Green roof updates

January 2022

essential reads

Last spring, the New York City Council passed an ambitious climate legislation package focused on buildings, which are responsible for almost three-quarters of all local emissions. 

GRRA members Dustin R. Partridge and Danielle Spiegel-Feld sit down with Urban Omnibus to clarify what New York’s new climate laws can mean for city residents, building owners, and birds.

New green roofs video

The Newtown Creek Alliance in partnership with Kingsland Wildflowers produced a stunning video called Green Roofs Explained. This funding for this film was provided by the Green Roofs Researchers Alliance through a grant from the New York Community Trust

Featured site: 
city lights

This 16,000sf green roof amenity space serves a residential building with over 500 tenants. The green roof meadow is composed of a mix of flowering and herbaceous native plants that beautify the space while also serving as an ecological support system for local and migratory insects and birds.

New in Research

Rebuild by Design asked 20 experts, including #GRRA members Timon McPhearson and Danielle Spiegel-Feld to offer "Concrete ideas of policies and projects that protect our communities from the flash flooding and loss of life which we experienced from Hurricane Ida."


Green roofs explained


Benefits of Green Roofs


Improves Air Quality

Green roof technology can cut carbon and reduce air pollutants such as nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, and ozone. In addition, green roofs remove harmful fine particulate matter in the surrounding air.

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Extends Roof Longevity

By protecting roof structures from weathering and degradation, green roofs decrease the cost of repairs and maintenance. Green roofs last up to twice as long as conventional roofs.

Green Roofs

Increases Property Value & Decreases Tennant Turnover

Residential and commercial properties with green roofs have higher property values, lower tenant turnover, and lower energy costs. These advantages mitigate the initial high cost of green roof installation.


Increases Energy Efficienciency

Because of their insulating effect, green roofs can increase energy efficiency by reducing energy costs year-round and prolong the life of heating, ventilation, and HVAC systems. Calculate green roof energy savings here and learn how to make your building more energy-efficient.

Friends Relaxing on Grass

By providing outdoor space where people can socialize, garden, play, and relax, green roofs, like parks, may improve overall health and well-being. Green roofs are an important source of green space in dense cities. In addition, research has found that office workers are 2.9% more productive when the view out of their office windows includes vegetation.


Lowers Urban Temperatures

Green roofs can insulate buildings, making them cooler in summer and warmer in winter. An increase of green area decreases ambient air temperature and helps mitigate the urban heat island effect.


Retains Stormwater

Green roofs can retain more than half of annual precipitation, with performance dependent on the local microclimate, precipitation characteristics, growing media depth, and vegetation type. Stormwater retained by green roofs reduces the volume of runoff discharged to separate or combined sewer systems, helping to keep our waterways clean.

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Provides Needed Habitat and Increases Urban Biodiversity

Amid urban infrastructure, green roofs provide much-needed habitats on otherwise unutilized space. They act as connectors for many species, including birds, bees, bats, and insects, to move from one urban green space to another.


Reduces Noise &

Increases Insulation

Green roofs can reduce internal and external sounds by nearly 40 decibels. The soil substrate and plants absorb sound, unlike a conventional roof that simply reflects it.

With support from the Natural Resources Defense Council, and in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and the NYC Retrofit Accelerator, the Building Energy Exchange is holding a series of programs designed to demystify the components of the Climate Mobilization Act and connect our community with relevant solutions. Hear from experts directly involved in the development of the legislation and those charged with its implementation to understand how NYC’s Climate Mobilization Act will impact your real estate portfolio. Most importantly, learn about resources available through NYC Retrofit Accelerator and Building Energy Exchange to help your building comply with these new requirements.

green roof events