Eco Thinking: Solar Energy, Green Roofs and Legislation

As our industry is moving forward new laws are being passed to help us sell and implement these ideas. The NYC City Council passed three laws that will make New York City rooftops greener places.  These still need to make it passed the mayor's office for them to get Local Law numbers.

There are laws that are get in the way of green buildings and finding ways to help change this is essential. The three following bills are introduced to get around some of these regulations.

Introduction 341, Allow Large Solar Rooftop Installations, currently the Building Code provisions limit the amount of rooftop that can be covered with mechanical equipment to 1/3 of the roof; otherwise it is counted as another floor of the building. Under the new law, solar equipment is not counted towards these limitations and can cover as much of the roof as permitted by other codes (such as the Fire Code).

Introduction 358 applies the approach to combined heat and power. Currently, the Building Code exempts a range of mechanical equipment on rooftops, including HVAC equipment and water tanks from building height restrictions. However, until these two laws were passed, solar and CHP equipment were not included in these exemptions – they are now.

Introduction 347, Reduce Summer Heat With Cool Roofs. This law updates existing Building Code requirements for reflective roof coatings to better align with LEED and clarifies exceptions to the standard. Under the changes, cool roof coatings will be required for reroofing of existing rooftops, and also for buildings constructed under the 1968 building code and normally exempted from many newer requirements. The law also clarifies that exemptions for green roofs apply to agricultural plantings and adds exemptions for:
*ballasted roofs;
*roofs used as playgrounds;
*areas under mechanical equipment or other rooftop structures;
*portions of roofs covered with decking materials.

You can read a far more detailed explanation of Introductions 347 (cool roofs) and 341 (solar), as well as all implemented NYC Green Codes Task Force recommendations on the Urban Green Website web site.

As changes are being changed at city level so are changes coming on a NY State level.  The Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act   "holds the promise of vastly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, creating good jobs and reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels. The New York Solar Jobs and Development Act is projected- -- conservatively -- to produce 22,198 direct and induced jobs, not including potential manufacturing jobs and other indirectly induced jobs. These local employment opportunities range across a broad spectrum of salary levels, skill and education requirements, and employment fields.
Moreover, New York would benefit from some $20 billion in economic activity. This legislation holds serious advantages over the current energy policy, which sends tax dollars out of state to bring in (environmentally-degrading) coal energy from around the country."

Organizations such as The Urban Green Council and The New York State of Conservation Voters are pushing for and helping these changes - check out the websites above and support these great organizations that are making a difference.


  1. It's nice to find a site you can trust.Visit this site was recommended by a friend so I tried it.They provide a Cool Roof, Reflective roof, Reflective Paint Austin and Commercial roof at affordable price.Their service was great.

  2. local law 84 was one of those laws that helped companies to measure the wasted energy and control it. What could be better than saving money and being Eco friendly at the same time.

  3. This is really an awesome article. Thank you for sharing this.It is worth reading for everyone.

    Solar Roof Top Consultants in India