Green Roofs, Walls, and the Sewers
August 13th, 2008

Advocates concerned about sewage overflowing into the city’s waterways are pleased with the new state law passed last week incentivising green roofs. Green roofs consist of vegetation and soil which absorb rain water, keeping it from overburdening the sewer system – among other benefits such as energy conservation and a reduction in the urban heat island effect. The law grants a tax abatement of up to $100,000 a year for certain buildings in the city that install such roofs.

“Each 10,000 square foot green roof can capture between 6,000 and 12,000 gallons of water in each storm event,” said Paul Mankiewicz, Gaia Institute executive director. “This is rainfall that will never enter the combined sewer.”

Some city agencies are already getting into the act. The Parks Department has started a pilot green roof project that has 12 systems, each of which has a different growing medium, plant type, or installation model.

So what’s next?

On the technology side, the Green Brooklyn blog says that “green walls” were one of the next big things at the recent green building conference, held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. One yoga studio on the Upper East Side has already installed one.

One the policy front, the Water Watch blog proposes requiring buildings applying for sewer permits prove that the site will retain enough rain water to avoid overburdening local sewer infrastructure.

“The field of study is too new for the city to mandate a specific solution that applies across the board,” it says.

For a look at some of the green roofs around the city, check out this recent Business Week video via the Bronx River Alliance.

By on August 13, 2008, 4:03 pm
In category: Environment,Land Use,Parks,Waterfront | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “Green Roofs, Walls, and the Sewers”

  1. Find Plumbers Says:
    March 30th, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    The benefits of green roof technologies are understood by few and the market is still immature, but in Europe however, these technologies have become very well established. We should try to learn from them.

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