You might think of solar panels and urban gardens as the pet projects of environmentalists. But now, entrepreneurs are embracing green rooftop infrastructure for a new reason: money. They’re using the real estate over their heads to farm vegetables, generate renewable energy — and turn a profit. In a three-part series about environmental uses of rooftops, Willow Belden takes us to buildings where green projects are thriving financially — and to some that still face major economic hurdles.
Gardens have been a staple in New York for many years. People have grown flowers on rooftops and have turned empty lots into community vegetable patches. Now, entrepreneurs are taking urban gardening a step further. They’re starting commercial farms on top of buildings. In the first of a three-part series about environmental uses of rooftops, Willow Belden takes us to a farm in the heart of Queens that has proven the success of the model.
You might not think of New Jersey as a leader in environmentalism. Even though it’s called the Garden State, it usually brings to mind oil refineries, shopping malls and suburban sprawl. But in fact, New Jersey has become the number two state in the country for solar power — second only to California. Large commercial buildings all over the state are putting up solar panels on their roofs. In the second of a three-part series about environmental uses of rooftops, Willow Belden reports that solar energy is growing fast in New Jersey … and it’s for a simple reason: Solar panels mean profit.
New Jersey has become a national leader in solar power — second only to California. That’s because it has an incentive system that enables people to profit from putting up solar panels. But next door in New York, it’s a different story. In the last of a three-part series about environmental uses of rooftops, Willow Belden reports that for most New Yorkers who might want to go solar, the costs outweigh the benefits.