Harlem Community Development Corp. (CDC) has spent the last of its federal stimulus dollars for the Weatherization Assistance Program to provide brighter, tighter, greener and more cost-efficient housing for Harlem residents.
Harlem CDC’s Weatherization Assistance Program provides services to make older buildings in Harlem more energy efficient and comfortable for residents, whether they are renters or apartment owners. It also provides grants and technical assistance to retrofit residential buildings.
While Harlem CDC and other local weatherization agencies get an annual appropriation for residential energy retrofits, all weatherization agencies received a major bump under the stimulus program launched in President Barack Obama’s first year in office.
Working with Harlem Greenfit Management, a community-based project management and financial advisory firm that works with Harlem apartment building owners to identify energy savings opportunities, Harlem CDC used its last stimulus dollars to perform energy efficiency and quality-of-life improvement work at 1890 and 1990 Lexington Ave., which are managed by Urban American Management.
“While there are a number of programs out there to help building owners pay for energy efficiency projects, this project was especially important because it utilized expiring stimulus dollars for deserving buildings where residents will enjoy improved health, safety, greater comfort and more,” said David Davenport of Harlem Greenfit Management.
1890 and 1990 Lexington Ave. are two of several buildings in Harlem managed by Urban American Management that are undergoing deep energy retrofits to achieve energy savings to help preserve the affordability of the housing. The first round of measures, funded in part by the owner with grant support from the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, included measures to encourage reduced electric consumption, save water and improve building system efficiencies, such as timers on exhaust fans to limit the exhaust of warm air in the winter and cooled air in the summer.
The second round of measures at 1890 Lexington Ave., which were funded by Urban American Management with grant support by Harlem CDC, included the installation of new windows, new common area and apartment lighting, new higher efficiency boilers and new refrigerators.
The next phase of measures at 1990 Lexington Avenue, being funded by Urban American Management and Harlem CDC, includes new windows.
To date, Urban American Management has spent millions of dollars on energy efficiency retrofits, including windows, boilers and more efficient lighting in over 4,000 units of workforce housing in Harlem.
“All of our energy reduction efforts, including submetering, should eliminate more than 10 million pounds of CO2 emissions and other harmful greenhouse gasses. It will be equivalent to taking more than 900 hundred cars off the road,” said Joshua S. Eisenberg, a principal at Urban American Management and the director of its sustainability efforts.
Projects like these represent a “win-win-win-win” for Harlem CDC, the owner, residents and local businesses. Harlem CDC wins by efficiently leveraging federal resources with state resources and owner resources to achieve superior energy savings and building staff capacity through working with large, scalable buildings, meeting critical stimulus funding deadlines.
The owner wins by leveraging scarce private capital with government resources, reducing operating costs and generating savings that help maintain the affordability of their housing. Residents win by enjoying building-wide improvements, new appliances in their apartments, health and safety upgrades and reduced monthly energy costs. Local MBE businesses win by getting contracts to do the work at Davis-Bacon prevailing wages on the projects.
“Harlem is a vibrant community, a neighborhood in the truest sense of the word. The Harlem Community Development Corporation and its Weatherization Assistance Team have been leaders within our community, bringing home millions in federal, state and private funding to the village of Harlem. Their work has improved living conditions, addressed environmental health concerns and ultimately saved residents thousands of hard-earned dollars in heating and cooling bills,” said Assemblyman Keith Wright, chairman of Harlem CDC.
“I applaud the Harlem Community Development Corporation, Harlem Greenfit Management, our local MBE contractors and the building owners who are working hard to improve environmental sustainability to better the lives of thousands throughout Harlem. Together, we must continue our work to expand these kinds of projects throughout our neighborhoods.”
“Projects like these will improve the health of the community, improve the environment, generate savings that help preserve the affordability of housing and create jobs for local workers and savings for residents,” said Davenport.
“We need more public and private resources focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in the community so that more buildings, residents and workers can benefit,” he said. “This is the way we create value for everyone with the resources and assets that we have in the community.”