Green Political Spotlight This Week: Green Zone in NYC Invites More Rooftop Gardens

Rooftop Gardens Will Become Easier to Set up in New York City Due to New Zoning Rules - Image from Google

Soon enough, your business could feature a rooftop garden, and you could generate your own wind and solar energy – particularly if you’re in New York City. Even if you don’t work in the Big Apple, a recent decision from the New York City Council could have far-reaching implications across the nation in the city zoning realm.

The New York City Council recently approved a package of zoning changes – called Zone Green – that will make property owners’ efforts to complete energy efficiency upgrades far easier. The package additionally allows property owners to create their own wind and solar power, and it allows developers to include more green elements into their building designs more freely.

This move is a major one in any large city in the United States, as buildings typically account for a bulk of greenhouse gas emissions there. In fact, buildings can be blamed for about 75 percent of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the new zoning rules for New York City, a residence no longer has to worry about going through red tape to get solar panels atop its roof, as this previously was not permitted since the panels would make the building surpass a maximum height standard. The same problem existed for a New York City homeowner who wanted to put a green roof on his row house but could not do so without exceeding the area’s height limit.

In addition, property owners now can relocate their boiler rooms to their rooftops, where boilers tend to run more efficiently – a move that prior to Green Zone would have gotten a big red flag. Installing exterior solar shades on homes or businesses to decrease the amount of summer sun entering a building, thus saving on air conditioning costs, additionally is an easy no-hassle process now thanks to Zone Green. The new Zone Green rules will generate an estimated $800 million in possible energy savings on an annual basis in New York City.

Perhaps the political move to relax zoning standards in the Big Apple – also being dubbed the “Green Apple” because of its efforts to become more eco-friendly – will inspire more politicians across the nation to help business owners and homeowners help the environment using their greatest assets – their real estate.

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