Under a recent New York City law, building owners now have the option of installing green rooftops for a 1 year property tax credit of $100,000. Each owner claiming the credit would have to utilize at least 50% of the rooftop space available. The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Ruben Diaz Jr.
This legislation is so important because it can help to capture rain water that would otherwise funnel into storm drains and cause overflows in the sewage system. Keeping sewage waste out of waterways is necessary for local plant and animal life in addition to providing safe drinking water. Also, lessening noise and absorbing heat play a vital part in the allure of green technology. The Bronx has already been incorporating green technology in their rooftops as part of a program designed to conserve energy and promote a healthy environment.
According to a board member of the New York City Soil & Water Conservation District, Dr. Paul S. Mankiewicz, “”Each 10,000 square foot green roof can capture between 6,000 and 12,000 gallons of water in each storm event. This is rainfall that will never enter the combined sewer. At the same time, the evaporation of this rainfall will produce the equivalent of between a thousand and two thousand tons of air conditioning, enough heat removal to noticeably cool ten acres of the City. This is a management practice that increases biodiversity and can literally add enjoyable landscape to all the boroughs of New York”. (Source: E-wire)
Germany also has been a key player in green roof top technology. Today, Germans enjoy a $77 million green rooftop industry. 10% of German flat rooftops are reported to be installed with green gardens. Germany is generally credited with starting the green rooftop trend. Elsewhere, London has planned many new green roof projects in the coming years which include an additional 1 million square feet scheduled to add to their already 200,000 square feet of green roofing. Europe is currently leading in this developing technology, but the U.S. is starting to catch up, with New york taking the lead in providing tax incentives for future projects. Chicago has stepped up to the challenge with a large green roof atop the city hall building.
Low Impact Development has some great tools and ideas on their website to begin the process of installing green rooftops and gardens.
Greenroofs.com is a great site to visit for research, links and projects featuring green rooftops. They also highlight a green rooftop each week to help get the creative juices flowing.