From Anthrax to Allium: Views from a New York Postal Facility's Green Roof [Slide Show]
A climate scientist studying the cooling effects of various environmentally engineered roofing treatments recently led a tour of a large postal facility's green roof
Credits: Robin Lloyd
STUART GAFFIN Columbia University climate scientist Stuart Gaffin is involved in experiments at various green roofs throughout the New York area. New York has about 22 times the area of Central Park as roof space. "That is just roof space that right now is not being used at all and furthermore it is really abusive to our environment. It is being misused," he says, referring to the heat retention and water collection problems posed by conventional roofs.
© Robin Lloyd
JUNEBERRY TREES Several Juneberry or serviceberry trees, in the genus
Amelanchier, grow in raised beds on the green roof at the Morgan facility. © Robin Lloyd
CHIVES Chives, or
Allium schoenoprasum, native to North America and Europe, poke through in some of the beds. © Robin Lloyd
YARROW Yarrow, or
Achillea, which grows as a weed in the Northeast, among other areas, thrives on the roof at the Morgan facility. © Robin Lloyd Advertisement
URBAN WILDFLOWERS This wildflower,
Talinum calycinum, native primarily to parts of the U.S. Midwest and South, is sprinkled across the roof in various plots and is flowering despite the dry summer weather. © Robin Lloyd SEDUM CLOSE-UP A close-up of more of the various blends or mixes of Sedum on the roof of the Morgan Processing and Distribution Center in Manhattan. © Robin Lloyd
AUTUMN JOY One of the
Sedum types at the Morgan facility roof is called autumn joy, though it looks pretty happy in the summer here too. © Robin Lloyd
SEDUM The most common plants on the Morgan facility roof are a mix of 10 different types of Sedum, succulents that flower and are highly drought- and cold-tolerant. " You can plant them upside down and they'll grow. They are the toughest things I've ever seen. And that's what makes them wonderful," says Columbia University climate scientist Stuart Gaffin, who compares the water-storage and cooling effects of various types of roofs. © Robin Lloyd Advertisement
GOLDEN GRASSES The tall grasses at the Morgan facility green roof are "
Calamagrostis [x acutiflora] 'Karl Foerster'," says Angie Durham, green roof manager for Tecta America, the contractor that put in the green roof. © Robin Lloyd
EMPIRE STATE The Empire State Building is one of the city landmarks visible from the green roof atop the Morgan facility.
© Robin Lloyd
GREEN VISTAS The New York skyline crowns the edges of the extensive planted areas. Posted "green roof rules" advise visitors (the roof typically is open only to U.S. Postal Service employees) that the area is under security surveillance and to walk only on the boardwalk, refrain from smoking and place trash in receptacles.
© Robin Lloyd
POSTAL PARK The U.S. Postal Service's Morgan Processing and Distribution Center in Manhattan is the site of the largest green roof in Manhattan. At 65,000 square feet, some say it is the largest in New York City, but a green roof at Ikea in Brooklyn measures 70,000 square feet.
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