NYC Parks maintains more than 200,000 square feet of green roofs across the city. Our collection of rooftop systems features native plants, sedums, green walls, hydroponic towers, a vegetable and herb farm, and honeybee hives. These green roofs reduce the city’s heat island effect, decrease energy costs, improve air and water quality, sequester carbon, and provide habitat for urban wildlife.
Green roofs are an essential part of sustainable design. Parks collaborates with other agencies as they incorporate green roofs into buildings and stormwater management infrastructure. By using a variety of planting systems and monitoring their progress, we are identifying the types of green roof systems that will thrive in the NYC urban environment and meet the City’s sustainability goals.
What Makes A Roof Green?
A green roof is a thin layer of vegetation installed on a traditional flat or pitched roof. While the specifics of the design may vary, all green roofs have the same basic components: waterproofing, a root barrier, water retention and drainage, a growing medium, and plants.
The Five Borough Green Roof
The 45,000 square foot green roof at Randall’s Island is the only known green roof in the country to feature dozens of unique green roof systems side-by-side. These systems vary by type of growing medium, depth of growing medium, and plant selection. Since 2007, the roof has served as an experimental station for green roof design and construction, monitoring and comparing the performance of many different systems.
Learn more about NYC Parks' Five Borough Green Roof
Schedule a Tour
We offer free tours that educate New Yorkers about the benefits of urban green roofs. To inquire about scheduling a tour, email Artie Rollins, our Assistant Commissioner for Citywide Services, at Artie.Rollins@parks.nyc.gov.
Follow Parks' Example
Are you interested in installing a green roof on top of your own building? If so, the Greenbelt Native Plant Center has a list of the most ideal plants for a New York City green roof.