La MaMa Roof Goes White to Stay Cool

Volunteers coat the roof of the La MaMa theater in reflective white paint. Photos from the White Roof Project’s Facebook page.

While last week’s rain brought relief from the scorching heat, the La MaMa Theater underwent a change that should keep it cooler for the long haul. On Wednesday,  June 18th, the theater’s roof acquired a white paint job that will block the sun’s rays and reduce the buildings’ need to consume electricity for cooling purposes. The project was a collaboration between La MaMa, neighboring creative non-profit Fourth Arts Block and the White Roof Project, a group that paints building roofs a solar-reflective shade in order to reduce energy consumption. “Cool roof” supply companies Allied Building Products and Great White Coatings pitched in materials for the event, and volunteers went to work with brushes and rollers.

The famed theater, located at 74 East 4th Street, falls within an area that Borough President Scott Stringer and an alliance of not-for-profit organizations called Go Green Lower East Side have designated a “model block.” According to White Roof Project executive director Heather B. James, the model block, which runs on East 3rd and East 4th streets between 2nd Avenue and the Bowery, is “a program of environmental sustainability that is designed to showcase a single block in New York City by implementing sound environmental practices that help residents save money while being responsible citizens.”

The  initiative began last summer, when member groups of Go Green Lower East Side, including Fourth Arts Block and the White Roof Project, joined forces to paint the roofs of 20 buildings owned by the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association, turning more than 35,000 square feet of rooftop white in the process. According to White Roof Project’s website, a reflective roof can cut a building’s energy bill by 40%, and the results are even better when several adjacent buildings go white together. More photos of the La MaMa project below: