Newsletter Sign-up Weather Advisories Owner's Bill of Rights Printer Friendly Format Translate This Page
House #
Street Name
Press Releases

For Immediate Release
May 11, 2010


Goal Is To Cool 1 Million Square Feet of Rooftop in 2010

Program Includes City Buildings Such As the Headquarters of the Department of Buildings and an NYPD Precinct Stationhouse

Component of Mayor Bloomberg’s Pledge to Reduce Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions with Cool Roofs

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri and NYC Service today joined Con Edison Vice President of Facilities Saddie L. Smith and City University of New York’s LaGuardia Community College President Dr. Gail O. Mellow to launch the NYC °Cool Roofs Program, an innovative effort to reduce cooling costs, energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions by applying reflective, white coating to rooftops. The citywide program – a unique partnership among public and private organizations, non-profit groups and individual property owners – is designed to cool 1 million square feet of rooftop. This effort is a component of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s promise to coat rooftops white to help meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030, the primary goal of PlaNYC, the City’s comprehensive sustainability plan. In September 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 square feet of rooftop over a two-week period in Queens.

At LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens, today, Commissioner LiMandri and Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford were joined by other partners of the NYC °Cool Roofs Program, including Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Commissioner Martha K. Hirst, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Commissioner Margarita Lopez and Richard Cherry, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Environmental Center (CEC), which provides the program’s logistical support with assistance from Green City Force.

“Be cool and cool your roof,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “This great program is a simple and innovative way to cut energy costs today and improve the quality of life for generations of New Yorkers to come. From the installation of solar panels to more parking area for bicycles, the Department of Buildings has been working with property owners to make their buildings more energy efficient so this City can become more sustainable and our people can enjoy a healthier lifestyle than ever before. I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for leading this ambitious effort, and I would like to thank all of our partners for joining the NYC °Cool Roofs program.”

“Cool Roofs is a demonstration of a public-private partnership addressing a challenge in NYC by working to meet the PlaNYC goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030,” said Chief Service Officer Billings-Burford. “Corporations, city agencies, nonprofit organizations, and citizen volunteers all have a part to play in making our city greener and more energy efficient.”

“We commend Mayor Bloomberg and his administration for recognizing that ‘cool roofs’ play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and urban air temperatures,” said Con Edison Vice President Saddie L. Smith. “This program is another example of our and the Mayor’s commitment to fighting global warming and making the world’s greatest city a more comfortable, pleasant place to live and work.”

“LaGuardia Community College’s students and faculty, joined by many in our surrounding community, are taking direct and important steps to reduce our carbon footprint, lower our energy consumption and help our city to be healthier and cleaner,” said Dr. Gail O. Mellow, President of LaGuardia Community College. “By collaborating with the New York City Department of Buildings, and guided by Mayor Bloomberg’s vision, we are helping LaGuardia and all of CUNY meet our sustainability goals and do our part to reduce the threat of global warming.”

Commissioner LiMandri and Department of Buildings (DOB) employees joined NYC Service volunteers to cool more than 46,000 square feet 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 square feet of traditional dark roofing on its buildings across the City with white roofing membranes. The utility company also will coat the 25,000-square-foot roof of its Third Avenue Yard facility in Brooklyn, 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.

Leading by example, DCAS is working with DOB and other City agencies to cool more than 240,000 square feet of roofs atop City-owned buildings this year. As the central energy management agency for City government, DCAS is purchasing coating for City agencies to use and securing contracts with professional roofing companies to cool some of the City’s rooftops. Through its ongoing energy performance audits of the largest City-owned buildings, DCAS and DOB will be identifying additional sites for coating. In addition, NYCHA has identified approximately 100,000 square feet of rooftop to be coated on its buildings. So far, the City buildings being cooled this year include:

  • DOB headquarters at 280 Broadway in Manhattan;
  • A Department of Homeless Services facility at 1381 East New York Avenue in Brooklyn; and
  • The NYPD’s 40th Precinct in the Bronx.

“There’s nothing like being cool and smart, and by coating nearly a quarter million square feet of City-owned rooftops, we will be both,” said DCAS Commissioner Hist. “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.”

