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JetBlue keeps its cool by painting LIC white

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It may be JetBlue, but the airline company is helping to paint Long Island City white.

Last month JetBlue participated in New York City Service’s Cool Roofs program. On June 23, JetBlue crew members helped to paint the roof of the Community Environmental Center at 43-10 11th St., said Jina Rauscher, manager of corporate responsibility at JetBlue.

JetBlue plans to paint three more roofs as part of this project. The next will be the Noguchi Museum at 901 33rd Road. The other two roofs are still being finalized.

“It is a very important area to us,” Rauscher said of volunteering in Long Island City, where the company plans to move its headquarters to in 2012 from Forest Hills. “We’ll be working with NYC Service to find a lot of opportunities here.”

New York City’s Cool Roofs program is a part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 initiative, which began in 2007. Under the program, many black or dark-colored roofs across the city will be painted white so long as they are made of granule, smooth asphalt, EPDM Rubber or smooth aluminum . According the NYC Service’s website, painting a roof white can reduce its temperature by 30 degrees, which will reduce heat damage to roofs and require the building to need less power to cool. This can lower a company’s energy costs, decrease smog and eventually collectively reduce the entire temperature of the city.

“A lot of them [our members] were very excited about the Cool Roofs project,” Rauscher said.

He said JetBlue heard about the project as part of the company’s sponsorship of the 2010 Conference on Volunteering and Service.

Like many involved in the conference, JetBlue participated in the project as a volunteer effort leading up to the conference, which was June 28 to 30.

“Through that opportunity we were offered several [projects] to support, and Cool Roofs was one of those projects,” she said.

Rauscher said the painting of the center lasted 5 1/2 hours.

“We did two coats in total, so the roof was complete,” she said.

The company’s participation in the Cool Roofs project is part of the company’s larger Jetting to Green initiative, in which the company is identifying areas of opportunity to be more environmentally friendly around the country.

“That’s a call to action not only to our crew members but also to our customers,” said Alison Croyle, spokeswoman for JetBlue.

Rauscher said JetBlue will also roll out a formal volunteer program soon.

“Service is really important to us,” she said. “Service is the core of our project.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 6:14 pm, October 10, 2011
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