New York Cool Roofs Program

The New York City Department of Buildings, New York City Service, Con Edison and the City University of New York have teamed up to launch a city-wide NYC Cool Roofs Program. The program is designed to help reduce cooling costs, energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions by installing a white coating on rooftops that reflects the sun and dissipates the absorption of heat on building rooftops. As a component of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative, the Cool Roofs Program is a partnership between public and private organizations, non-profit groups and building owners that advocates the city’s comprehensive sustainability plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a projected thirty percent. The Cool Roofs Program is intended to cool up to one million square feet of rooftops in the city, and was first proposed in 2009 by Mayor Bloomberg and former Vice President Al Gore as a pilot program with NYC Service volunteers who coated 100,000 square feet of rooftops over a two-week period in Queens County.

Building Commissioner Robert LiMandri and Department of Buildings employees, this week, joined with volunteers from the NYC Service to apply the white coating in an effort to cool more than 46,000 square feet of LaGuardia Community College rooftops, which is the first of many public and private buildings that will be coated this year in areas that show evidence of higher temperatures that other areas, and higher than the citywide average. Furthermore, Con Edison has agreed to replace 156,000 square feet of traditional dark roofing on its own buildings across the city with white roofing, and will also coat 25,000 square feet of its yard facilities in Brooklyn. Con Edison also plans to partner with NYC Service to coat YMCA building rooftops in the city and is offering incentives to homeowners to participate in the program.

By purchasing coating for city agencies to use and securing contracts with professional roofing companies, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, along with the Department of Buildings, is working to cool more than 240,000 square feet of rooftops on city-owned buildings this year. To determine which buildings most need the rooftop overhauls, the Department of Buildings will determine additional sites for coating through ongoing energy performance audits of the largest city-owned buildings. In addition, the Housing Authority has already identified buildings belonging to the Department of Buildings, Department of Homeland Security and the New York City Police Department slated for rooftops overhauls. Department of Citywide Administrative Agency Commissioner Martha Hirst indicated that New York City will continue to lead by example, as the Cool Roof Program is not only smart, but also good for the environment, and cost-effective as well.

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