BY: ROB HOFFMAN
In Manhattan’s original beatnik neighbourhood of Greenwich Village, New York City public school, PS 41, has developed a rooftop garden and solar panel setup spanning 15,000 square feet.
Photo by Carla Brown
Vicki Sando, a parent of one of the schools’ students, founded PS 41’s original garden in 2003, and the solar roof in 2013 after four years of researching the logistics of the instalment.
Photo by Carla Brown
By the summer of 2016, 24 other schools will follow in the footsteps of PS 41, installing solar panels and rooftop gardens—giving students the opportunity to gain hands on experience in one of America’s most rapidly growing industries. Sando elaborates on Capital New York “For solar panels, we’ll talk about energy. We made connections between plant study. Plants are little solar cells. I had my fifth graders take apart a solar calculator and show them how it worked.” So far, NYC has forked out $23 million for the solar panel initiative, with installation currently taking place at Staten Island’s PS 69.
Sando, who has since become a science teacher at the school, claims the original intent of the roof was to forge environmental awareness among the young students of PS 41.Unfortunately, the panels do not yet serve a practical purpose past education, as they are not connected to the city’s energy grid. Still, Sando believes the green solar roof is a critical tool in educating an emerging generation on the importance of sustainability, especially in conjunction with the ever-rising concerns of climate change.
“If they don’t have that interest or exposure to our environment, they’re in trouble. I mean, we already are in trouble right now. You want to present it so they’re not scared, but you want to empower them.”
Looking to maintain its image as one of the world’s most innovative and culturally relevant cities, we can look forward to seeing an increase of funding for green projects in NYC over the coming decades.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Photo: Megan Westervelt