Hard Rain

If you’ve been outside, near a window, or on the Internet today, you’re well aware that there is a serious rain event happening in all five boroughs of NYC. On the edge of this latest in a series of serious storms, New Yorkers are looking at a potential of 8+ inches of rain in less than 24 hours. This is certainly a ‘major’ rain event and will lead to widespread NYC Flooding. 

Soaking wet horror stories are pouring in from around the Big Apple:

Flash flooding in Brooklyn as reported by ABC7 with cars stranded, roads inaccessible, and pedestrians scrambling to find safe passage. This CNN article puts the precipitous carnage in no uncertain terms: ‘A month’s worth of rain fell in Brooklyn in just three hours as it was socked by some of the storm’s most intense rainfall rates Friday morning.’ Even our friends across the ever-expanding pond picked up on the story, reporting on the state of emergency declared by Governor Kathy Hochul, widespread subway delays/cancellations/suspensions, and a ‘shelter-in-place’ order issued by NYC Mayor Eric Adams.

One of the ways New York might look to mitigate the effects of such torrential downpours in the future is through the magic of green roofs!

Stormwater Retention: Green Roofs as Sponges for Rainwater

Close-up of perennial flowers planted in NYC Flooding mitigated by green roofs
Perennial flowers enjoying the heavy rains which grace the rooftops of the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Amid the relentless downpours that often besiege New York City, green roofs emerge as a resilient and environmentally friendly solution for managing excess stormwater. These innovative installations act as nature-inspired sponges, effectively capturing and utilizing rainwater, thus alleviating the burden on the city’s drainage systems.

**1. The Green Roof Mechanism:

At their core, green roofs are a marriage of vegetation and sustainable design. They consist of several layers, including a waterproof membrane, a drainage layer, a growing medium, and, most importantly, an array of lush vegetation. It’s this vegetation that plays a pivotal role in stormwater management.

**2. The Capturing Process:

When rain cascades onto a conventional impermeable roof, it typically rushes into gutters and storm drains, ultimately overwhelming the city’s sewer systems during heavy storms. In contrast, green roofs absorb, store, and gradually release rainwater. As the rain falls, the plants and growing medium on the green roof absorb a portion of it, much like a sponge soaking up liquid. This absorption not only reduces the immediate runoff but also purifies the water as it passes through the vegetation, removing pollutants and impurities.

**3. Slow and Steady Release:

One of the key benefits of green roofs is their ability to release stored rainwater slowly over time. This controlled release reduces the peak flow of stormwater into the city’s drainage systems, mitigating the risk of NYC flooding. It also extends the lifespan of sewer infrastructure by reducing the strain caused by sudden surges of water.

**4. Utilizing Captured Water:

But green roofs don’t stop at merely holding onto rainwater. They also offer the potential to make good use of it. Some green roof systems incorporate irrigation systems that utilize the captured rainwater for watering the plants during drier periods. This closed-loop approach not only conserves water but also reduces the demand on New York City’s potable water supply.

**5. Environmental Benefits Beyond Stormwater:

In addition to stormwater management, green roofs provide a myriad of other environmental benefits. They absorb carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, and reduce the urban heat island effect by cooling buildings and the surrounding air. These ecological services contribute to a healthier and more sustainable urban environment.

As New York City grapples with increasingly intense rain events, green roofs represent a compelling solution to mitigate the effects of these deluges. They offer a sustainable means of reducing flooding, enhancing urban biodiversity, and fostering a greener, more resilient metropolis. It’s important we consider green roof solutions for NYC flooding!

Free Green Roof?! The NYC DEP Green Infrastructure Grant Program

In a city where every square foot

of real estate is precious, the idea of obtaining a green roof for free might sound too good to be true. However, thanks to the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Green Infrastructure Grant Program, building owners and developers have a unique opportunity to not only enhance the sustainability of their properties but also potentially receive full reimbursement for their green roof installations.

**1. The NYC DEP Green Infrastructure Grant Program:

NYC Flooding mitigated by green roof installations such as this sedum roof in Brooklyn
NYC Flooding mitigated by green roof installations such as this sedum roof in Brooklyn.

Launched in response to the urgent need for stormwater management in the city, the NYC DEP Green Infrastructure Grant Program is a forward-thinking initiative aimed at incentivizing the installation of green roofs and other environmentally friendly infrastructure. The program is part of the broader effort to reduce the burden on New York City’s combined sewer system and mitigate flooding during heavy rainfall.

**2. How It Works:

Under this program, building owners and developers who meet the eligibility criteria can apply for grants to cover the costs of installing green roofs. These grants can potentially fund the entire installation process, making it an attractive proposition for property owners looking to enhance the sustainability and resilience of their buildings.

**3. Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible for the NYC DEP Green Infrastructure Grant Program, applicants must meet certain requirements, which may include factors such as the size of the green roof, its location, and its potential impact on stormwater management. It’s important to carefully review the specific criteria outlined by the program to ensure eligibility. Drop us a line if you have any questions about the application or reimbursement program. We’d be happy to walk you through the process and complete the installation of your soon-to-be-FREE green roof!

**4. The Environmental Impact:

The program’s primary goal is to reduce stormwater runoff into the city’s sewer system, which can lead to NYC flooding and water quality issues. By incentivizing the installation of green roofs, the NYC DEP not only addresses this problem but also promotes environmental sustainability in the heart of the city.

**5. The Future of NYC’s Urban Landscape:

The NYC DEP Green Infrastructure Grant Program represents a significant step towards creating a more sustainable and resilient urban environment. It encourages building owners and developers to embrace green infrastructure solutions, not only for the immediate benefits but also for the long-term advantages of a greener and more climate-resilient city.