New York City Will Require Green Roofs and/or Solar Panels on Newly Constructed Buildings

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New York City Will Require Green Roofs and/or Solar Panels on Newly Constructed Buildings
Green roof atop the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City

NEW YORK—Green Roofs for Healthy Cities announced that the New York City Council has passed a suite of measures to reduce greenhouse gases released from buildings in New York City, including a requirement for green roofs and/or solar panels on newly constructed buildings. The Climate Mobilization Act passed NYC Council last week.

“For the past two years Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has been advocating for new measures to grow the green roof market in New York City, and we are very pleased with the passage of this new legislation,” said Steven W. Peck, GRP, Honorary ASLA, Founder and President, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. “New York now joins cities like Denver, San Francisco, Toronto and Portland, Oregon in making green roofs a requirement. Through direct lobbying efforts from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities members and other partners, New York City will quickly become a leader in reducing the effects of climate change from its buildings. Thanks to all of the individuals involved!”

Rafael Espinal, NYC Council Member, 37th District, who has been at the forefront of this push for a greener New York City, said, “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. My legislation will require green roofs to be installed on new residential and commercial buildings, making New York the largest city in the nation to pass such a law. 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. They cool down cities by mitigating Urban Heat Island Effect, cut energy costs, absorb air pollution, reduce storm-water runoff, promote biodiversity, provide sound-proofing, and make our cities more livable for all.”

“I want to thank the advocates who were instrumental in pushing this forward, Council Members Donovan Richards and Stephen Levin for partnering with me on this effort, and Speaker Johnson for his leadership,” Espinal said. “These bills show that New York will not be idle in the face of an existential threat like climate change. At a time when the federal government is taking us backward, it is up to cities to lead us into a sustainable future. The time to act is now.”

The Climate Mobilization Act is the largest single act to cut climate pollution of any city. In a densely packed metropolitan of over seven million residents, commercial and residential buildings are the largest source of emissions and sit at the center of the policy change. The Act will set emission caps with the goal of reducing emissions by 2030. Depending on the size and property assessments of the buildings, owners will be able to meet targets, ranging from a cut of emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050 for larger buildings. Smaller buildings will reduce emissions in more modest measures.