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August 10, 2009 @ 10:58 am
It Pays to Install Green Roofs (Part 1)

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I’m not even talking about the energy savings, cost savings and environmental benefits though. I’ve talked about these advantages on my products page but now I’m going to focus on tax credits. A number of places have mandated green roofs under certain circumstances; Toronto, Tokyo and Switzerland to name a few. Another approach that’s often more agreeable to building owners and developers is the voluntary opportunity to receive tax credits.

The program I’m most familiar with and closest to home is the New York State incentive passed by the state legislature last year. It offers building owners in New York state cities with a population of one-million plus (i.e. New York City only) a tax credit equal to $4.50 per ft2 when they install a green roof. Generally, this would cover about 25% of the costs (materials, labor, installation and design) associated with building a green roof. The one-year property tax credit is capped at $100,000 and the green roof must have at least two inches of growing media and cover at least 50 per cent of available rooftop space.

greenroof-skyline
According to comments from Storm Water Infrastructure Matters (SWIM) in this article, “the environmental benefits of the legislation are measurable. Each 10,000 square foot green roof, for instance, can capture between 6,000 and 12,000 gallons of water in each storm event, the evaporation of which will produce the equivalent of between a thousand and two thousand tons of air conditioning — enough heat removal to noticeably cool 10 acres of the city.”

Just think what it would be like if all rooftops supplemented the green space in New York or your city. Despite its massive size and positioning as the heart and lungs of New York City, Central Park only covers 843 acres or 1.32 mi2 (3.4 km2). Meanwhile, Manhattan contains over 950,000 buildings spread over the island’s 22.96 mi2 (59.5 km2). Certainly streets, parks and other non-roof structures take up some space but all those roofs could create a network of green space that is multiples of Central Park’s size.

Tomorrow’s post will highlight other green roof incentive plans.

Photo: 416style via Flickr

One Response to “It Pays to Install Green Roofs (Part 1)”

  1. GreenBldgBlog - Home Says:

    […] in part 1, I talked about the tax incentive provided for green roof construction in NYC. Today I will touch […]

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