Tuesday, August 23, 2011

White Roof Project Begins Painting NYC Rooftops

Go Green! Lower East Side announced that 35,000 square feet of rooftop space will be painted with white paint. The paint, which reflects 90% of sunlight, is expected to reduce cooling costs and electricity bills.

If you've been outside recently, you probably realize that this summer is hot. With heat waves spreading across the country, it's worth pointing out that many Americans are unknowingly contributing to the soaring temperatures. How? Millions of rooftops in America are made of black tar - and they absorb and trap an enormous amount of heat during the summer months.

But there's an easy fix to the problem: paint the black roofs white.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer announced Monday that 35,000 square feet of rooftop space atop 20 buildings on one Lower East Side block, will be painted with white reflective paint, in what is deemed as a model program for energy conservation. The apartment buildings, which are managed by the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association, are located between East Fourth and East Third streets, between Second Avenue and the Bowery.

Con Edison has begun installing white roofs as a way to save energy and protect the environment, and has recently installed a white roof on it's own headquarters building in Manhattan. In a press release, Mr. Stringer stated that: “White roof painting is a strategy that is environmental and economical. This is a model that can be replicated throughout New York City as a way to modernize and sustain our affordable housing stock.”

Painting black tar roofs with a white, solar-reflective coating is a low cost, quick and tangible way to save millions of dollars in energy costs. The statistics are as simple as they are staggering: A roof covered with solar-reflective white paint reflects up to 90% of sunlight as opposed to the 20% reflected by a traditional black roof. Studies show that on a 90° day, a black roof can reach temperatures of up to 180°, and raising the interior building temperature to between 115 - 125°. Under the same conditions, a white roof stays a relatively cool 100°, keeping the inside of the building cooler than the air outdoors - thus reducing cooling costs.

Recently, former President Bill Clinton wrote in Newsweek, "Every black roof in New York should be white; every roof in Chicago should be white; every roof in Little Rock should be white. Every flat tar-surface roof anywhere! In most of these places you could recover the cost of the paint and the labor in a week." The former president regularly touts white roofs as one of those win-win scenarios, that would also help create jobs and stimulate the economy.

By Peter Coyne / TheElectricWeb.com
August 22, 2011