Moments before Earth Day, New York City passed a major Climate Mobilization Act with new regulations for reducing emissions and becoming a more resilient city — including requiring all new buildings to have green roofs.
New York City’s Climate Mobilization Act has been likened to the Green New Deal for its progressive and holistic approach to reducing emissions and sparking a sustainable economy. Green buildings are a critical component to the act, because buildings are the city’s biggest contributor of carbon emissions.
According to the act, all new buildings will be required to incorporate vegetation, solar panels and/or small wind turbines into the roof design. This mandate also includes existing buildings that are undergoing major renovations.
High-profile buildings have already set precedence in New York City for progressive green roof designs, including the Barclays Center, Javits Center and Brooklyn Steel.
Critics of the act fear that the policies unfairly force landlords to pay for costly construction and retrofitting. The act includes loopholes for small buildings and places of worship as well as phasing options that spread out costs. There are also exemptions for buildings that include rent-stabilized apartments. This exception attempts to prevent evictions and rent spikes following major renovations — a familiar pattern in rapidly gentrifying areas.
By 2030, according to the city’s estimates, the reduction in carbon emissions created by the mandated green roofs will be equivalent to taking one million cars off the road.
The Climate Mobilization Act is also predicted to create thousands of jobs, including an estimated 3,600 construction jobs and 4,400 maintenance jobs.
Council member Costa Constantinides said in a statement, “The Climate Mobilization Act is a down payment on the future of New York City — one that ensures we lead the way in the ever-growing fight against climate change.”
Image via Javits Center