Morning Headlines: Could Green Roofs Be Coming to a Business Near You?

City seeks to double incentives to encourage more application.

Green roof on Chicago's City Hall | Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Green roof on Chicago’s City Hall | Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A potential step toward that still out of reach “Greenest City in America” status has presented itself to Philadelphia in the form of a recently introduced bill that would encourage more businesses to have green roofs, as they support vegetation and are “proven to absorb and permanently retain up to 50 percent of the rainfall they receive and ultimately extend the lifetime of the roof by 100-200 percent,” per a Thursday press release.

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced the bill, whose incentive comes by way of an increased tax credit to those who have a green roof:

Currently, the Green Roofs Tax Credit allows an applicant to receive a 25 percent credit off of their Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT) liability for approved expenses related to the installation of a green roof. The Councilwoman’s bill would increase this credit to 50 percent with a cap of $100,000. Therefore, if a business spends $40,000 on a green roof, they would currently receive a $10,000 credit off of their BIRT liability. This bill would double that credit to $20,000.

The current Green Roof Tax Credit has only spurred seven people to apply, with only four getting approved. “We can do better,” said Brown in the press release. “I hope this bill encourages more business owners to step forward and go green.”

PlanPhilly‘s Jared Brey adds the following:

The program was created in 2007, at the end of John Street’s mayoral term. Since that time, only $42,670 in BIRT taxes have been waived for green-roof construction, according to the city’s response to a Right-To-Know request filed by PlanPhilly last summer. The city refused PlanPhilly’s request for a list of businesses claiming the Green Roof Tax Credit, citing tax-return confidentiality rules.

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