“NYCHA is fully committed to identifying and implementing the most innovative and cost efficient solutions to help reduce our impact on the environment,” said NYCHA Commissioner Margarita Lopez. “Through our Green Agenda, a series of green initiatives that reduce greenhouse gasses and conserve energy, NYCHA is adding the “Cool Roofs” program, which will be vital in our continued efforts to preserving our planet and public housing for future generations.”

“Community Environmental Center is proud to run New York City’s progressive Cool Roofs program,” said CEC President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Cherry. “This cutting-edge project, which will be accomplished with Green City Force, the Department of Buildings and NYC Service, continues the City’s forward-looking commitment to creating a safer and healthier world in the 21st century.”

Impact of Cool Roofs

Formed in 2009, DOB’s Buildings Sustainability Board is working with property owners to install new green technology in their buildings to reduce energy consumption and costs, such as cool roofs and wind turbines. New York City’s 2008 Building Code requires most new roofs built in the City to have 75 percent of the roof area covered with reflective, white coating or to be ENERGY STAR® rated as highly reflective.

A cool roof absorbs 80 percent less heat than traditional dark colored roofs and can lower roof temperatures by up to 60 degrees and indoor temperatures by 10 to 20 degrees on hot days. The decrease in temperature reduces the need for air conditioning, lowering electric bills and reducing energy consumption. Coating all eligible dark rooftops in New York City could result in up to a 1 degree reduction of the ambient air temperature – a significant and lasting change towards cooling the City. The decrease in energy usage from cool roofs also will help reduce the likelihood of blackouts and brownouts, as the strain on the power grid during times of peak demand will be lessened.

Financial savings after converting to a cool roof will vary from building to building, but a self-applied cool roof coating (no labor costs) typically pays for itself after three years through energy savings.  A cool roof can reduce air conditioning costs by 50 percent in a one story building, 25 percent in a two story building, and by 10 percent in a five story building. Further, cool roofs can extend the life of a roof by five to ten years by reducing the stress caused by extreme heat.

Rooftop and Surface Heat in NYC

New York City is heavily impacted by the “urban heat island” effect – the phenomenon of cities being warmer than surrounding suburban and rural areas due to the abundance of dry impermeable surfaces, such as roads and buildings.  The urban heat island effect causes the City to be five to seven degrees warmer than surrounding areas.

Areas of the City, like Long Island City, that are most impacted by the urban heat island effect have an abundance of industrial roofs, roadways, and a lack of vegetation. For example, the combined surface temperature in Long Island City is approximately five to ten degrees higher on hot days than the citywide mean, according to satellite imagery.

Program Monitoring and Accountability

To ensure accountability and gauge program results, the NYC °Cool Roofs Program will be monitored by Columbia University’s Center for Climate Systems Research, which will report on the energy and cost savings generated by cool roofs on participating buildings. An on-line dashboard will be developed so the public can see real-time performance data on the project at

100 Cool Cities Global Initiative

The NYC °Cool Roofs Program and the City’s ongoing efforts to combat climate change have made New York City a charter member of the 100 Cool Cities Global Initiative. The initiative is organizing 100 of the largest cities in the temperate and tropical regions of the world to develop customized implementation programs to cool their respected cities by installing white and cool roofing and pavement materials. An initial list of cities to join the program includes Delhi (India), Hyderabad (India), Los Angeles (USA), Osaka (Japan), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Taipei (Taiwan) and Tokyo (Japan).

New Yorkers interested in giving back by working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can become an NYC °Cool Roofs volunteer by visiting or calling 311. Building owners and homeowners who wish to reduce their own energy costs and reduce their own carbon footprint, can also visit or call 311 to learn how to coat their own roof with reflective, white coating.

Contact:     Tony Sclafani/Ryan FitzGibbon (Buildings) (212) 566-3473
                    Marc LaVorgna (Mayor’s Office/Service) (212) 788-2958
                    Con Edison Media Relations (212) 460-4111
                    Randy Fader-Smith (CUNY) (718) 482-5985