The roof of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City’s largest convention center, has gone from black to green. Plant and wildlife now cover the seven-acre roof of the convention center.
Much of the convention center’s piping and ductwork has been replaced with plants and wildlife. Traditional ductwork can have cooling losses as high as 40%. Since the installment of soil and shrubbery, which absorb sunlight, the Javits Center has seen its heating and cooling costs reduce by 25%.
In total, the convention center’s total energy consumption is projected to decrease by 26% due to the renovations. In addition, the new greenery is expected to prevent about 6.8 million gallons of run-off storm water every year.
Renovations of the convention center’s roof began back in 2009, and construction continued until 2014. This included the replacement of opaque glass, which makes it difficult for birds to recognize when they are about to fly into a window.
“We were the biggest killer of birds in New York City,” commented Javits Center CEO Alan Steel during an interview with CBS. Since the installation of greenery on the roof, 11 species of birds have been spotted living making a home, and bird collisions have decreased by 90%.
At night, the lights of the convention center are switched off during bird migration seasons to prevent the disruption of animal sleeping patterns.
The roof is only part of the five-year, $460 million renovation that is planned. The renovations will include the construction of a 110,000 square-foot exhibit hall, installation of over 100 energy-efficient HVAC units, energy-efficient lighting, and recycling containers.
Steel hopes that the convention center’s attempts to go green will catch on to other buildings in New York. He states, “The lessons we learn here can be taken and applied to the roof of every other building you look at in this city.”