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For Immediate Release
September 23, 2011


More than 2,300 Volunteers Have Joined the Citywide Effort to Coat Rooftops

NYC ºCool Roofs Will Help Meet PlaNYC’s Goal of Reducing Carbon Emissions 30% by 2030

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri and NYC Service Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford today announced two million square feet of rooftop has been coated as part of the City’s NYC °CoolRoofs program. In its second season, NYC °CoolRoofs seeks to reduce carbon emissions, cut energy usage and lower temperatures by applying a white, reflective coating to rooftops throughout the five boroughs. The program will help the City’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030, the primary goal of PlaNYC, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s comprehensive sustainability plan. Since 2009, the City has galvanized more than 2,300 volunteers to successfully coat a million square feet of rooftop in 2010 and another million square feet this year. With Con Edison and Google as the program’s lead sponsors, 220 buildings in all five boroughs have brought the current total of square feet of rooftop coated to 2,029,713.

The Department of Buildings estimates that nearly 2,337,000 will be completed by the end of coating season in late October, weather permitting. A cool rooftop 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. Coating all eligible dark rooftops in the City could result in up to a one degree reduction of the ambient air temperature – a lasting change towards cooling the City.

“More cool roofs mean cooler communities and a better way of life for all New Yorkers,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “The NYC ºCoolRoofs program has shown that any individual can make a difference and improve the quality of life at home, at work and in their neighborhood. With the enthusiasm of hundreds of volunteers and the support of Con Edison, Google and other private organizations, we have coated two million square feet of rooftop in two years – an unprecedented effort to change the way we live in this great City. I would like to thank NYC Service and my staff for their dedication to such a noble effort that will impact generations to come.”

“New Yorkers have proven that they are willing to help make our city greener. Since NYC ºCoolRoofs piloted in 2009, over 2,300 volunteers have given their time and hard work to coat two million square feet of roof top, helping to reduce carbon emissions and decrease the urban heat island effect,” said Chief Service Officer Billings-Burford. “NYC Service will continue leveraging the power of New York City's passionate citizens to increase the city's sustainability and ensure lasting environmental change.”

“Con Edison is proud to be a lead sponsor of NYC ºCoolRoofs for a second straight year,” said Frances A. Resheske, Con Edison’s senior vice president for Public Affairs. “The Mayor’s ºCoolRoofs program is a great example of how the city, private building owners and the nonprofit community can lower energy bills and protect the environment.”

“Coating two million square feet of rooftop is a wonderful achievement, and we are thrilled to be a part of it,” Alex Abelin, Google’s Community Affairs Manager for the New York region. “The NYC ºCoolRoofs program is exactly what communities around the world need to implement in order to reverse the effects of climate change and protect our planet for decades to come. Google is dedicated to supporting green initiatives worldwide and keeping our environment safe for all.”

City-owned Buildings Lead the Way

Under the NYC °CoolRoofs program, City-owned buildings have been utilized to help reduce energy usage and reduce the urban heat island effect by providing more than 500,000 square feet of its own rooftops. Following is a breakdown of the agencies that have participated:

  • Department of Parks and Recreation: 349,200 square feet
  • New York City Housing Authority: 201,272 square feet
  • Department of Homeless Services:144,505 square feet
  • City University of New York: 46,670 square feet
  • Department of Citywide Administrative Services: 22,500 square feet
  • New York Police Department: 11,710 square feet
  • Department of Transportation: 9,980 square feet 

Galvanizing the Community

NYC Service was launched by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in April 2009 to meet his State of the City pledge for New York City to lead the nation in answering President Obama’s national call to volunteerism. Since its inception, NYC Service has engaged more than one million New Yorkers in a wide range of volunteer activities, from providing tax assistance to low-income families to beautifying neighborhood blocks to coating rooftops with reflective white materials. NYC Service launched 25 new or expanded volunteer initiatives and the comprehensive website, located at, has made it easier for New Yorkers to find opportunities to make a difference.

New Yorkers interested in giving back by working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can become an NYC °CoolRoofs volunteer by visiting, or calling 311. Donations to support the NYC °CoolRoofs initiative can be made to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City also by visiting or calling 311.

Contact:     Marc La Vorgna (212) 788-2958
                    Tony Sclafani/Jennifer Gilbert (Buildings) (212) 566-3473
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