I realize it is a bit off-topic from my usual visual merchandising posts, but I had the privilege of attending a press tour of the Green roof of New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center during the NYNOW show and I want to share the unique experience with you. Many of our blog followers attend trade shows in this building, so knowing what goes on downstairs in the complex makes the upstairs even more of a fascinating contrast. I’m glad I took notes and a photographer!
Before heading to the roof, Tony Sclafani, senior vice president and chief communications officer told us about how the thousands of the Javits Center’s highly reflective glass panels were replaced with less reflective, pixilated glass panes outfitted with a bird-deterring dot pattern. The new glass helped to improve the building’s overall energy efficiency and has led to a staggering drop in bird strikes, which had been an issue and cause of some poor press coverage in the past. Not only is the Javits Center significantly less of a contributor to bird injuries and deaths, the building is now a bona fide haven for urban wildlife.
My first impression was how peaceful it is up there. Spanning nearly 7 acres, it is by far the largest green roof in New York City. Seventeen stories above Midtown Manhattan, the soil and plants of the roof absorb water from storms reducing run-off. Heating and cooling costs are down 25 percent.
The brown box is a kestrel box, installed to create a safer environment for American kestrels, which have been spotted on the top of the Javits Center. Kestrels are a bird species not usually found on green roofs in New York City. At least eleven species of birds have made the plant-covered roof their home. And bats, too.
14 types of sedum, flowering succulents grow in thick mats covering an area roughly equal to the size of five football fields.
The views are spectacular! I suspect the people living in those high rises enjoy the view of the green roof, as well.
More green roof area is planned for the next round of building renovations and will include a public accessible green terrace. So, if you are one of the more than 2 million visitors that attend the hundreds of events at the Javits Center, stay informed of the progress, so that you may have a future experience of the green roof, too!