Are you making the most out of your vegetated roof? Find out if your next vegetated roofing project eligible for incentives.
Why Cities are Promoting Vegetated Roofing
With the threat of polluting communal waterways and releasing greenhouse gas emissions, vegetated roofing has become a widely discussed concept. Cities around the world have begun taking steps to eliminate environmental hazards and build more efficiently by encouraging green building technologies. Stormwater management, the urban heat island effect and poor air quality are driving factors in this movement.
So, what is the big deal about stormwater management? Stormwater management aids cities in eliminating the amount of pollution that reaches local waterways and reducing treatment plant volume. When heavy storms run through cities, not only does it drive pollutants and garbage from the impervious surfaces (roads, parking lots and roofs) to the local water sources, it can overflow the city’s sewage treatment plants causing accidental release of human waste into rivers and streams. By installing vegetated or blue roofs, these situations can be minimized significantly or completely avoided.
The urban heat island effect is no new topic to cities around the world. When the sun beats down on a dark, hard surface, the temperature in the city begins to increase. Vegetated roofs help to combat this process with the natural evaporation cycle. The light is absorbed by the plants rather than released into the atmosphere as heat energy. Just one more reason cities are looking to build greener.
Lastly, the people in the cities are huge driving factor for green building. By installing vegetated roofing, the plants will capture airborne pollutants and filter harmful gases out of the air. This will then begin to improve the air quality in the city and can even potentially decrease the volume of CO2 that is released in the air.
But, vegetated roofs are expensive
When designing or installing a vegetated roof, you may wonder, "why spend extra money on this style of roofing?" Well, not only do vegetated roofs help protect the integrity of the roofing membrane and provide environmental benefits, many cities and states are beginning to provide incentive programs for green building. Additionally, there are policies and organizations at the federal level that want to encourage and entice you to build with environment and energy efficiency in mind.
If a vegetated roof doesn’t fit your budget, a blue roof is an environmentally conscious and energy efficient alternative. Blue roofs offer a cost effective solution to stormwater management. The main difference between the roofing styles is that a blue roof provides similar benefits of slowing down rainwater discharge, but without the need for vegetation.
Federal legislation incentives
Although the United States does not federally mandate that vegetated roofs are installed, there are policies and organizations dedicated to rewarding those who choose to go this route. These policies and reward programs range from tax incentives on new construction, to stringent guidelines on LEED requirements and everything in between.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 is the most notable incentive offered through federal legislation. This act offers tax incentives of up to $1.80 per square foot for buildings that provide improvements in sustainability and energy efficiency. The tax incentives of this act are not only limited to vegetated roofing, but can also include various other innovative technologies that decrease the effects of greenhouse gases.
The United States General Services Agency (GSA) is making strides to support sustainable and energy-efficient buildings by regulating the construction on federal buildings. The GSA now requires that all newly constructed or substantially renovated federally owned buildings must obtain a LEED Gold certification.
The U.S. Green Building Council is one of the leading organizations dedicated to improving and advancing green building technology in our country. With the development of the LEED certification program, a rating system for building sustainability, the U.S. Green Building Council has set the standards for environmentally friendly buildings. Among other things, this organization dedicates its time to researching and improving the environmental impact of our buildings.