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“Meadows in the Sky”

Numerous cities throughout the country are looking at living green roofs as a practical way to curb environmental issues such as habitat loss and water waste. As Buffalo continues to rebound, it would be great to see some green roofs installed on top of new builds. We missed out on at least one opportunity to retrofit a large existing roof with the Tri-Main Center. It turns out that green architects and engineers are having a hard time coming up with ways to keep costs down on retrofitting existing buildings. That said, it’s the new builds that offer the best opportunities, as long as building owners are open to the idea.

In Buffalo, there are a couple of success stories, including the Broadway Market, Nichols School and the Medical Campus, but that’s pretty much it as far as rooftop gardens go.

In NYC, the Jacob Javits Center (a retrofit project) recently landed a green roof that covers a 6 block footprint. Today, that roof is home to 300,000 bees, butterflies, and birds that would otherwise not be able to find habitable space in the booming metropolis. Since installing the green roof, the temperature on the roof has dropped 6º. On top of that, the roof absorbs 7 million gallons in stormwater. Other green advantages include better air quality and reducing carbon in the immediate atmosphere. There’s even a financial incentive that comes with the roof – a 26% energy savings equates to $3 million dollars in savings per year.

Environmentalists in Denver are hoping to pass a mandate that would see green roofs on all large buildings. The debate moving forward would be which buildings are best suited for green roofs. The obvious answer is new builds that are designed to accommodate living roofs.

Buffalo is in a growth stage. Hopefully local developers are examining the possibilities when it comes to creating green rooftops, not just for environmental reasons, but for cost-effective reasons as well.

To learn more about the largest green roof in NYC, check out this fascinating NPR video.

If you’re thinking about installing a green roof in Buffalo, there are some points that you should research (see here).

If you are currently building, or maintaining a green roof in Buffalo, let us know by sending an email to

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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