N.J. considers encouraging ‘green’ and ‘blue’ roofs

    An Assembly committee has advanced a package of bills to encourage construction of environmentally friendly buildings in New Jersey.

    The legislation provides tax incentives for putting “green” and “blue” roofs on new and existing buildings. A blue roof includes drainage pools to retain rainwater, while a green roof has vegetation to absorb water.

    Assemblyman John McKeon said Thursday the technology can help prevent environmental harm.

    “We know that there’s a problem with water discharge and an overburdened sewer system,” he said. “So green roofs and blue roofs are a way to systemically discharge water so that it goes out in a regimented matter and doesn’t end in the overflow that ends in all the problems that we have with pollution.”

    New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said the technology can help protect water quality.

    “It actually helps deal with something called combined sewer overflow which is very much a problem in urban older communities where a lot of rainwater comes off of roofs, gets into the sewer systems, and then the sewer systems cannot handle the higher flow,” Tittel said. “So what happens is when you get heavy rainstorms, you get partially treated sewage and sometimes raw sewage going out into our rivers.”

    The Assembly Environment committee approved the legislation. It has not yet been introduced in the Senate.

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