Climate Mobilization Act, NYC

The world famous design of the ” Central Library” in Halifax, Nova Scotia includes a green roof and rainwater system.
By Jennifer Pattison Tuohy – 
The city’s new green building legislation will result in the equivalent of taking more than one million cars off the road by 2030.

New York City is trading its signature glass-dominated skyline for one replete with plants, solar panels, and wind turbines. The day before Earth Day, the New York City Council passed a historic act that will turn the city green, literally.

On Monday, April 22, the city council approved the Climate Mobilization Act, a package of bills and resolutions designed to drastically improve the energy efficiency of New York City. Buildings are front and center to this “New Green Deal” for New York, with green roofs taking the spotlight. 

Following in the footsteps of Toronto, San Francisco, Denver, and Portland, Oregon, all new residential and commercial buildings in the city must top roofs with either plants, solar panels, mini wind turbines—or a combination of all three.

“Today, we are passing a bill that won’t just make our skyline prettier—it will also improve the quality of life for New Yorkers for generations to come,” said Rafael Espinal, the NYC Council member who sponsored the bill.

“We’ve already seen the revolutionary benefits of green roofs in action thanks to places around the city like Brooklyn Steel, the Barclays Center, the Javits Center, the USPS Morgan Processing and Distribution Center, and many others,” he continued. “They cool down cities by mitigating the urban heat island effect, cut energy costs, absorb air pollution, reduce stormwater runoff, promote biodiversity, provide soundproofing, and make our cities more livable for all.”

The Central Library in Halifax has a green roof and rainwater system

The bill covers all new buildings, as well as those undergoing certain major renovations. An accompanying bill adjusts requirements for smaller buildings and looks at ways of phasing in the change to avoid negatively impacting homeowners and small business owners.