Irina Groushevaia

On April 18 the New York City Council has passed three bills aimed to reduce greenhouse gases released from buildings in New York City, including Bushwick’s Councilman Rafael Espinal’s bill for green roofs and/or solar panels on newly constructed buildings.

The bill amends the administrative code of the city of New York and the New York city building code, in relation to requiring that the roofs of certain buildings be covered in green roofs or solar power systems.

“Now more than ever, New Yorkers, and my colleagues, have become aware that climate change is an existential threat that we have to take on and really focus on moving forward,” Espinal told the Brooklyn Eagle. “The U.N. climate report stressed the fact that we are on a limited timeframe.”

Espinal, has been at the forefront of this push for a greener New York City, “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,” he told The Living Architecture Monitor.

The legislation will require green roofs to be installed on new residential and commercial buildings. It also requires 100 percent of the roof to be green, while other cities only require 25 to 50 percent. If the bill will be signed into law, New York will be the largest city in the nation to pass such an aggressive green roof legislation.

“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,” Espinal told The Living Architecture Monitor. “They cool down cities by mitigating Urban Heat Island Effect, cut energy costs, absorb air pollution, reduce storm-water runoff, promote biodiversity, provide sound-proofing, and make our cities more livable for all.”

Espinal will continue to push legislation for green urban solutions, as well as advocate for urban farming and agriculture.

Cover image courtesy of Espinal.

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