The U.S. Postal Service has dedicated New York City's largest green roof high atop the Morgan mail processing facility (West 28th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues).
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 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 Brazilian ipe 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.