Big Apple goes white on top

New York's world famous cityscape is going to get a slight change as roofs are painted white to help tackle climate change.

The city’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and former vice president, Al Gore, last week launched the NYC Cool Roofs initiative, which is part of a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.

Mr Bloomberg and Mr Gore helped volunteers coat the rooftop of the Long Island City YMCA in Queens, to mark the launch last Thursday (24 September).

The program starts with a pilot from 24 September to 9 October , with teams of volunteers working to coat 100,000 square feet of rooftop in Long Island City, a neighborhood with higher temperatures than the citywide average due to the amount of industry there.

“It’s such a simple concept – anyone who has ever gotten dressed in the summer knows it – light-colored surfaces absorb less heat than darker surfaces do,” said Mr Bloomberg.

“Coating rooftops with reflective, white paint can reduce roof temperatures by as much as 60 degrees and indoor temperatures by 10 to 20 degrees.

“That means substantial energy savings for the building owner and a big reduction in energy usage and greenhouse emissions.”

“I am proud to join Mayor Bloomberg and these dedicated volunteers to kick-off a great program that is going to make a real difference,” said Mr Gore.

“The threat we face from the climate crisis is unsurpassed and smart policies like installing cool roofs are one way that we are going to meet the challenge.

“It takes real leadership from our elected officials to help save our planet, thanks to the efforts of the mayor New York City remains at the forefront of enacting innovative policies that reduce our carbon footprint.”

Luke Walsh

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie