Green Roof Among USPS Initiatives

he Colvin-Elmwood Post Office, near Syracuse, NY, has gone green…literally…on its roof.  The second postal service location to do so in the area, this post office, in cooperation with Onondaga County’s Save the Rain initiative, is building a 11,300 square-foot green roof.”    SECOND INITIATIVE  “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 Onondaga County on our second green roof, which will help the Postal Service conserve water and energy in the Syracuse metropolitan area.”  The green roof will consist of a new membrane, layers of drainage sheet, mat, separation fabric, indigenous vegetation and a wind blanket.  According to the postal service, the green roof also addresses practical concerns:  • LIFE EXPECTANCY. Its expected lifespan is up to 50 years, twice as long as the roof it will replace.  • CONTAMINANT REDUCTION. In addition, it will reduce the amount of contaminants in storm water runoff flowing into Syracuse’s municipal water system.  • ENERGY REDUCTION. According to 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 BIG PICTURE  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.    LOWEST WASTE COSTS  “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. (To view the report, go to:    For info: