The Garden is more than a garden. It is a green roof. It is one of the first green roofs over a parking structure in the U.S. (see DOCOMOMO New York/Tri-State and The Cultural Landscape Foundation). Green roof installation is a water quality improvement strategy of Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC sustainability plan. The City has established a Green Roof Tax Abatement for the private
sector. This 53-year old green roof parking garage is and should be formally recognized as a sustainable example of green roof development in NYC.
We will continue encouraging the private sector to incorporate green infrastructure into their property through our Green Roof Tax Abatement. This program, which was passed by the New York State Legislature in 2008 and implemented by the City in 2009, provides an abatement from City property taxes of $4.50 per square foot of legally-installed green roof, up to $100,000. Property owners qualify with the installation of a green roof on at least 50% of a roof and preparation of a maintenance plan to ensure the viability of the vegetation and expected stormwater benefits. The program is currently scheduled to run until 2013. We will evaluate the program’s efficacy to determine whether to extend or modify it. (Source: PlaNYC Waterways Chapter)
Currently the city’s plan is to ramp up the technological infrastructure of the water system and use costly equipment to stop the spewing. This plan would cost $6.8 billion, however Bloomberg’s initiative could accomplish the same goal at a fraction of the cost. Not only would the green roofs be less expensive but they’ll save taxpayers money by keeping their water bills low — more infrastructure, more cost to the taxpayers. (Source: Inhabitat)
The NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection and the Dept. of Education are testing the stormwater-management benefits of blue (non-vegetated) and green roofs in On PS 118 in Queens. According to the study website, although green roofs are more expensive than blue roofs, a green roof greater benefit in the form of "absorbing and retaining large amounts of stormwater" as well as "absorbing air and noise pollution, rooftop cooling by reducing UV radiation absorption, creating living environments for birds, and increasing the quality-of-life for residents."
The numerous benefits of a green roof are also enumerated on the EPA Green Roof webpage. In addition to its watershed benefits, a green roof provides
- Reduced energy use: Green roofs absorb heat and act as insulators for buildings, reducing energy needed to provide cooling and heating.
- Reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions: By lowering air conditioning demand, green roofs can decrease the production of associated air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Vegetation can also remove air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions through dry deposition and carbon sequestration and storage.
- Improved human health and comfort: Green roofs, by reducing heat transfer through the building roof, can improve indoor comfort and lower heat stress associated with heat waves.
- Improved quality of life: Green roofs can provide aesthetic value and habitat for many species.
Read reason #4 here.
Read reason #5 here.
Read reason #6 here.
Read reason #7 here.
Read reason #8 here.
Read reason #9 here.
Read reason #10 here.