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NYC Launches Cool Roofs Program

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The Department of Buildings, New York City Service, Con Edison and the City University of New York have launched the NYC Cool Roofs Program, a citywide program to help reduce cooling costs, energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions by applying reflective, white coating to rooftops.

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The program is a partnership between public and private organizations, non-profit groups and building owners and is a component of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative, the city’s comprehensive sustainability plan reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030. NYC Cool Roofs is designed to cool one million sq ft of rooftop. In 2009, Mayor Bloomberg and former Vice President Al Gore first announced a pilot program for NYC Cool Roofs with NYC Service volunteers, who coated 100,000 sq ft of rooftop over a two-week period in Queens.

This week, Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri and DOB employees joined NYC Service volunteers to cool more than 46,000 sq ft of LaGuardia Community College’s rooftop, the first of many public and private buildings to be coated this year in communities that exhibit higher temperatures than the citywide average.

Through its partnership with the city, Con Edison has agreed to replace 156,000 sq ft of traditional dark roofing on its buildings across the city with white roofing and will also coat the 25,000-sq-ft roof of its Third Avenue Yard facility in Brooklyn. Con Edison will also partner with NYC Service to coat the rooftop of a YMCA building in the city and offer incentives to homeowners who participate in the NYC Cool Roofs program.

Other rooftops scheduled to be coated this week include a Brooklyn building owned by the Mutual Housing Association of New York, an affordable housing developer and manager, and the Bronx headquarters of The Bridge, a mental health, housing and rehabilitation agency.

The Department of Citywide Administrative Services is following suit and is working with the DOB and other city agencies to cool more than 240,000 sq ft of rooftops on city-owned buildings this year by purchasing coating for city agencies to use and securing contracts with professional roofing companies. Through ongoing energy performance audits of the largest city-owned buildings, DCAS and DOB will identify additional sites for coating.

The New York City Housing Authority has already identified an additional 100,000 sq ft of rooftop to be coated including those belonging to the DOB headquarters in Manhattan, a Department of Homeless Services facility in Brooklyn and the New York Police Department’s 40th Precinct in the Bronx.

“There’s nothing like being cool and smart,” said DCAS Commissioner Martha K. Hirst. “And by coating nearly a quarter million square feet of city-owned roofs, we will be both.” “We will continue to lead by example in this area, as we identify additional locations where a cool roof coating is not only good for the environment, but cost-effective as well.”


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