Gallery: The White Roof Project Paints a Whole Block in the Lower East ...

The White Roof Project has officially tripled their success of last year by painting 35,000 square feet of rooftops in the Lower East Side white to save energy. A lot of rooftops in New York City are painted with black tar which can reach temperatures of up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Painting a roof with white reflective paint reflects up to 90 percent of sunlight, cooling the roof and therefore the building below — which saves on electricity bills as residents attempt to cool their homes in the summer. We reported on the White Roof Project’s goals when they announced them early in August and we’re happy to say that over the past two days they’ve completed their mission and can now move on to painting the rest of our great city.

The White Roof Project started their painting crusade with the 10,000 square foot Bowery Mission last year and this year decided to focus on a grouping of low-income housing buildings in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The group of volunteers were joined by Borough President Scott Stringer to mark the start of this model project — they are hoping to expand the project in the near future to the rest of the city.

“This is how we transform the city,” Stringer said to a group gathered at the event this week. “This is a model that can be replicated throughout New York City as a way to modernize and sustain our affordable housing stock,” he added. Though we think this is a simple addition to be made to any building — not just the affordable housing structures — it is great to know that city officials are on board with the project.

“We are hopeful that this innovative program can be extended to the rest of our Lower East Side community,” said Val Orselli, executive director of Cooper Square Mutual Housing, in a statement to mark the occasion. The White Roof Project will surely be trudging ahead with paint brushes in hand to other parts of the city, and they’ll be needing an army of volunteers — if you’d like to get involved, head to their site.

+ The White Roof Project

Via Crains New York


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  1. lazyreader August 23, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    While it may seem like a good initiative, just because it’s white doesn’t guarantee that it will mitigate any temperature increase. A white beach chair is less hot than a colored beach chair, it’s still very warm. Combined with the fact that superior groups are pushing their own agendas as to what to do with the roofs. Examples such as roof gardens, green roofs or urban farms placed atop them or solar arrays, why put forth all that effort painting something few people will see, especially in the long run if the roofs are planted inevitably. Of course what if we’re wrong and Ice Age is coming, we’ll be painting our roofs black to keep them heated.

  2. lorrbrack August 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I think this seems like a great initiative. A simple idea that can make a big difference. (simple ideas are often the best). But I would like to pose a question (without being any kind of an authority on this), but as an alternative, wouldn’t it be a good idea to somehow harness the heat and convert it into energy… solar panels?