Sherry Rivera, ENVIRRON
Green roofs are fast becoming an asset recognized by developers and real estate owners. There are a multitude of benefits. Let’s start with the financial benefits. They extend the life of your roof significantly by as much as 200-300% because it is protected from ultraviolet radiation, wind, and temperature fluctuations which is destructive to the roof. They have been proven to reduce energy consumption particularly during the summer months as the soils insulate the roof from the heat and the green roof plants transform heat and soil moisture into humidity to create a natural evaporative cooling. A single story building can generate a reduction of as much as 25% in reduced energy use for air conditioning. In larger buildings the top one or two floors would generate this benefit.
Green roof surfaces absorb a substantial amount of rainfall reducing runoff often talked about as storm water runoff. NYC has been talking about strengthening their already existing codes on storm water management but even before they do a green roof is a great asset in managing compliance with the current code offering a good option to be used in conjunction with other methods and helping reduce overall costs.
Green roofs are effective in noise reduction as an acoustic insulator where studies have shown green roofs can reduce indoor sound by as much as 40 decibels which may be particularly useful for buildings near airports, highways, trains or the like. The Barclay Center installed their green roof primarily for noise reduction.
Aesthetics is another benefit as buildings with green roofs can command higher rental rates for a commercial or residential green roof. I think most would agree that part of the success of the Highline in Manhattan can be attributed to its landscaping.
Finally, NY has a tax abatement of up to $100,000 available for the installation of green roofs. These are a few of the benefits derived from a green roof. Think about it, this could be for you.
Sherry Rivera is a principal at ENVIRRON, Rockville Center, N.Y.