New York City Council members Rafael Espinal, Donovan Richards and Steve Levin today formally introduced a package of legislation aimed at expanding green roofs in New York City. The bills represent a concerted legislative effort to combat climate change and provide more sorely-needed green space in New York City.
“For one of the greatest tools in the fight against climate change we need to look upwards,” said Council Member Levin. “Green roofs are an incredible innovation that reduce ambient temperatures, save energy, and reduce the strain on our sewer system, thereby preventing waste from being dumped into our waterways. Solar panels will also be crucial to jumpstarting our renewable energy generation right here at home. This set of legislation demonstrates a serious commitment to protecting our environment, and I applaud Council Members Espinal and Richards for their leadership on this issue.”
A green roof is a roof that is partially or completely covered with plants and a growing medium on top of a waterproof membrane. Multiple studies have found that green roofs offer a variety of benefits for the environment. They reduce urban heat island effect by cooling down the surrounding atmosphere. They also mitigate stormwater runoff, which decreases water pollution. In some cases, green roofs can also be used for urban farming to provide more healthy, locally grown foods and jobs to our neighborhoods. Building owners and homeowners would also benefit from green roofs. The added insulation they provide can cut cooling and heating bills of the building’s upper floors. In addition, they provide a new amenity for residents that can increase property values.
“The time to fight climate change is now,” Council Member Espinal said. “By greening every single rooftop in New York City, we will make a strong commitment to doing our part to protect the planet. In the most famous landscape in the world, New York City could turn our concrete jungle into a green oasis.”
Legislation sponsored by Espinal would require that the roofs of certain buildings cover all available space with a green roof system, solar panels, small wind turbines, or a combination of all three. Legislation also sponsored by Espinal would require the Office of Alternative Energy to provide information about green roofs on their website. Legislation sponsored by Richards would require that the roofs of certain new buildings be partially covered in plants or solar panels. Legislation sponsored by Levin would require that the roofs of city-owned buildings be partially covered in source control measures, including green roof or blue roof systems, or a combination of both.
“New York City must be leveraging every opportunity possible to reduce our carbon footprint and our rooftops represent prime real estate for that very goal,” said Council Member Richards. “Installing solar panels or green roofs on every roof possible would be a major boost for our environment, long term quality jobs, and even save businesses and property owners thousands of dollars in energy costs. I’d like to thank Council Members Espinal and Levin for their partnership on this package of legislation.”
“With this legislation New York City joins a growing family of cities that are using rooftops to manage stormwater, generate clean energy, reduce the urban heat island, provide green jobs and generate much needed recreational spaces,” said Steven W. Peck, GRP, Founder and President of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.
News item from New York City Council