There are many advantages to greening your roof, financial and otherwise. Becoming an engine of urban agriculture can save you money, increase income and create a lasting community resource. If you are interested in hosting a farm, contact us.
- Savings on capital expenditures & maintenance: Green roofs protect the underlying structure from the ravages of thermal shock, freeze and thaw cycles, UV radiation and physical damage. This prolongs the life of the underlying materials by decades, delaying rehab and replacement expenditures. According to greenroofs.com, the green roof at Rockefeller Center still maintains its original waterproof membrane, installed in the 1930’s!
- Savings on HVAC: The growing medium and plant material act as insulating layers that save money on both heating and cooling. The amount of savings depends on many factors, among them the height of a building, the thickness of the growing medium, the amount of surface area covered and climate. An energy audit will go a long way towards estimating savings.
- Increased income: A growing body of research, including transaction on thousands of buildings and leases, link various greening efforts with increased rent roles and higher resale value.
- Savings on compliance and fees: Greenroofs prevent a tremendous amount of water run-off. This can reduce costs associated with compliance with local stormwater regulations. Some municipalities, including NYC, are beginning to charge fees for roof run-off.
- Public Relations: Farmed roofs have quickly become media magnets, being covered by major outlets of all platforms. They continue to attract significant interest including visits by elected officials, with farm openings attended by Mayors, Council Members, Congress Members, etc.
- Greening -vs- Farming your roof: Any greenroof will need some measure of maintenance. By allowing a roof to be farmed an owner can transfer those maintenance activities to a farmer/leaseholder and avoid those costs entirely.
Environmental Benefits: NYC’s built environment has a substantial environmental impact. Rooftops in NYC cover 38,000 acres, an area the size of a sixth borough. This area is largely impermeable, highly absorptive of heat and poorly insulated. By greening this incredible expanse, we can:
- Reduce the urban heat island effect
- Reduce the 30 billion gallons of run-off that pollute our waterways
- Reduce energy demand and buildings’ CO2 footprint
- Improve indoor air quality by placing vegetation near air intakes
- Create habitat with high wildlife value
Community Benefits: Depending on the degree of access, rooftop farms can become publicly accessible green space that provides a platform for community building and education. Rooftop farms can become a source of locally-grown, fresh produce and green jobs. The environmental benefits of rooftop farms are shared by all, regardless of site access.
Other People’s Money! The timing could not be better for installing rooftop farms in NYC. A range of tax abatements and grants can substantially reduce the cost of the building upgrade.