PS 41 Green Roof

Greenwich Village, Manhattan

Long shot view of the PS 41 green roof
Credit: Photos © Charles De Vaivre

Sat, October 16th, 2021

11:00am — 3:00pm

PS 41’s 15,000-square-foot sedum and native plant green roof is the first of its kind on a New York City public school. Since its opening, students of all grade levels have benefited from this outdoor learning space: from Kindergarten “listening walk” tours to first-grade insect research projects, second-grade engineering investigations and skyline drawing in art, to upper-grade green roof STEM model-making projects. This outdoor classroom has also been vital for the well-being of students and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the completion of the green roof and other major renovation work in 2013, according to Energy Star Portfolio Manager, PS 41 has seen a 35.30% decrease in total greenhouse gas emissions and a 35.30% reduction in the energy consumed on-site. The school has Building Energy Efficiency Rating “A.”

In addition to reducing the school’s energy usage, the green roof is advantageous for decreasing stormwater runoff because of its absorptive capacity and expansive surface. The 9,000 square feet of vegetation can sequester roughly 182,250 gallons of stormwater annually. This quality is particularly beneficial during a significant rain event when NYC’s wastewater treatment plants are overburdened and release pollutants into the City’s waterways.

PS 41’s green roof has also become a critical wildlife habitat for native and migratory birds and insects. A wide variety of birds including red-tailed hawks, kestrels, and migrating yellow warblers, have been observed throughout the school year. The insect population is also robust, and the school has planted milkweed and other native plants to aid the declining monarch butterfly population. The school’s proximity to several NYC parks creates a pathway of connected habitats that allows wildlife to travel throughout the City.

Converting a fraction of the NYC DOE’s 1,300 school building rooftops to green spaces would positively impact students and the surrounding community and substantially help New York City achieve its OneNYC2050 climate goals.

The tour will be led by educator Vicki Sando, see bio below.

There is no elevator access and the roof is five flights up a stairway. No bathrooms nor access to any other parts of the school building.

The health and safety of our community is paramount. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination with ID and a mask is required for ALL in-person experiences. See guidelines:

Vicki Sando is an educational green roof consultant, Green STEM curriculum developer, educator, and author. She founded the award-winning GELL Project, a Green Roof Environmental Literacy Laboratory at PS 41 – the Greenwich Village School in New York City, and has represented the project in numerous media outlets.

Murphy, Burnham & Buttrick

Michael Yoken