This blog is designed to highlight the diversity of views and news stories on urban energy topics that appear daily in the media. They are intended to provoke discussions on how cultural, geographic, political, and institutional influences shape the way energy markets operate and energy policies are made in cities around the world.
Friday, October 15, 2010
With cool hand, Mayor Bloomberg helps paint town white for energy efficiency
Volunteers from NYC Service cover E. 146th St. Bronx rooftop with a white coating to help reduce cooling costs and energy use.
But he was covering a rooftop and not a scandal. Hizzoner wielded a paintbrush to slap a reflective white coating to the 1 millionth square foot of rooftop as a part of the NYC °CoolRoofs program.Mayor Bloomberg found himself involved in a whitewash Wednesday.
Trading his business suit for sneakers, jeans and an orange T-shirt, Bloomberg and other officials went to the roof of theNew York City Housing Authority's Betances Development in the South Bronxto publicize the milestone.
With help from the Buildings Department, more than 1,500 volunteers organized by NYC Service - the mayor's volunteer initiative - have added the reflective coating to more than 340,000 square feet of government buildings and 70,000 square feet of NYCHA rooftops alone, to help reduce cooling costs, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Officials predict the program will help the city's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, a prime goal of PlaNYC, the city's comprehensive sustainability plan.
"By simply applying a reflective, white coating, we can reduce rooftop temperature by up to 60 degrees, which translates into reduced cooling costs and reduced carbon emissions," said Bloomberg.
The mayor added that homeowners and landlords need to seriously think about the benefits - reducing their energy costs by 25% or more.
"Next time you get your Con Ed bill, say, 'Hey, wait, maybe I should do it. ... The landlords get paid back so quickly. This is in their interests. It's sort of a no-brainer."
A roof with reflective, white coating - known as a cool roof - absorbs 80% less heat than traditional dark colored roofs and can lower indoor temperatures by 10 to 20 degrees on hot days, reducing the need for air conditioning - and reducing the potential for brownouts and blackouts.
If all roofs were similarly coated, officials said it could drop the city's overall ambient air temperature by 1 degree.
That may sound small, but because of all its concrete and roadways and general lack of green space, officials said the city suffers from an urban heat island effect, with temperatures anywhere from 5 to 7 degrees higher on hot days than the surrounding region. In the South Bronx, it can stretch up to 10 degrees