St. Mary’s Recreation Center gets green fix

St. Mary’s Recreation Center gets green fix
The green plant systems on the roof of St. Mary’s Recreation Center, pictured, helps retain most of the rainwater in a one-inch downpour. The white, reflective rooftop does not absorb sunlight, reducing the need for cooling in warm weather.
Photo by Patrick Rocchio

This Mott Haven green oasis is getting greener.

St. Mary’s Recreation Center in St. Mary’s Park has received $1.38 million in improvements to make the fun times more energy efficient ones.

Students from P.S. 230 and P.S. 161 shut off a symbolic power switch outside the center on Friday, May 18, illustrating the power that will be saved at the city’s oldest recreation center by a number of improvements to make the building at 450 St. Anns Avenue in the park more energy efficient.

On hand to highlight an example of the steps Parks took to becoming a more sustainable agency Kavanagh, Department of Citywide Administrative Services Chief Energy Management Officer Ariella Maron, New York Power Authority vice-president Paul Belnick, and

“When it opened in 1951, St. Mary’s Recreation Center was the first indoor recreation facility in New York City,” said Parks Department first deputy commissioner Liam Kavanagh. “Thanks to our partners at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and New York Power Authority, it is now the first to receive a green retrofit – including energy-efficient lights and pool motors, and an insulated pool cover – that will both help the environment and save taxpayers money. With these improvements, Parks’ recreation centers will not only make the city a healthier and happier place to live, but a greener and cleaner one as well.”

The project was managed by Department of Citywide Administrative Services, implemented by the New York Power Authority, and funded through PlaNYC.

The renovations also include new energy efficient lighting and lighting controls, replacing defective steam traps in the heating system, a motorized pool cover to reduce evaporation and water heating needs, and the installation of a new vestibule at a front entrance, said Ebong Daniel Ukpang, New York Power Authority project manager.

The gym and pool areas also have lighting shut on and off by light sensors to make best use of sunlight, said Parks chief of citywide operations and technical services Artie Rollins.

Annual greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced by 406 metric tons, according to Parks, when all of the work is completed.

“Each component has a payback,” Rollins said. “We can save $80,000 to $100,000 a year in energy costs.”

The renovations at the center are part of the Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative making public buildings more sustainable, Rollins said. St. Mary’s is the first recreation center in the city to undergo the energy efficient enhancements, Ukpang said.

The next phase at the center, in late 2012, includes a solar thermal system on the roof to supply hot water. The center already has reflective white coating on its roof to naturally cool the building, Rollins said.

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