SOURCE: Sustainable South Bronx

June 25, 2008 07:21 ET

Green Rooftops in New York City Now Rewarded With Tax Credits

State Passes Bill to Encourage Roofs That Cut Energy, Reduce Sewage Overflows

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - June 25, 2008) - Ewire -- Building owners in New York City who install green rooftops will now receive a significant tax credit under a bill (A.11226) sponsored by Assemblyman Ruben Diaz Jr. that passed the state legislature today. Under this law, building owners in New York City who install green roofs on at least 50 percent of available rooftop space can apply for a one-year property tax credit of up to $100,000. The credit would be equal to $4.50 per square-foot of roof area that is planted with vegetation, or approximately 25 percent of the typical costs associated with the materials, labor, installation and design of the green roof.

The legislation was championed by the S.W.I.M. (Storm Water Infrastructure Matters) Coalition, comprised of more than 50 city, state and national organizations dedicated to ensuring fishable and swimmable waters around New York through natural, sustainable storm water management practices. The S.W.I.M. Coalition, building off of its recent success in the passage of New York City Local Law 5, advocated for the passage of this green roof tax abatement. Advocacy included working with Assembly Member Diaz, Jr. to sponsor the bill, and meeting with key elected officials in Albany this May to recommend that it be passed this session.

"This tax abatement will act as an economic stimulus by creating living wage green-collar jobs that are pathways out of poverty," said Rob Crauderueff, Director of Sustainable Policy at Sustainable South Bronx and chair of the Storm Water Infrastructure Matters (S.W.I.M.) policy committee.

"Green rooftops can save New York City residents more than $5 million in energy cooling costs, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce overflows of raw sewage by easing pressure on the city's overburdened sewer system -- which will help to achieve swimmable and fishable waterways in neighborhoods throughout New York City," said Larry Levine, attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC).

Green roofs also address New York's environmental justice problems, explained Kate Zidar, Senior Environmental Planner of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice. "Green roofs reduce costly environmental burdens, such as poor air quality and sewage treatment processing, in communities throughout New York City, especially environmental justice communities that host more than their share of environmental burdens."

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