The fifth annual Bronx Green Roofs tour sponsored by the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation The tour focuses on buildings in Bronx that have green roofs. It consisted of eight buildings that took the leap which increased this year from a previous number of six.
“We added two new roofs this year to the tour St. Joan of Arc on 174th and Stratford Avenue and the Urban Horizons at 1330 Intervale Avenue” says Kate Shackford, Executive Vice President of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.
The Bronx has been one of the most active boroughs in New York City to adopt green roofs. Starting with the Bronx County Courthouse one would not assume there was a garden on the roof that helps lower the energy of the building and be a boon for the atmosphere. Most people do not know about green roofs or the benefits it can bring to the environment, the city, the tenants and the building owners. Some of the benefits include like helping the city protect its sewers from flooding by soaking up a large percentage of the rainwater saving the city money. It also saves landlord’s money because it reduces energy costs which can be very expensive.
The ecological and technological feat of the Bronx County Courthouse was the first stop in the tour. The roof on the Bronx County Courthouse was installed in 2006 with the support of the former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion.
“It took about 18 months to work out permission and license the green roof but only six days to install the system.” says Kate Shackford about the Bronx County Courthouse green roof.
The other tour stops included the Sustainable South Bronx, Grandparent Apartments, Abraham House, Fordham Bedford Houses, and St. Simon’s School. All equipped with green roofs some like Abraham House and Grandparent Apartments have benches where tenants can sit and enjoy the roof.
According to Shackford, green roofs are needed because the city’s land and air as the people will benefit.
“Every time we cover an empty lot or an acre of land, we have destroyed forever the ability of that island to absorb and filter rainwater and filter the air- unless we put a green roof on that roof says Shackford. The only way we can create this amazing filtering of air and water within developed urban areas is to install green roofs on our older stock (built prior to 1967) of residential and commercial buildings.”
In related news, Mayor Bloomberg announced he is seeking proposals for private companies to install and operate solar energy systems on five city buildings. This request comes as part of the mayor’s PlaNYC which seeks to make New York City greener with alternative energy like solar.
“Installing solar panels at these City buildings will help reduce the City’s carbon footprint and put our energy consumption on a more sustainable path,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We are proud to be the first ones in New York State to try this kind of partnership, because if we want to lead the way toward an environmentally-friendly future, we have to be willing to experiment and innovate. This kind of creativity is exactly what we need to meet the challenges that lie ahead, as we work to build a greener, greater City.”