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    The Promise and the Myth of Green Rooftops

    September 12th, 2023

    Last week, news broke that the Brooklyn Navy Yard, an industrial complex on Brooklyn’s waterfront, just installed a group of new environmentally friendly rooftops. The project is a partnership with New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection Green Infrastructure Grant program (DEP), which aims to reduce stormwater “and help keep it out of our sewer system,” said the city’s DEP commissioner, Vincent Sapienza.

    Covering 23,000 square feet of rooftop space with grass and wildflowers, the yard received a $700,000 grant to make this happen. The city contributed $351,788, while Brooklyn real estate firm Steiner footed the rest of the bill, paying a whopping $537,000 for the project. The chairman of Steiner NYC, Doug Steiner, said in a statement that: “The green roofs and extensive landscaping with their native plant palette create a biodiversity that butterflies, and birds, have already been enjoying. We are glad to be supporting the local ecology while also reducing the heating and cooling demand of the buildings.”

    installing M-Tray modular green roof

    The green roof will manage approximately 1,800,000 gallons of stormwater annually, as the rooftop has been covered with soil and planted with ornamental grasses, perennial wildflowers and sedum to absorb the rainfall, which the city has calculated as “nearly 2.5 million gallons in a typical year.” (The Brooklyn Navy Yard already has a solar-powered kitchen, and something called Rooftop Reds, the world’s first commercial rooftop vineyard).

    “This project is a wonderful example of a partnership between government and a strong community leader to build the green infrastructure, which has enhanced the sustainability of the Navy Yard and is already helping to improve the health of the East River and New York Harbor,” claims Sapienza.

    This trend is growing, apparently. According to a recent report from Technavio, a market research firm, green rooftops will grow by $8.8 billion by 2025. The report claims the largest markets for green roofs are Germany, the US, Japan, Canada, and Singapore, with North America registering the highest growth rate of 36.50 percent among the other regions. Therefore, the green-roofs market in North America is expected to garner significant business opportunities for the vendors during the forecast period.

    But the question remains, even with all of the new green roof installations, are they viable ways to help us reach our sustainability goals? And as much as these green roofs can help, what are the costs to the buildings themselves?

    For the full story, please visit the Propmodo website by clicking here.