Goal: Transform this empty roof deck into a smart green roof deck garden that provides tasty food and stormwater runoff benefits. Then share the process so other small building owners can do the same.
There are several incentives for commercial property owners to install green roofs such as tax credits and subsidies. However, these incentives don’t exist for individual residential property owners in most locations due to the relative size of the rooftop, even though collectively the rooftops of residential buildings make up a significant portion of the impervious cover of the city. If there were better resources on how to install green roofs, and a way to incentivize them, more homeowners could contribute to helping with stormwater runoff.
Philadelphia does provide generous incentives to utilize other stormwater management tools (rain barrels, de-paving and permeable pavers, downspout planters, and rain gardens) through a program called Rain Check, but green roofs just get a one-page website with some resource links. That’s probably due to the relative complexity of a green roof and the variety of structures that exist in the area. There are of course many companies that will install green roofs, but that might not be an option for everyone due to cost. Additionally, there is no incentive to incur that cost besides helping with stormwater runoff. We hypothesize that encouraging homeowners to install a smart green roof deck garden, versus a passive green roof, provides the incentives needed (e.g. edible plants, low maintenance) for homeowners to incur the expense, and the stormwater benefits are a natural byproduct.