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Climate change and phenology > USA-NPN needs your help!

March 12, 2009 at 7:09 am

For anyone in tune with the cycles of nature in your geographic area, whether noting the appearance of your favourite spring wildflowers, observing the migratory  timing of  birds and/ or  butterflies, or cheering on  the  fluffiness of wild baby animals in your neighbourhood forest,  the opportunity listed below could benefit from your help!

The USA-National Phenology Network (USA-NPN),  a consortium of government, academic and citizen-scientists  is launching a new national program built on volunteer observations of flowering, fruiting and other seasonal events.

Scientists and resource managers will use these observations to track effects of climate change on the Earth’s life-support systems.

If you are interested in participating in climate change science, instead of just reading about it, follow the U.S. Geological Survey link for more information: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2151.

2009 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof Design

March 11, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Well folks, it’s that time of year again.   Linda and I have been burning the midnight oil trying to finalize  this year’s Top 10 List of Hot Trends  in Greenroof Design, and we’re looking for input from you, our faithful Greenroofs.com readers.

Have you seen any outstanding green roof projects this year or in the past few years?   Is there anything that stands out in terms of great design?   Did you design a greenroof that you think needs a little extra recognition?   We’re searching for all types of greenroofs – sleek and modern, esoteric, big or small, built or proposed.

Did you read my  January Chic Sustainability Column, “A Look Back at the 2008 Top 10 Hot Trends in Greenroof Design Survey?”   To refresh your memory, last year we singled out the following 10 greenroof trends:

10) Client Specific “˜Boutique’ Greenroofs
9) PreFab Modular Homes are Fabulous
8)  Greenroofs as Art & Architecture
7) Parks & Interpretive Greenroof Spaces
6) Solar & Vegetative Roofs as High Performance Buildings
5) Greenroofs for Biodiversity
4) Institutional & Office Parks – Setting the Example
3) Eco-Communities & Eco-Cities
2) Sky High Cool Green Schools
1) The Influence of LEED on Design Professionals = Pushing the Green Envelope

And this is our “working” Top 10 List for 2009:

10) Unique Driving Factors/Boutique Greenroofs: “Mother Nature Meets Lady Luck” – Greenroof Casinos; Living Billboards, and more!
9) “Ecological” Gas Stations?
8)  Heavenly Gardens – Religious Institutions Embracing Living Design
7) Design Competitions Promoting Future Inspiration
6) Green Buildings Creating Green Collar Jobs & Spurring the Industry
5) LID (Low Impact Development) Strategies: Celebrating Water with Greenroofs, Rain Gardens & Green Streets
4) Technological Advances – Faster, Cheaper, & Better Materials
3) The “Green Factor” – Policy Driving Ecological Development
2) Mayoral Initiatives – Championing the Green Machine
1)”Towers of Power” – Mega Vertical Structures Linking Earth and Sky

What do you think?   Have you noticed any new greenroof trends this year?  What are the forces driving new projects?   Has the economy had an effect on the number or type of greenroofs being built?  What role has the new Obama administration had on greenroof projects?

Send your suggestions, thoughts, website links, and photos by March 18th to the following email address:


We can’t wait to see what you come up with!


New NYC Solar and/or Green Roof Tax Abatement Documents

March 11, 2009 at 2:00 pm

If you are awaiting more direction to help you apply for a tax abatement in New York City, new solar and/or green roof tax abatement documents  (PDF) have just been made public.   Specifically they are:

1. Solar and Green Roof Tax Abatement Checklist
2. PTA1: Property Tax Abatement Application and Agreement for the Installation of a Green Roof
3. PTA2:   Property Tax Abatement Application and Agreement for the Installation of Solar Panels

Please utilize the Checklist as an outline as to the needs of the Department of Buildings.

Links for the legislation for NYC Green Roofs can be found at:

and for Solar Panels:

Also, there’s a new New York City rule that implements Titles 4-B and 4-C of Article 4 of the Real Property Tax Law for property tax abatements.   These Green Roof and Solar Electric Generating System Tax Abatement Rules (PDF) were published in “The City Record” on March 12, 2009 which is its effective date.

These rules are available for viewing on the DOB website.

Once again, the application and any documents required are due by 4:00 PM, March 16, 2009:

Department of Buildings
280 Broadway
7th floor
New York, NY 10007
Attention: Bonnie Gerard

Bonnie Gerard, Strategic Planning & Implementation, Project Manager NYC 2010 Electrical Code & Special Projects, says to feel free to ask her any questions regarding the application or any of the documents required at:

212-442-1239 (t)
212-566-3865 (f)

Info via Kelly Luckett of Green Roof Blocks, also known here as  The Green Roof Guy.   Thanks, Kelly!

~ Linda V.

Planning on a Greenroof or Solar in NYC? Read this Now!

March 4, 2009 at 2:37 pm

I’m on the NYC Tax Abatement e-mail list, and this is what Carter H. Strickland, Jr., Senior Policy Advisor for Air and Water in the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, just sent out  to advise  everyone planning on applying for a tax abatement for either a greenroof or solar system:


Dear green roof stakeholder:

Given the tight time frame we are facing with processing the new green roof tax abatements for this year, the Department of Buildings is trying to streamline the process for processing those applications.   Any solar installers or buildings owners who have a project that they think qualifies for an abatement this year (therefore needing to start the process by March 16, 2009 per the law) should immediately contact Bonnie Gerard (212-442-1239 or bgerard@buildings.nyc.gov) as soon as possible.   DOB is finalizing the checklist and application forms for the abatement and we will distribute them to you as soon as we receive the finalized version (Bonnie will also be able to give them to you once they are finalized).

Please forward this email to anyone else you think could have green roof projects that are eligible for an abatement this year. Thank you.”

This follows the DOB hearing held yesterday, March 3, 2009,  regarding implementing  the draft  regulations relating to the installation of green roofs for a tax abatement (which was open to public comment), approved by the state of New York in June of 2008.  

Since the statute requires that applications have to be filed by March 15 every year (a Sunday in 2009, so it extends to the following day, March 16),  NYC is trying to get a sense of the number of applications that  they can expect.     Obviously,  New York City’s Department of Buildings needs to know immediately on prospective applications, so if you’re building a greenroof this year, take note!

~ Linda V.

Of related interest (found in Greenroofs 101 > Industry Support > U.S. ):

August 8, 2008:   GOVERNOR PATERSON SIGNS LAWS TO HELP SPUR INVESTMENT IN RENEWABLE ENERGY – The A.11226 Diaz R/S.7553 Lanza bill was signed by New York State Governor Paterson and deals with the tax abatement for renewable energy, providing a tax abatement for construction of green roofs in New York City.   Read the Press Release  from New York State.

June 24, 2008:   Building owners in New York City who install green rooftops will now receive a significant tax credit under a bill (A.11226) sponsored by Assemblyman Ruben Diaz Jr. that passed the state legislature on June 24, 2008.

Under this law, building owners in New York City who install green roofs on at least 50 percent of available rooftop space can apply for a one-year property tax credit of up to $100,000. The credit would be equal to $4.50 per square-foot of roof area that is planted with vegetation, or approximately 25 percent of the typical costs associated with the materials, labor, installation and design of the green roof. Read the Press Release from Sustainable South Bronx.