Green Roofs and Other Sustainable Technologies in New York City

I was invited to present to a group of green building professionals, businesses, and community leaders along with a few other speakers, including Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, yesterday at Pratt Center for Community Development. The focus of the event was green roofs and related green technologies that one could implement in a combined, synergistic fashion.

Adam Friedman of the Pratt Center and Congresswoman Velazquez spoke about what direction policy might take to aid the adoption of green and sustainable technologies. The cost of implementing sustainable technologies, whether they are power or air quality or water conservation related are artificially high relative to the status quo. Because polluting and other “externalities” are not charged to the polluting producer and the consumer who buys their product; they get to directly benefit from cheap production and a cheap purchase price. Those “external” costs are very real however, and are paid by everyone on the planet in as much as our air or water, or earth is degraded. There’s a role for government to play in removing pollution subsidies and in providing an even playing field for sustainable technologies to compete against their pollution-intensive alternates.

Congresswoman Nydia Valazquez speaking at the Pratt Center

I presented the whole building project that Remains implemented on its factory between 2008 and 2010, especially the relation between our green roof, photovoltaic solar panels, and rainwater irrigated gardens. 

Photovoltaic panels at Remains Lighting

Our green roof in bloom

Bill Rigos from Steinway Pianos spoke about his company’s innovative solar thermal system. That was a real boundary pushing project with a novel combination of technologies deployed on a rooftop, perhaps for the first time. You can see his whole presentation here: http://admin.nyirn.org/sites/default/files/users/rnyc/steinway_presentation_solar_thermal.ppt

Mike DiMartino from Linda Tool, a machine shop in Red Hook Brooklyn discussed his company’s green roof project and the intensive monitoring system he installed. The monitoring of the roof over 2 years, including a full weather station yielded, and continues to yield great data on the real benefits of green roofs, especially in terms of temperature control and storm water management, the later a very important, but overlooked issue.

There’s Mike, on his roof.

-David Calligeros


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