The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is going green, literally. Last week it unveiled its first green roof, which tops the USPS Morgan mail processing facility in New York City. The roof, which is the largest green roof in NYC, will, expectedly, help the facility reduce its energy usage (by 30 percent by 2015) and pollution runoff (by up to 35 to 75 percent, depending on the season).
Environmental Leader reports that the green roof’s approximate 50-year lifespan is twice that of the roof it replaced (which was built in 1933). The green roof will, like its non-green predecessor, span 2.2 million square feet (nearly 2.5 acres). It will also support 200 pounds-per-square-foot of soil, vegetation, and other green roofing components. The roof nourishes a number of native plants and is furnished with certified-sustainable wood benches.
Estimates suggest that, while the initial investment for green roofing is twice that for a regular blacktop roof, green roofs last almost three times longer than blacktops and eventually pay for themselves in reduced energy bills.
The green roof construction is part of the USPS’s “greener facilities strategy”, which also includes use of renewable building materials, efficient energy and water fixtures, and other protocol. The USPS’s larger sustainability strategy has, fairly recently, also included the use of alternative fueled vehicles. According to Environmental Leader, the USPS is expected to open a LEED-certified facility soon in Long Island.