Plant Connection, Long Island NY, Green Roof Legislation, Policies and Tax Incentives

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Green Roof Legislation, Policies & Tax Incentives

Federal Legislation

Energy Policy Act of 2005: Federal tax credits of up to $1.80 per sq/ft are available for green building projects that meet ASHRAE standards.

US General Services Agency has an upgraded requirement for LEED Gold certification as a minimum in all new federal building construction and substantial renovation projects (GSA previously required LEED Silver for all federal facilities). The new requirement applies to all projects that are currently in design as well as all future projects. For newly constructed properties that GSA leases, the agency has maintained a LEED Silver requirement for new construction projects over 10,000 ft2 (1,000 m2). LEED for Commercial Interiors is optional for GSA facilities in existing buildings.

US Green Building Council has more than 78 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations from every sector of the building industry, and more than 140,000 LEED Professional Credential holders that work to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work. It has developed a variety of programs and services, including the LEED certification program, and works closely with key industry and research organizations and federal, state and local government agencies to establish standards for green building, design practices and tools, policy advocacy, information exchange, and education.

Environmental Protection Agency has proposed changes to stormwater regulations that may create opportunities for some businesses using green roof design and construction and new products and techniques. The regulations may cause the use of green roof design and implementation to become far more commonplace, dramatically reducing storm water runoff quantities.

Austin, TX

Green Roof Density Bonus: Austin recently passed a Green Roof Density Bonus, which can give a density bonus of up to eight square feet for every square foot of green roof installed.

Chicago, IL (535,000 sq/ft of green roof)

Floor Area Ratio (FAR) Bonus: The City of Chicago offers a FAR Bonus for developments including a green roof that covers 50%, or 2000 sq. ft., of the roof area. The program is listed under the city code as "17-4-1015 Green Roofs".

The City of Chicago is not currently accepting green roof grant applications at this time. The Grant Program had offered up to up to 50% of cost or $100,000 for green roof development of green roofs covering 50% or more of a rooftop space.

Green Permit Program: In order to foster further Green development, The Chicago Department of Buildings (DOB) has developed the Green Permit Program. This program offers expedited Building Permits for projects that incorporate Green building techniques, and seek approval for certification from the United States Green Building Council under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System™.

Los Angeles, CA

All City of Los Angeles building projects 7500 sq/ft or larger are required to meet LEED standards.


Montgomery County funds the Rainscapes Rewards Program that offers rebates up to $10,000 to property owners to install approved stormwater management controls.

Anne Arundel County Stormwater Management Tax Credit provides a property tax credit of 10% the cost of an approved stormwater management practice, taken per year for 5 years, to a maximum total of $10,000.

Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District Regional Green Roof Initiative provides incentive funding to increase green roof coverage within its service area. The Regional Green Roof Initiative will provide up to $5 per square foot of an approved green roof project. In addition to managing stormwater, green roofs offer numerous additional environmental, economic, and social benefits.

Minneapolis, MN

Stormwater Management: Any building that improves their stormwater management, such as installing a green roof, receives a 50% credit against mandated stormwater usage fees paid to the city.

Nashville, TN

Sewer Fee Reduction: The City of Nashville is promoting the installation of green roofs through a measure providing a $10 reduction in a property's sewer fees for every square foot of vegetative roof.

New York City, NY (500,000 sq/ft of green roofs)

Stormwater Performance Standard: New York City recently altered the stormwater code to make more stringent the Stormwater Performance Standard, the rate at which developments may discharge stormwater. The new law states that the Stormwater Release Rate will be the greater of either .25 cfs (cubic feet per second) or 10% of the old allowable flow Rate. If the allowable flow is less than 0.25 cfs, then the release rate may be no more than the allowable flow. If the developed flow rate (determines how much stormwater will be discharged from a site) is greater than the required release rate, the surplus flow must be captured and stored. This standard applies to all new buildings and alterations applying for sewer availability certifications and connections to combined sewer systems.

The Green Infrastructure Grant Program offers funds for private property owners in combined sewer areas of New York City. Six million dollars are available for the design and construction of the green infrastructure systems that manage 1" of stormwater runoff from the impervious area of the site.

The Green Roof Tax Abatement Program offered through the NYC Department of Buildings provides a $5.23 rebate per sq. ft. of green roof, up to $200,000 per project.

New York State Law in larger cities (only NYC meets the size requirement) you can receive a one-year tax credit of up to $100,000 (or $4.50 per sq/ft) for green roof installs that encompass at least 50% of available roof space. Law is effective from January 1, 2009 - March 15, 2013.

New York Buildings Department's Green Roof and Solar Tax Abatement Program Team have revised the PC1 form to reflect new required items: PTA3 and PTA4 Abatement Eligibility Approval. These must be checked off in order to be considered for a green roof or solar panel property tax abatement.

State Green Building Construction Act will require that all new government buildings adhere to green building standards set by the New York Office of General Services. These rules will apply to all future construction and any major renovation projects.

The Bloomberg Administration wants to invest $1.5 billion over the next 20 years on new environmental techniques in storm water management. The plan calls for building infrastructures like green roofs, porous pavement for parking lots, rain barrels, wetlands, and depressions for capturing and retaining storm water before it reaches the sewer system.


