Issue Brief: Public School Green Rooftop Program Act


The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) believes the skillful use of vegetation in built environments is integral to the quality of life, sustainability, and resiliency. ASLA encourages applied research and best practices in which vegetation significantly improves environmental conditions, economic stability, ecosystem services, and human health and culture.

Additionally, ASLA recognizes the presence and needs of underserved communities and works to balance socioeconomic impacts through environmental and community planning and design.


More frequent climate impacts like extreme weather have contributed to alarming rates of higher temperatures and heat waves nationwide. These events have caused increased energy demands for heating and cooling and caused energy prices to surge. Additionally, as cities become more densely populated, green space becomes scarce leading to numerous economic, environmental, and public health challenges. Including increased green infrastructure and other nature-based solutions like green roofs into the built environment will help to mitigate the impacts of climate change and also provide important economic benefits.

Green roofs provide economic benefits that conventional roofs do not, including lower energy costs, water use, stormwater runoff, landfill waste, and building operating expenses. Additionally, green roofs address environmental and public health challenges by improving air and water quality, mitigating excess heat, and creating habitats for various plants and wildlife, including pollinators. Adding much-needed green space to the built environment also decreases environmental injustices experienced by many underserved communities. Green roofs also have positive impacts on student performance and can provide opportunities for hands-on learning about nature-based solutions, environmental studies, climate change, biodiversity, and more.

Landscape architects are leaders in planning and designing green roofs—from designing master plans, including selecting appropriate vegetation, to overseeing construction, to assisting with maintenance and monitoring activities. Landscape architects are equipped to steward green roof projects through grant selection, design, construction, academic evaluation, and more.

Bill Summary

On June 21, 2023, Representative Nydia M. Velazquez (NY) reintroduced H.R. 4270, the Public School Green Rooftop Program Act. Specifically, the measure:
  • Amends the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to authorize State energy conservation plans to allow grants for green roofs at public schools.
  • Allows additional funding for up to five years for the maintenance of the green roof.
  • Prioritizes projects for public schools that serve low-income and high-pollution neighborhoods.
  • Prioritizes projects that meet performance and nationally recognized standards for green roofs, including The Sustainable SITES Initiative® (SITES®).
  • Recognizes the role of landscape architects as leaders in planning and designing green roofs.
Recent Action

On June 21, 2023, H.R. 4270 was reintroduced and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Representative Nydia M. Velazquez (NY), and cosponsors.


Roxanne Blackwell, 
Esq., Hon. ASLA,
Director of Federal
Government Affairs

Elizabeth Hebron,
Director of State
Government Affairs