Historic NYC Building Undergoes Green Makeover

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Keeping in line with the U.S. Postal Service’s goal to turn over a new, green leaf, the largest green roof in New York City was recently completed.

Found atop the Morgan mail processing building, a 2.2 million-square-foot facility, the green roof spans nearly 2.5 acres and overlooks Midtown Manhattan.

Fourteen Ipe Brazilian wood benches made from Forest Stewardship Council sustainable certified lumber are found among native plants and trees, including Calamagrostis grass on the roof.

Photo: Flickr/Pro-Zak

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

“The Morgan green roof is the largest in New York and one of the largest in the country,” said Sam Pulcrano, vice president of Sustainability with the Postal Service. “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 Postal Service is aiming to reduce its energy usage by utilizing more energy efficient equipment, alternative energy delivery vehicles and green building practices.

The Morgan mail processing facility, a historic landmark, was originally constructed in 1933. The roof was designed to hold 200 pounds per square foot, should the need arise for more mail processing space. In 2007, in lieu of a standard roof replacement, it was approved to support the weight of soil and vegetation for a green roof.

Benefits of the green roof include a 50-year lifetime and a large reduction in storm water runoff contaminants. It is estimated that the roof will save the Postal Service $30,000 each year with reduced heating and cooling costs.

Turner Construction Company was responsible for the project. In addition to the roof, Turner also improved the energy efficiency of the interior seventh and eight floors of the Morgan mail processing facility.

As the nation’s largest green builder, Turner has completed or is in the process of working on 142 projects that are registered with the U.S. Green Building Council. Turner has also completed 82 LEED-certified projects.

The Morgan green roof is only a fraction of the Postal Service’s greener facilities strategy. They are opting to use renewable materials, energy efficient lighting and HVAC, low-water use fixtures, green computing and recycling, with plans for a LEED-certified facility to open soon in Long Island.

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