Green Roofs for an environmentally Friendly Greener City

by | Jul 30, 2018 | City News, News, Real Estate

Legislatures are proposing that green roofs will create a greener city both literally and environmentally. The proposed bills may make downtown New York a more environmentally friendly area to work in, shop in and, most importantly, to live in. 

Three City Council members, Councilman Stephen Levin, Councilman Donovan Richards Jr, and Councilman Espinal, all introduced bills. These bills would require newly constructed buildings like libraries, storage facilities, and department stores to have energy-efficient roofs.  Collectively, the three bills would potentially require that every new building come equipped with a green roof or some other green technology.

Councilman Espinal introduced the most recent bill on July 18th. The bill, if put into law,  will require all new skyscrapers, storage facilities and department stores to come outfitted with wind turbines, solar panels, or a roof that is partially or completely covered with plants. 

The Pros



Photo courtesy of Councilman Espinal’s office

“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 neighborhood.” per Councilmember Rafael Espinal.


Green roofs can help reduce New York City’s carbon footprint while providing more green plants simultaneously. Green Roofs also add insulation and may help reduce heating bills for individuals living on top floors. Carbon offsetting measures, like the proposed bill, help make NYC  more environmentally conscious. However, the measures will not affect the environment alone.

Green Roofs for an environmentally Friendly Greener City

The Cons

Not all people think that green roofs are the most effective way to approach environmental conservation. Real estate companies, contractors, and architects have voiced concerns that not all rooves are capable of housing green roofs due to weight considerations. Additionally, some roofs may not be exposed to enough sunlight or wind to justify the installation of solar paneling or wind turbines. Green roofs may also replace other roof-top recreation that New Yorkers have come to enjoy, such as rooftop pools and bars. Ultimately, many fear that the additional costs, that come with constructing green roofs, will only be put onto local residents, and tenants.

Green roofs may or may not be the right fit for NYC. Is the future of our skyline green?

Downtown Magazine