October 28, 2009, The New York Times — Mario Casasnovas was on the green roof of the Bronx County Building a couple of weeks ago, remembering the flowers there in the summer and offering some tips about handling the sedum that is the main plant on the roof. “The roots from the clover,” a weed, “tend to wrap around the roots of a sedum,” he said, nine floors above the Grand Concourse, near Yankee Stadium. “You’ve got to be careful not to pull out the sedum with the clover.”
Mr. Casasnovas, an employee of SmartRoofs L.L.C., was doing routine maintenance on the vegetative roof, which his company installed in June 2003. The company, based in the Bronx, is one of the few green roofers in the New York metropolitan area. But what makes SmartRoofs even more unusual is that it is part of a tiny but growing trend among small businesses: for-profit ventures spun off by nonprofit groups that teach the job skills necessary to join the nascent green economy.