SOUTH 'GOES GREEN' WITH CFL KICK-OFF!
Residents are critical to NYCHA's green
initiative, said Board Member López. "You need
to switch it off."
The country's largest
public housing development, Queensbridge Houses, is
going green! On a surprisingly chilly April 21st-the day before Earth Day-the
New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), joined the Clinton Climate
Initiative (CCI), Citi (formerly Citibank), and the
energy-solution company Ameresco, to begin
installing 9,600 Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
in 1,600 apartments at Queensbridge South. It is
estimated that once all standard bulbs in the development's 3,142 apartments
are replaced with CFLs, electricity costs for Queensbridge alone will drop by over 17%, saving the
Housing Authority $367,000 annually, and cutting carbon dioxide emissions by
1,400 tons a year! That's the equivalent of taking 600 cars off the road.
Residents of all ages gathered in the interior courtyard of
the Jacob Riis
at the Long Island
City development to
hear the morning's speakers. Those speakers addressed the crowd from a stage
covered with AstroTurf, beneath a 35-foot-long cast
stone relief, entitled "Community Life." The relief was created by
an Italian immigrant, Cesare Stea,
in the 1940s under the Works Progress Administration Program.
"Since Queensbridge is the
largest development, utility costs are enormous," said Queens Borough
Director Carolyn Jasper, who served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the event.
"NYCHA must find new ways of conserving energy. CFLs
are the stepping stone for more energy-efficient projects."
Congress Member Carolyn Maloney reaffirmed her support for
public housing and green initiatives, focusing on current legislation to
require that all cars get 35 miles to the gallon by the year 2020.
Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott brought greetings from Mayor
Michael R. Bloomberg. "On behalf of the Mayor, I am here to compliment
NYCHA for its green initiatives," the Deputy Mayor said.
Queensbridge is the second NYCHA
development to benefit from a collaboration between
NYCHA and ReLightNY, a youth-run nonprofit
organization that seeks to educate and inspire people to live in
environmentally friendly ways by raising money to replace traditional light
bulbs with CFLs.
Citi's Community Relations
Director Eileen Auld noted that Citi was proud to
donate $20,000 to RelightNY for the bulbs, and has
its own ten-year, $50 billion commitment to reverse climate change.
"Ameresco is very excited
about this collaboration, not only to preserve the environment but to
preserve public housing and create jobs," said Ameresco
Executive Vice-President David Anderson. Ameresco,
one of the nation's leading energy-saving companies, is donating the labor
and also hired six Queensbridge residents for the
"green collar" jobs.
"The most important partner of all is each of you and
your families, who will lead by example," said Clinton Climate
Initiative (CCI) New York Representative Kathy Baczko.
The CCI is providing the Housing Authority with technical support for green
initiatives and is now working in over 40 cities around the world to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions.
That message was amplified by the final speaker of the
morning, Board Member Margarita López, who was
appointed by Chairman Tino Hernandez and Mayor
Michael R. Bloomberg last year to be NYCHA's Green
Coordinator. "Residents are critical to helping the Mayor fulfill his
dream of installing CFLs in every NYCHA
development. The CFLs will contribute to energy
savings but you must 'switch it off,'" she said, flicking the switch on
a portable panel of light bulbs, to emphasize the importance of turning off
lights when not in use. "It's that easy."
"This is an excellent opportunity, an excellent
idea," said Patricia Goodson, a 23-year resident of Queensbridge,
who was hired to install the bulbs. "People are really excited about
this," Ms. Goodson added, while checking her cell phone. "They keep
calling and asking, 'When are you coming to my building?'"