Green Roofs in NYC

Sourced from the Nature Conservancy

A New York City rooftop isn’t a surprising place to find a superhero, but a new crop of champions is sprouting up on city buildings to combat sinister threats from large rainstorms, heat waves and global climate change. Those champions are green roofs.

Working with partners in the Green Roof Researchers Alliance, The Nature Conservancy has released the most comprehensive estimate of green roofs in New York City. The project merges publicly available data with remote sensing technologies to create data and maps that help better understand this asset and can be used to guide policymaking and city planning.

Green roofs absorb heavy rains and give buildings an extra layer of insulation, which can keep indoor spaces more comfortable while increasing energy efficiency and lowering carbon footprints. What’s more, they combat urban heat island effect and improve the quality of the air we breathe.

“Awareness of the benefits of green roofs has been growing,” said Dr. Michael Treglia, an urban spatial planner with The Nature Conservancy. “But until now we lacked a basic understanding of how many green roofs we have, and where in the city people may or may not be benefitting from them.”

The Superpower Potential of Green Roofs

One important finding of the mapping project is the size of the opportunity. New York City is home to about 730 buildings with green roofs. It’s a great start but represents just 60 acres of the 40,000 acres of rooftop space available (or less than 0.1% of NYC’s 1 million buildings). So, there’s room to grow, quite literally.

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