Lydia Hallett '21
Major: Environmental Studies
Bio: Lydia Hallett is a senior Environmental Studies major and double minor in Business Administration and Marketing. She enjoys learning about environmental solutions and how those projects can be scaled.
Title of Research: Cost-Benefit Analysis of Urban Green Roofs
Mentor: Dr. James D. Lewis
Abstract: Urban green roofs are among the encouraging climate mitigation and adaptation solutions because they are versatile, provide public and private benefits, and have the opportunity to scale. The loss of the natural ecosystem to the built environment has seriously degraded the environmental services, like clean air and water, that keep humans alive. By converting impervious rooftop spaces into pervious surfaces, green roofs can be utilized as a tool to mitigate the health and environmental problems that have arisen due to the lack of green spaces. The benefits of reincorporating vegetation into the built environment can include stormwater management, lower ambient temperatures, energy savings, pollution reduction and more. But, green roofs are not being implemented at the rate that is necessary for all New Yorkers to receive the public benefits of the enhanced environmental services. Environmental services are not valued in our economic system, so they are valued at zero by default. The valuation of the environmental services that we would gain or recoup through green roofs is crucial for creating stronger policy and more financial incentives. By using data from existing green roofs in Manhattan, I have formulated a cost-benefit analysis for private benefits and public benefits. The private benefits can aid building owners in their investment decision to install a green roof, and the public benefits can bolster the argument for various departments of NYC to invest in programs, policies, and incentives that encourage the implementation of green roofs.