Local Law 92 and 94 Compliance: What is a Green Roof?

Local Law 92 and 94 were passed alongside Local Law 97 in the NYC Climate Mobilization Act of 2019. These laws mandate the use of sustainable roofing solutions – or green roofs – in new buildings as well in existing roofs that are renovated or replaced. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about green roof systems and NYC Local Law 92 and 94.

Aggressive Energy is committed to making NYC local law compliance a breeze for our clients. Whether you’re looking to maximize the benefits of clean energy or just looking for the best electricity rate, we guarantee we’ll create an energy plan that works for you.

Read on to learn about the benefits of green roofs and Local Law 92 and 94 compliance!

What Does Local Law 92 and 94 Require?

what is a green roof

Local Law 92 and 94 adjusted the NYC building code to require sustainable roofing solutions, which are defined as a solar panel power generation system, a green roof, or a mix of the two. The specific criteria varies depending on the size and slope of each roof as well as the occupancy rating of the building, but the law applies to all buildings, both residential and commercial. Local Law 94 makes up the bulk of the green roof legislation, updating the “cool roofs” requirements of Local Law 21, while Local Law 92 adjusts the requirements for smaller buildings.

LL 92 and 94 apply to renovations including both vertical and horizontal construction to an existing roof that requires a permit. Certain roofs, such as occupied roofs and required building setback roofs, have exemptions. They’re also one of the first of the laws introduced by the Climate Mobilization Act to have gone into effect already, as most of them don’t start until 2024. These laws are predicted to result in New York City having one of the most sustainable skylines in the world.

Local Law 92 and 94 compliance

local law 92 and 94 compliance

New construction and major renovations will have to include the installation of a green roof system. Owners of buildings that are undergoing this construction should take these steps:

  • Identify which sustainable roofing option – green roofs, solar panels, or both – is the best fit based on the roof’s space and the amount of shade it’s in.
  • Have a structural analysis of the roof conducted by a professional.
  • Make sure all possible options comply with all applicable building codes.

Buildings have the ability to choose to install either a green or solar roof. Some building owners fear their roofs have too much shade for either option. If you begin exploring your options and find this is the case for your roof, that would be considered an unfavorable site condition and compliance would not be required. Keep in mind that shaded buildings may have enough shade to make solar panels not an option, but green roofs can often flourish even if they’re in the shade for most of the day.

It’s important to note that solar or green roofs aren’t included in the basic safety or habitability requirements of buildings, so an incomplete green roof installation shouldn’t cause any delay in your receiving a temporary certificate of occupancy. Additionally, while you have the choice to choose between having a green or solar roof, we encourage you to utilize both options if you have the ability to!

What is a Green Roof?

NYC green roof system

green roof is a layer of plant life installed on a building’s roof. These plants soak up rain, giving the building it’s installed on an additional layer of insulation. This helps maintain the desired indoor temperature while also reducing the building’s carbon footprint and increasing its energy efficiency. A green roof system’s design may vary from roof to roof, but they all have the same core elements of waterproofing, water retention, drainage, soil or another growing medium, and of course, the ability to grow plants.

What are the benefits of green roofs?

The benefits of green roofs include reducing the increased temperatures that surround areas with a higher population and improving the quality of the air and water in these areas. It also reduces energy costs and carbon emissions. Plus, they give the wildlife in these areas a home. Green roofs benefit building owners by lowering their energy consumption and cost, and also helps them meet the energy efficient standards set for them by other local laws. They also provide overall higher insulation than a standard roof system. Combine the benefits of green roof systems with the benefits of solar power for business, and your ROI is well worth any upfront cost.

Green Roof Installation in NYC

local law 92 and 94 compliance

Now that you have a working knowledge of what a green roof is and Local Law 92 and 94 compliance, it’s time to start brainstorming and planning your green roof installation. Read on for our advice and tips on installing a green roof in New York City.

Green roof cost and available savings

The average cost to install a green roof ranges from $10-$20 per square foot depending on its scale. For an average extensive green roof it’s about $10-$12.50 per square foot and $16-$20 per square foot for a more detailed intensive green roof. However, the cost usually decreases when it’s included as a part of the roof’s design from the beginning of the construction. This also helps you avoid any double work. Annual green roof maintenance costs about $0.75-$1.00 per square foot.

If you’re eligible and can demonstrate the energy savings from the installation, you may be able to receive a Property Assessed Clean Energy loan (PACE) to finance the installation. PACE is available for green or solar roofs in all building types undergoing new construction as well as renovations, excluding 1-2 family properties. There’s also savings to be found in the NYC Green Roof Property Tax Abatement Program.

Green roof installation timeline and requirements

Commercial installations take up to two weeks, mostly because they usually have larger roofs, while residential installations typically only take a few days. Remember to allow plenty of time for applicable filing and permits you’ll need to finish the project. The best time of year for green roof installation is in the spring. This is because planting in the high temperatures of the summer will require additional irrigation, and vegetation planted in the fall may not have enough time to get established before winter. Some plants can be installed while dormant in the winter. Plants usually take about 3 years to get fully established on NYC green roofs. 

Though you could install your own green roof, it’s recommended to hire a professional to lead you through the process of designing it, obtaining the right permits, securing any available funding resources, and ensuring you have an effective installation and maintenance system.

At Aggressive Energy, we’ve got the connections and resources to set you up for success. We’re experts at NYC local law compliance and know how to identify opportunities to reduce emissions from your building while increasing its energy efficiency. Contact us today to create a sustainability plan that’s customized to work for you!