Before installing a green roof, consider the initial construction investment, maintenance cost, return on investment, and financing options, including grants and tax incentives provided by NYC and other entities.

Green Roof Costs & Savings Common Questions

What is the average cost to retrofit a green roof?

The average cost to install a green roof ranges from $15 to $35/sqft for an extensive green roof and $20 to $35/sqft for more intensive green roofs, depending on the size of the building. In addition, a structural assessment usually costs $1,000 to $1,500 for smaller roofs and up to $5,000 for large roofs. If the green roof is integrated into the design in the beginning of the construction, the costs per square foot decreases.

How much does it cost to maintain a green roof?

The average maintenance cost for an extensive green roof ranges from $.75 to $2/sqft, while that of intensive green roofs ranges from $1.25 to $2/sqft. Maintaining a roof with landscape design will be more expensive. Annual maintenance of green roofs costs 21 cents to 31 cents more per square foot a year than maintenance of a black roof. Overall green roof maintenance costs decrease after the first two years.

Do green roofs save energy costs?

By creating a layer of insulation, green roofs reduce extreme heat and lower energy use for building owners. The temperature of a green roof can be 30 to 40°F lower than that of a black roof. This cuts heating and cooling expenses, while prolonging the service life of heating and ventilation systems. Building owners can expect overall building savings of .5 percent in winter and 6 percent in summer.

Will green roofs extend roof longevity?

A green roof doubles the life expectancy of the roof: a standard roof lasts an average of 17 years and a roof with a green roof an average of 34 years.

Do green roofs increase property value?

Green roofs provide residents with a space to relax and socialize, as well as an aesthetic amenity, and provides health benefits similar to those of parks. This social benefit can be quantified in terms of greater productivity and lower absenteeism.

What is the overall Return on Investment (ROI) for a green roof?

On a national level, $1 invested in a green roof today can potentially have a return of $1.29 in today’s dollars after 50 years. For Washington DC, the same $1 would yield $1 (in today’s dollars) over the same time period; in other words, the green roof investment is the same as an average, alternative investment of 4.4 percent. If CO2e and community benefits are added in, that $1 invested in a green roof would result in $3.19 and $3.57.


Green Infrastructure Grant Common Questions

What is the DEP Green Infrastructure Grant?

The Green Infrastructure Grant has helped fund over 30 green roofs since its inception in 2011. This grant program, funded by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), is an incentive for private property owners to retrofit their NYC rooftops with green roofs.

What are the Green Infrastructure Grant eligibility requirements?

As of 2019, a green roof retrofit must be 3,500 square feet, have a minimum of 1.5 inch soil depth, and manage at least 1 inch of rainfall. Visit the DEP’s website for the most up-to-date eligibility requirements.

What will the grant cover?

Funding is for the design and construction of green roof retrofits on private property. The amount is determined by the green roof area (GRA) and soil depth. The grant will reimburse $10 to $30 per square foot for an eligible green roof.

What are the steps to submit an application?

Private property owners within New York City's five boroughs are encouraged to apply for the Green Infrastructure Grant. Prior to submitting an application, schedule a preliminary meeting with a DEP representative to ensure the project is viable and to discuss timelines. Be prepared to review the structural integrity of the roof, the project size, and which sewer drainage area the building is in, as these are essential for the project to move forward.

What else should I know before considering an application?

Property owners must execute a funding agreement with the DEP. Included in the funding agreement is a Declaration of Restrictive Covenant, which requires the property owner to commit to maintaining the green roof for at least 20 years. The funding agreement and the Declaration are available on the DEP’s website and should be reviewed by the property owner and their legal counsel prior to submitting an application.


Green Roof Tax AbatemenT

A New York City property tax abatement is available for property owners who install a green roof on their buildings. The current program runs through June 30, 2024, and offers $5.23 per square foot of green roof installed in most parts of the City and $15 per square foot in Priority Community Districts.

The City established Priority Districts based on the need for stormwater management and urban heat island reduction benefits that green roofs can offer. The potential for stormwater management benefits was based on the percent of land area within a Combined Sewer Overflow Priority Area designated by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. The potential for urban heat island reduction was based on the Heat Vulnerability Index developed by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, characterizing the risk of heat-related mortality based on a suite of socioeconomic and environmental factors.


Use the map below to see what tax abatement rate applies to your Community District, and click on the magnifying glass to enter a specific address.

Learn more about installing a green roof. The map is best viewed on a non-mobile device, View the map in a separate window.


Additional Green Roof Funding

Are there funding options outside of NYC?

The Hudson River Valley Greenway Grant will provide funding for green infrastructure projects to residents within eligible Hudson Valley communities.

Are there community-specific grants?

Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF) is an environmental grant program created by the State of New York with monies obtained through a settlement with ExxonMobil over the Greenpoint oil spill. The grant covers green infrastructure projects in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. To date, GCEF’s total investment in improving Greenpoint’s environment is over $67 million.

Are there grant matching programs?

The Climate Smart Communities Grant is a 50/50 matching grant program for municipalities pursuing projects that support climate change adaptation and the local reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Green Innovation Grant Program through the Governor's Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), supports projects across New York State that utilize unique stormwater infrastructure design and create cutting-edge green technologies. GIGP-funded projects may be found from Buffalo to the end of Long Island, and range from rain gardens to stream daylighting.

Does the Water Quality Improvement Project Grant cover green roofs?

Yes, the Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) is a statewide reimbursement grant program that funds projects that directly address documented water quality impairments or protect a drinking water source.