Rooftop Gardeners Harvest Hefty Tax Breaks

LESKOPR's picture

The skyline of Manhattan may one day resemble the hanging gardens of Babylon. New York City is among a growing number of states offering tax credits and other incentives for rooftop gardens.

The so-called “Green Roof” movement is gaining momentum around the country as more lawmakers are enlightened about the energy-saving benefits of establishing gardens on the roofs of city buildings, says Information USA founder and government services expert Matthew Lesko.

Already Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Brooklyn, and Washington DC are on board with tax incentives, he notes.

A Green Roof is partially or completely covered with vegetation planted over a waterproof layer. Sod roofs have been around for centuries, but modern day green roofs are made from manufactured layers that are fitted over a roof.

“This trend is really taking off, and it’s a no-brainer why,“ says Lesko. “Green roofs help reduce heating and cooling bills significantly while extending the life of a roof by protecting it from the sun and elements. But they also provide a place for growing flowers and vegetables – and a soothing oasis from summer in the city.”

Studies vary as to the exact amount of savings a green roof can provide, but a recent one found an average 25% reduction in cooling costs and a 26% reduction in heat loss. Other studies have shown total energy savings of between 25-34%.

“This could save a homeowner $1,000 a year in utility bills,” says Lesko. “The Fairmount Waterfront Hotel, in Vancouver, uses theirs to grow herbs, flowers and vegetables, saving the restaurant $30,000 a year.”

For more information go to Storm Water Infrastructure Matters at

To go along with this incentive City Tech’s Division of Continuing Educations offered an Introduction To Green Roofs And Living Walls course. Philadelphia has a similar tax credit for businesses. You can find information on the Philadelphia tax credit at
the form to apply for the tax credit

Some colleges even offer training that is city, county, or state incentive specific. For example Portland Community College in Oregon offered a class called “Introduction to Residential Greenroofing,” as the city is offering a grant to subsidize up to $5 per square foot on the new ecoroofs (
environmentalists_and_the_city.html )

For more information on Portland’s Ecoroof Grant go to Contact your nearest Community College to see what course in Green Roofs or even any Green type of training they may be offering. This is a hot new expanding field, so new courses are being designed every day!

The District of Columbia offers a subsidy program for those interested in building a green roof, and they are even considering a subsidy for a retrofit green roof for larger buildings. At this time the subsidy is being revised, but if you are interested in learning more about the program and how to apply contact.

D.C. Greenworks,
1341 H St NE. Suite 203,
Washington, D.C. 20002;
Fax: 202.518.6115;
Information will also be posted on the District Department on the Environment of the District of Columbia website at

Even the Federal government is getting into the act. The General Services Administration has issued a directive stating that all new buildings or renovations must achieve a LEED silver rating (
contentType=GSA_BASIC&contentId=21850&noc=T ). Green Roofs would provide two points toward that rating. There is a Federal Technology Alert titled Green Roofs ( which describes what green roofs are, how to determine if they are a good fit for your project, provides information on products and warranties, as well as cost-benefit analysis of green roofs.

For more contact information:

Media Contact: Deb Samson 800-261-6147

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