The U.S. Postal Service recently celebrated another example of environmental leadership as local officials announced a green roof atop the Colvin-Elmwood Post Office. The 11,300 square foot green roof will be built at no cost to the Postal Service through an innovative sustainability partnership with Onondaga County, NY. “The Postal Service continues to lead the way when it comes to making a positive impact on the environment,” said Chief Sustainability Officer, Thomas G. Day. “We’re pleased to be collaborating with the good people of Onondaga County on our second green roof, which will help the Postal Service conserve water and energy in the Syracuse metropolitan area.”
Working cooperatively with Onondaga County’s Save the Rain initiative, the Colvin-Elmwood Post Office’s roof was deemed structurally sound to support the additional weight of the soil, vegetation and other requirements of a green roof. The green roof will consist of a new membrane, layers of drainage sheet, mat, separation fabric, indigenous vegetation and a wind blanket. The green roof plan fits perfectly into the Postal Service’s commitment to create sustainable spaces and facilities wherever possible. The green roof also addresses practical concerns. The roof’s expected lifespan is up to 50 years, twice as long as the roof it will replace. It also will reduce the amount of contaminants in storm water runoff flowing into Syracuse’s municipal water system.
“At more than 11,000 square feet, the Colvin-Elmwood green roof will be one of the largest in New York,” said Day. “The Colvin-Elmwood green roof will help us meet our goals to reduce energy usage 30 percent by 2015 and greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020.”The Colvin-Elmwood green roof is 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 to include mixed paper and cardboard, resulting in nearly 1,055 tons of materials recycled in the past year. With more than 700 postal locations, including Post Office locations in Syracuse and Central New York, and with a recycling rate of 95 percent, District Manager, Edward F. Phelan, Jr., noted the Albany district is one of the Postal Service’s first Zero Waste districts.