Pratt, Bronx Zoo Going Green for Earth Day

By Jill Colvin on April 21, 2012 2:42pm 

Vine crop student experts Karan Budhiraja and Aaron Philip show off tomato, peppers and peas at the opening of Manhattan School for Children's rooftop greenhouse.
Vine crop student experts Karan Budhiraja and Aaron Philip show off tomato, peppers and peas at the opening of Manhattan School for Children's rooftop greenhouse.
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DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht

MANHATTAN — The New School and the Bronx Zoo are going green in honor of Earth Day.

The two destinations are among 11 winners that will split $4.6 million in green infrastructure grant money for projects like installing green roofs, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Saturday, ahead of the international event.

The projects, which will cover nearly seven acres of surface combined, are part of an effort to reduce the amount of sewage that spews into New York's harbors when it rains.

Today during heavy storms, the city’s outdated sewage pipes often overflow, sending a mix of rainwater runoff and sewage into the waterways.

"New York City's waterways are a critical resource that we must preserve, and by investing in these impressive projects, we are committing to improving water quality and meeting our PlaNYC
sustainability goals," Bloomberg said in a statement.

"Through creative, cost-effective approaches, we can better manage our stormwater overflows
and the City is proud to have partnerships that make these solutions a priority," he said.

One of the grants will help fund the construction of a 13,542 square-foot green roof on top of the New School's new LEED-certified Gold University Center, which is currently under construction at 65 Fifth Avenue.

"Because our students pursue careers in sustainability management, environmental studies, and
'green' design, support for the Green Roof will resonate across campus,” New School President David Van Zandt said.

At the Bronx Zoo, the traditional asphalt pavement in the Asia Parking lot will be replaced with a porous material that will allow water to soak slowly into the ground, instead of immediately running off.

The zoo is also planning new signs to educate visitors about the importance of stormwater management.

At the Pratt Institute’s main campus in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, money will be used to build a new green roof over the North Hall building that will be planted with native species, as well as retrofit a parking lot with greenery.

A green roof at the Bronx Guild High School
A green roof at the Bronx Guild High School
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DNAinfo/Serena Solomon

Students and faculty will participate in designing, constructing and monitoring the projects, school President Thomas Schutte said.

Other winning projects include:

— The Ascension School on West 108th Street will build an educational green roof, planted with a wildflower meadow, raised fruits beds and a vegetable garden.

— The Natural Resources Defense Council headquarters on West 20th Street will build a green roof that will grow native plants, fruits and veggies, and include solar panels, beehives and a viewing platform for visitors.

 — The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, will build a series of “rain gardens” that collect rainwater from roofs and install permeable pavement near its entrance and rear driveway.

— That UA Local 1 Plumbers union will be installing a green roof over their headquarters in Queens.

The city hopes that efforts like the new installations can help reduce sewage overflow by more than 12 billion gallons a year by 2030.

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