Earlier this week, a few of us from the ANIMAL news room took a break from the internet to volunteer for NYC Cool Roofs, a collaborative environmental effort between NYC Service and the NYC Department of Buildings.

The NYC °CoolRoofs environmental initiative aims “to promote and facilitate the cooling of New York City’s rooftops” by simply coating them with white paint. According to their website, flat, black asphalt roofs can reach temperatures up to 190 degrees.

Painting it white can reduce inside temperatures by 30%, decreases the overall heat island effect and increases the longevity of a roof since it doesn’t expand and contract as much once a more reflective surface is applied.

Erin Congdon, the Outreach Coordinator for the program, assigned us to a 14,000 square foot rooftop in East Williamsburg that was expressly being used to grow food and raise bees. The workday ran from 9AM to 3PM with mandatory water and sunscreen breaks. Luckily, it was a fairly overcast day. They even bought us pizza.

Despite the fact that we were painting a hot roof, the day went surprisingly fast. We had fun! If you want to get involved, they’re always accepting volunteers.

(Photos: Bucky Turco/ANIMALNewYork)