Postal Service Plants Second Green Roof
Sows New Seeds of Sustainability
June 28, 2012
SYRACUSE, NY — The U.S. Postal Service today celebrated another example of environmental leadership as local officials joined a ribbon-cutting to announce 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.
“The employees of the Albany district have contributed to the lowest waste costs in the country and the fewest tons of material sent to landfills,” said Phelan. “We take environmental stewardship very seriously and every office in the Albany district, which serves more than 3.5 million customers, participates in our recycling program, the success of which rates our district tops in the nation.”
In its 2011 Annual Sustainability Report the Postal Service announced a 7.4 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from a fiscal year 2008 baseline. The reduction of almost 985,000 metric tons of CO2 is equal to removing nearly 200,000 passenger vehicles from the road for a year.
USPS also helps customers calculate and reduce their own carbon footprints. Visit usps.com/green and the usps green newsroom to learn more about the Postal Service’s sustainability initiatives and the Go Green Forever stamps.
This year, the 2011 Annual Sustainability Report can also be found on Slideshare at:
The Postal Service has won numerous environmental honors, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WasteWise Partner of the Year award in 2010 and 2011, the EPA’s National Partnership for Environmental Priorities award in 2011 and the Climate Registry Gold award in 2011.
USPS participates in the International Post Corporation’s Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System, the global postal industry’s program to reduce its carbon footprint 20 percent by 2020 based on an FY 2008 baseline.