NYC Requires Solar or Green Roof Sustainable Zone

by | Nov 21, 2019 | New York City, NYC DOB, Sustainable Design

New York City has a law requiring a Sustainable Roofing Zone. This is an area on a roof dedicated to either Solar Power Generating Panels, a Green Roof, or a combination of the two. These Sustainable Roofing Zones are required for all new buildings, building enlargements, and roof deck replacements in NYC.


NYC Sustainable Roofing Zone 


What is a Sustainable Roofing Zone ?

A Sustainable Roofing Zone is defined by the New York City Department of Buildings as the following:

“SUSTAINABLE ROOFING ZONE” is defined as areas of a roof assembly where a solar photovoltaic electricity generating system, a green roof system, or a combination thereof, is installed.”

This requires an area of roof to have photovoltaic panels for solar energy or a green roof. You can also have a combination of the two.


When is the Sustainable Roofing Zone Required?

The sustainable roofing zone is required for the following:

  • New Buildings
  • New Roofs for Building Enlargements
  • Replacement of an Entire Existing Roof Deck 



Sustainable Roofing Zone Requirements

The requirements differ based on the type of roof.

Requirements for a Low Slope Roof

A Low Slope Roof in this case is a roof with a pitch less than 2:12. These roofs require photovoltaic panels, a green roof, or a combination thereof.

Requirements for a High Slope Roof

A High Slope Roof in this case is a roof with a pitch greater than 2:12. These roofs require photovoltaic panels generating 4KW (4 Kilowatts). If it is impossible to achieve this requirement, the roof may be exempt. Documentation must be provided to the Department of Buildings.


NYC Code and Local Law References:

Local Law 92 and 94 of 2019 establish the requirements for a Sustainable Roofing Zone on buildings in NYC.

  • LL 92/2019
  • LL94/2019

The New York City Building Code establishes all the requirements for providing a Sustainable Roofing Zone.


NYC Sustainable Roofing Zone Laws

As an architect, I study Building Codes closely, but these are complicated and quite involved issues. In this article, we reviewed some of the basic concepts with regards to the NYC Sustainable Roofing Zone. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.


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Thank you for reading our blog post on NYC Sustainable Roof Requirements.

I hope this was helpful. Please leave questions and comments below. If you would like to speak with an architect you can Contact Fontan Architecture directly.


Jorge Fontan
Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.