We all know summer in New York is HOT! And there is nothing hotter than a black tar roof sans luscious garden or shaded bar baking under the sweltering sun. With surface temperatures climbing to nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit, these roofs greatly contribute to the city’s summer heat and are stressing out the ol’ power grid. But the White Roof Project aims to change this. Founded just last year by Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza, the group has been cooling off city buildings and saving energy by whitewashing city roofs. You can join their cause on August 21st and 22nd, as hundreds of volunteers work with the Fourth Arts Block to paint an entire East Village block of city roofs with eco-friendly, reflective white paint.
A roof covered with solar-reflective white paint reflects up to 90 percent of sunlight as opposed to the 20 percent reflected by a traditional black roofs. Last summer, (the hottest summer in New York history, remember?), along with NYC Cool Roofs and White Tops NYC, the White Roof Project helped paint 10,000 square feet of the Bowery Mission rooftop with white, reflective paint. The project gained national recognition and even caught the attention of former President Bill Clinton, who endorsed the movement on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and in Newsweek saying, “Every black roof in New York should be white; every roof in Chicago should be white; every roof in Little Rock should be white. Every flat tar-surface roof anywhere! In most of these places you could recover the cost of the paint and the labor in a week.”
This year, the White Roof Project plans to triple the number of roofs painted last year and launch an educational campaign to promote awareness of the benefits of white rooftops. This city block project will be their biggest yet, with over 35,000 square feet of roof to cover. The location is centered on low-income housing buildings in the East Village, to give those without the means of air conditioning a cooler home and possibly lowering the temperature of the entire neighborhood.
Check out the White Roof Project to see how you can volunteer or contribute to this and future projects.
images via the White Roof Project