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NY Post Office Gets Green Roof

The US Postal Service has built its second green roof, a 11,300-square-foot installation in upstate New York.

The roof at Colvin-Elmwood Post Office was built in collaboration with Onondaga County, N.Y., as part of the municipality’s Save the Rain initiative.

After being verified sound enough to support the additional weight of the soil, vegetation and other structural requirements, the roof was fitted with a new membrane, layers of drainage sheet, mat, separation fabric, indigenous vegetation and a wind blanket. Its expected lifespan is up to 50 years, twice as long as the roof it will replace.

The green roof will also will reduce the amount of contaminants in storm water runoff flowing into the municipal water system, USPS said, and it should help the post office reduce energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

The USPS as a whole has a target of cutting energy usage 30 percent by 2015 and greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020, when measured against 2003 and 2008 levels respectively.
In 2009, the service unveiled a 2.5 acre green roof on the Morgan mail processing facility in midtown Manhattan. The roof was projected to save the facility $30,000 in annual energy costs and reduce polluted runoff by as much as 75 percent in the summer.
The green roofs are part of the Postal Service’s greener facilities strategy, which includes the use of environmentally friendly building components, renewable materials, energy-efficient lighting and HVAC, low volatile organic compound parts, low-water use fixtures and solar photovoltaic systems.
In the last 12 months, the Postal Service also has expanded its recycling program in central New York state to include mixed paper and cardboard, resulting in nearly 1,055 tons of materials recycled in the past year. With a recycling rate of 95 percent the Albany district is one of the Postal Service’s first Zero Waste districts, the USPS said.
Earlier this month the Postal Service released its annual sustainability report. It stated that in 2011, the service’s carbon emissions rose 0.7 percent, from 12.31 to 12.39 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. The service’s revenues, net profits and mail volume all shrank over that time period.
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