The best part about the program, however, is that these green initiatives are already being applied. Under the NYC Cools Roofs program for example, community residents and volunteers are painting the roofs of buildings throughout the three Brooklyn neighborhoods white. Simple as it may seem, painting the roofs white reduces roof temperature by almost 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and lowers interior temperatures by 30 percent. Not only does this produce savings of 40 percent in utility bills, but it also makes residential buildings more comfortable during summers as well.
Brooklyn Greens also hops to introduce 480 energy efficient retrofitted homes, apartments, and commercial buildings, along constructing 130 new units of green residential housing. The current goal is to also train 140 local community residents in “green collar jobs.” They will help in planting 750 street trees and 12 new neighborhood green space. These new green projects will transform neighborhoods like Southside Williamsburg into a “Green Light District,” a term quoted by Councilwoman Diane Reyna.
The Pratt Center for Community Development, as part of the Pratt Institute, will be helping to coordinate and track the progress of the initiative over the next three years. “Brooklyn Greens will advance the City’s goals to reduce carbon emissions and green New York City’s neighborhoods,” said Adam Friedman, Director of the Pratt Center.” We are thrilled to be working with Brooklyn Community Foundation and our community based partners to develop and implement tools, strategies and metrics that can help all New York City neighborhoods to become healthier, more affordable, and environmentally sustainable.”
This project is a huge step forward in truly transforming NYC into a green city. Concentration isn’t just on places in Manhattan, but also in residential neighborhoods in the other boroughs, where the focus is more on local residents and helping to improve their standard of living. More importantly, this is a community effort that aims to rehabilitate long neglected neighborhoods through community development and activism based on green principles. The fact that the ultimate goal is for all neighborhoods in Brooklyn rather than just a select few, makes this truly a one of a kind project, and a model for the rest of the city as well.
Photos © Brooklyn Community Foundation