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Brooklyn Daily Eagle


Red Hook Industrial Company To Have First Green Roof Under New Initiative

By: Sam Kestenbaum

July 2, 2008

RED HOOK — “Considering today’s energy costs, the Green Roof Project is timely and appropriate,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez.

Velázquez was speaking Tuesday in Red Hook on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy’s announced support for the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Corporation’s (SBIDC) “Green Roof Project.” Velázquez presented a check for $250,000 to the Josh Keller, executive director of the SBIDC, which is spearheading the green roof initiative, an effort to replace black tar roofs with living, “vegetated roofs.”

These green roofs offer a great opportunity for energy conservation, Velázquez said. “And the beauty of this first building in Red Hook is that it shows the role an industrial company can play in energy conservation.”

The rooftop of Linda Tool & Die Corp. at 123 Dwight St. will be the first green roof in this initiative and the first green roof on a commercial building in Brooklyn.

By absorbing rainfall, these vegetated roofs will prevent storm runoff and sewer flooding, in turn reducing pollution in the Harbor Estuary.

The green roofs will also reduce heat reflections, which contribute to the greenhouse effect and global warming.

The blacktop roof at 123 Dwight St. will be replaced with a six-inch bed of specially engineered soil, growing knee-high native plants.

The Gaia Institute, an environmental group, will provide this synthetic soil, a mixture of recycled styrofoam, pectin and compost.

A doctor from Columbia University, Dr. Stuart R. Gaffin, who is an adviser in this initiative, said “The square footage of roofs in the New York area is between 10 and 20 times that of Central Park. If these were all to become green roofs, exciting things would happen.”

But this is all far into the future. When the group stood on the 300-square-foot roof in Red Hook, nothing looked very green — it was still sticky, hot, black tar.

“We should begin work within two weeks,” Dr. Paul Mankiewicz of the Gaia Institute told the Eagle yesterday. “We’ve been planning this for three, four, five years — a long time. Now that we have support, things should begin to move quickly.”