New York raises the roof on sustainability
New York has passed a set of ordinances to make the Big Apple’s rooftops greener and the city cooler. The new ordinances encourage the installation of solar power and co-generation distributed energy systems, and seek to reduce the number of dark-colored roofs that contribute to the “heat island effect.”
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the laws on April 29. Two of the ordinances, Introductory Number 341-A and Introductory Number 358-A, exempt solar panel installations and co-generation distributed energy systems from height and story restrictions in the city’s building code. However, co-generation distributed energy systems can be no more than one-third of the area of the entire roof, while that restriction does not apply to solar power installations, according to Bloomberg.
The final bill, Introductory Number 347-A, more closely aligns the existing white roof requirements in the 2008 Building Code with the performance-based “cool roof” standards for emissivity and reflectivity prescribed by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. “The proliferation of dark surfaced roofs in the city contribute greatly to the ‘urban heat island’ effect, by which dense urban areas experience increases in summer temperatures relative to neighboring communities,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “This bill compliments ongoing efforts to reduce the urban heat island effect, such as the NYC Cool Roofs collaboration between NYC Service and the Department of Buildings.”
The new laws are based on recommendations of the city’s Green Codes Task Force, which the New York Urban Green Council established in 2008 to recommend code amendments that could improve the sustainability of the city’s built environment. “New York’s rooftops are one of our last great, untapped resources in terms of space, and these bills will help move us toward more beneficial and sustainable use of that space,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
Read more about New York’s sustainable roofs ordinances.