U.S. Postal Service Opens First Green Roof

Agency Cements Role as an Environmental Leader

July 22, 2009 

Release No. 09-063 

NEW YORK-The U.S. Postal Service celebrated another example of its environmental leadership as it dedicated its first and New York City's largest green roof high atop the Morgan mail processing facility.

Built in 1933, the 2.2 million square foot facility located in midtown Manhattan became a historic landmark in 1986. Its roof was constructed originally to serve as an additional mail processing location, supporting 200 pounds per square foot. When the roof was scheduled for replacement in 2007, it was deemed strong enough to support the weight of the soil, vegetation and other requirements of a green roof. The plan fit perfectly into the Postal Service's commitment to create sustainable spaces and facilities wherever possible.

"The Postal Service is taking the lead when it comes to making a positive impact on the environment," said Tom Samra, vice president, Facilities. "We're proud to dedicate our first green roof, and we are pleased to showcase this environmental oasis today in New York City."

The green roof also addresses practical concerns. The roof will last up to 50 years, twice as long as the roof it replaced. It will also reduce the amount of contaminants in storm water runoff flowing into New York's municipal water system. The agency projects the reduction of polluted runoff to be as much as 75 percent in the summer, and up to 35 percent during the winter months.

At nearly 2.5 acres, and safely perched seven stories above the city, the Morgan green roof offers a spectacular panoramic view of midtown Manhattan and the northern New Jersey shore. Its 14 orange-hued Ipe Brazilian wood benches are made from lumber certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council. Native plants and trees include Calamagrostis, a lush, maintenance-free grass.

"The Morgan green roof is the largest in New York and one of the largest in the country," said Sam Pulcrano, vice president, Sustainability. "Not only does it provide employees with a beautiful, serene outdoor environment, the green roof will help us meet our goal to reduce energy usage 30 percent by 2015."

The Morgan green roof is the latest success in the Postal Service's greener facilities strategy, which includes the use of environmentally conscious building components, renewable materials, energy-efficient lighting and HVAC, low volatile organic compound parts, low-water use fixtures, solar photovoltaic systems, and a LEED-certified facility opening soon in Long Island.

The agency also announced the newest edition to its fleet of hybrid electric delivery vehicles, a 2-ton hybrid electric van. The vehicle, a combined effort of Azure Dynamics, Morgan Olson, Boyer Ford Truck Sales and Ford Motor Company, will be tested in Long Island later this summer and will join 30 other Azure Dynamics pure electric step vans currently delivering mail in Manhattan and the Bronx, as part of a test of the alternative fuel technology.

With the largest civilian fleet in the world - nearly 220,000 vehicles traveling more than 1.2 billion miles a year - the Postal Service consistently looks for ways to reduce the environmental impact of its fleet. The use of hybrid electric vehicles, and other alternative fuel technologies, along with reducing the size of its fleet, will help the Postal Service meet its goal of reducing fuel usage by 20 percent over the next five years.

In the last 12 months, the Postal Service also has expanded its recycling program in New York City to include mixed paper and cardboard, resulting in nearly 400 tons of materials recycled each month. Since last October post offices in New York City have recycled 2,770 tons of mixed paper and cardboard, an increase of 1,861 tons, or nearly triple what was recycled in the same period the previous year.

The Postal Service has been honored with more than 70 major environmental awards, including 40 White House Closing the Circle awards for environmental stewardship, and the 2009 Climate Change Champion of the Year Award for efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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An independent federal agency, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation, 149 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes, six days a week. It has 34,000 retail locations and relies on the sale of postage, products and services, not tax dollars, to pay for operating expenses. Named the Most Trusted Government Agency five consecutive years by the Ponemon Institute, the Postal Service has annual revenue of $75 billion and delivers nearly half the world's mail.

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