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NYC's Sustainable Roof Laws

NYC’s Sustainable Roof Laws

Two new laws to spur solar and green roofs across NYC’s skyline.

The rooftops of New York City’s one million buildings cover about 40,000 acres. Some roof space is already in use, but this massive expanse presents many opportunities to help mitigate climate change and adapt to a world with more frequent and intense heat waves, storms and floods. Using clean energy and vegetation, New Yorkers can leverage rooftops to lower energy bills, cut carbon emissions, create habitat, reduce the urban heat island effect and better manage stormwater.

Two new laws passed as part of NYC’s Climate Mobilization Act, Local Laws 92 and 94, provide a major boost to the city’s sustainable roof policies. Together, the laws require solar panels or green roofs on all new construction as well as buildings undertaking major roof renovations. They also increase the roof reflectiveness required by the existing cool roofs law.

The new requirements are subject to a number of exceptions based on the many competing
priorities for NYC roof space, including fire code setbacks, mechanical equipment and recreational spaces. The laws apply to projects approved on or after November 15, 2019.

Download the full brief to read more about the highlights and benefits of the laws, as well as compliance pathways and exceptions.

This brief was made possible with support from The Nature Conservancy.