The Alternative Stormwater Infrastructure Loan Program offers below-market rate loans for the design and construction of green infrastructure as part of economic development projects. Funds are available to government entities who in turn can partner with developers to use the funds.


Proposed legislation in the city council may provide a personal income tax credit for residential and commercial green roofs in amount of 25% of costs or up to $100,000 per year for 6 years.

The City of Philadelphia provides a tax credit to help build green roofs. Developers may receive a credit of 25% of the costs incurred to construct a green roof, to a maximum of $100,000. This credit may be applied to Business Privilege Tax liability. To qualify the green roof must cover 50% of the building's rooftop of 75% of the Eligible Roof Top Space.

Portland, OR

Direct Financial Subsidy and the Grey to Green Initiative: In 2008, Portland Mayor Sam Adams launched the Grey to Green Initiative (G2G). The term "grey to green" refers to expanding the city's green stormwater management infrastructure to protect and improve the efficiency of traditional piped stormwater systems. The G2G Initiative provides funding for green roof outreach and construction. Portland offers $5/square foot of new green roof. The G2G goal is to construct 43 acres of new green roofs between 2008 and 2013.

FAR Bonus: The City of Portland offers a Floor Area Ratio Bonus in its building code. Developers may build an extra 3 sq/ft per foot of green roof they construct without additional permits. They also offer a grant reimbursement of up to $5 per sq/ft for reducing stormwater infrastructure with a green roof.

San Francisco, CA

The San Francisco Properly Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE) offers low rate loans with longer payback periods for commercial property owners to install renewable energy, energy efficient, and water conservation systems. Green roofs are eligible for inclusion in the PACE program.

Expedited permits for all green building projects.

Green Building Ordinace of 2008 sets standards for CO2 emmissions and reducing stormwater runoff.

Seattle, WA

FAR Bonus: The City of Seattle also offers a Floor Area Ratio Bonus in its building code. Developers may build an extra 3 sq/ft per foot of green roof they construct without additional permits.

Green Factor Program: Seattle Green Factor landscaping requirements (for 30% equivalent plant coverage in Commercial and Neighborhood Commercial (NC) zones and 50% coverage in multi-family residential zones) can be met in part through use of green roofs.

Syracuse, NY

Onondaga County Green Improvement Fund: The County's Department of Water Environment Protection (WEP) is implementing a two-year Demonstration Program, the Green Improvement Fund (GIF), to provide financial assistance for the installation of Green Infrastructure projects including but not limited to: tree trenches, planter boxes, porous pavement, bioswales, rain gardens, green roofs, green streetscapes and cisterns on eligible privately owned properties (commercial, business, and 501(c)3 owned properties) in the Clinton, Harbor Brook, and Midland Combined Sewersheds, and generally located in the City of Syracuse. Eligible Costs include: (1) the design and engineering costs for site specific Green Infrastructure measures for the property and development of a maintenance plan; and (2) construction costs to modify site and install green infrastructure.

Toronto, Canada

Eco-Roof Incentive Program: Offered by The City of Toronto to developers installing green and cool roofs on buildings not subject to the Green Roof By-law. Developers can receive $75 per square meter of green roof installed, up to $100,000.

Green Roof By-law: Green roofs are required for all new development above 200 sq/m. Coverage requirement ranges from 20-60% of the available roof space and the law effects all new application made after January 31, 2010.

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Port Coquitlam Green Roof By-law: All new commercial and industrial buildings over 5000 square meters must have a green roof. The city has also just enacted a zoning development bylaw, which allows a developer to be exempt from development permit fees if a green roof is planned with no variances.

Richmond Proposed Green Roof By-law: Office and industrial developments that are 2,000 square meters or larger would need a minimum of 100 green points, which could be achieved through the development of a green roof, meeting a LEED Silver standard, or using the roof for parking and landscaping the grounds.


The Commonwealth of Virginia passed a law in 2009 authorizing cities and counties to offer incentive programs for green roofs. These programs can contain tax incentives, permit fee reductions and streamlined approval processes.

Arlington County offers a Density Bonus of up to .25 FAR or an additional height of up to three stories to developers who achieve LEED Silver or higher.

Washington, DC

The Anacostia Watershed Society offers a rebate program for green roofs built within the District of Columbia. Funding depends on the area in which the project is built and ranges from $7 to $10 per square foot. Any building with a green roof that exceeds the stormwater permitting requirements is eligible.

The DC Department of the Environment offers a Stormwater Retention Credit (SRC) trading program where SRC's may be bought and sold to meet requirements for retaining stormwater.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation: The District's green roof rebate program has launched the 2012-2013 program with new funding. The program will process applications from an existing queue. Applicants should file the necessary paperwork with the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) to be added to the queue. The 2012-2013 green roof rebate program will provide base funding of $5 per square feet. There is no cap on the size of projects eligible for the rebate. Properties of all sizes including residential, commercial and institutional are encouraged to apply. Additional funding may be available for features that further advance environmental goals.

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