By: Robert J. Brewer, CPA, CCIFP, Partenr, Architecture & Engineering Practice Leader
With contributions from Engineered Tax Services
Looking out onto the rooftops of the New York City, not only will you see solar panel systems populating the space but in the past couple years green vegetative roofs have started to become popular as well.
Green roofs offer many benefits to the environment, humans and wildlife. Green roofs, also known as “living roofs,” are essentially rooftop gardens consisting of a waterproof membrane entirely covered with a growing medium and vegetation. These roofs tend to be environmentally friendly. Research shows that mobile species, such as birds and invertebrates, co-exist on green roofs. These colorful gardens offer a home to wildlife and compensate for much of the harm done to the environment by overpopulated cities.
Green roofs also offer the following benefits:
- Vegetation and soil layers add an extra layer of insulation to roofs, reducing heating and cooling costs.
- They add usable space to the roof and increase the building’s property value.
- Vegetation and soil layers protect roof membranes from ultraviolet radiation, extending the life of the membranes up to twice as long as a conventional roof.
- The soil provides additional insulation to the roof, reducing heating and cooling costs approximately 10% to 30% and allowing the building to use smaller HVAC equipment.
- The vegetation and soil layers reduce noise from traffic, planes, machinery, and other sounds for building residents.
- The vegetation improves air quality from oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange.
- The soil absorbs rain, reducing storm water runoff.
- Reduce cooling cost by keeping the roof top at ambient temperatures
- Reduce carbon dioxide in the air
- Offer additional usable space in your building for a respite from the city
In 2008, New York State announced a one-year property tax credit of up to $100,000 to support Green Roof installations. Whether your facility’s plans include a roof replacement, or you are interested in helping the NY environment, consider taking advantage of this program!
Urban areas of New York generate considerably more storm water runoff than natural areas of the same size due to a greater percentage of impervious surfaces, such as roofs, that impede water infiltration. Green Roofs aid in mitigating storm water runoff, and the property tax credit is designed to improve the infrastructure of storm water management.
About the Tax Credit
- This is a one-year property tax credit
- The Credit is for $4.50/square foot, up to a maximum of $100,000
- $4.50/s.f. can represent 20%-30% of the costs associated with building a green roof
- The building must be located in the state of NY with city populations of 1,000,000 or more
- The Green Roof must have at least 2″ of growing media
- The Green Roof must cover at least 50% of available rooftop space
- Building owners may apply for the credit beginning January 1, 2009 and ending December 31, 2012
A green roof is not suitable for every building. A host of factors must be considered, such as the construction and condition of the existing roof, its load-bearing capacity, zoning restrictions, and code compliance. A feasibility study should first be conducted to determine if the building is a candidate for a green roof, and if so, which type of green roofing system is most suitable for that particular building.
Green roof tax credits are available in other cities as well.
Robert J. Brewer, CPA, CCIFP is a Partner at Grassi & Co. He is also the Architecture & Engineering Practice Leader. If you would like further information on this topic or other related topics, please call 516-336-2420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Engineered Tax Services: Engineered Tax Services (ETS) is the only qualified professional engineering firm that has its own licensed engineers, LEED Accredited Professionals, and experienced Certified Public Accountants on staff. We marry the science of engineering with the principles of tax and accounting to arrive at financial solutions that result in increased cash flow, minimized tax payments and maximum return on investment. Since EPAct was enacted, ETS has been at the forefront of the energy accreditation and related tax benefits field. Please contact us for more information about how you can benefit from Energy Tax Credits, Energy Policy Act Certifications, Cost Segregation Studies, Historic Tax Credits, Insurance Appraisals, Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Credit services.
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