More Green for That Green Roof?


That bastion of do-good dead tree environmentalism, The New York Times, is now saying that green roofs are not just good for the planet, but "amenities" that are good for landlords too.

The Times quotes a two-year study from Michigan State University that green roof projects in a million-person city could capture 55,000 tons of CO2 annually, potentially saving billions of dollars in energy bills. That's good news for landlords, who after all, have multiple units to rent; but what about you? Will your landlord pass along any savings associated with reduced energy usage to you in rent? Or are green roofs a great excuse for landlords to position their buildings as luxury accommodations and capture more money per unit?

As the urgency for green initiatives grows, so does the risk of green-washing-using environmentalism as a cover for making money or even using more resources. You might have a green roof, but if you use heavy duty incandescent spotlights. all the benefits may be canceled out with the flick of a switch.

Granted, the cost of installing a green roof can be significant. Any savings a landlord creates over time is unlikely to be passed along to you, Ms. Renter. More likely, you'll pay extra for the privilege and prestige of a green roof. (Take a look at these full-blown LEED certified apartment complexes.) Anybody prefer "green bragging rights" to a full wallet? Elevator up....

Originally published