City, the new legislation plans to cover new buildings, as well as those undergoing major renovations, and plans to cut the city’s greenhouse emissions by 30% by 2030.

There are two major parts of the initiative that impact the building and construction industry. Those include:

  • Requiring buildings cut their emissions. With the passage of the building mandates law, New York City is the first city in the world to require all large existing buildings of 25,000 square feet or more, of which there are 50,000 citywide, to make efficiency upgrades that lower their energy usage and emissions or face steep penalties, according to the report.
  • Banning new inefficient glass-walled buildings. The city will no longer allow all-glass facades in new construction unless they meet strict performance guidelines, making inefficient glass-heavy building designs a thing of the past.

In following the requirements of the new bill package, the green roofs aim to help to mediate the urban heat island effect, aid in cutting energy costs, help absorb air pollution, reduce stormwater runoff, provide soundproofing and promote biodiversity.

"We’ve already seen the revolutionary benefits of green roofs in action thanks to places around the city like Brooklyn Steel, the Barclays Center, the Javits Center, the USPS Morgan Processing and Distribution Center, and many others," Espinal stated.

Many other cities like Toronto, San Francisco, Portland and Denver have also taken similar strides in turning their cities green. Just last year, Denver had to adjust its mandates for its green changes.

De Blasio now just has to sign off on the new bill package, however, even if he doesn’t sign off on the legislation, it will automatically become law after 30 days.


Tagged categories: Commercial Buildings; Construction; Energy efficiency; Good Technical Practice; Green building; Green roofs; Laws and litigation; NA; North America; PaintSquare App - Commercial; Renovation; Residential; Solar; Solar energy

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