Newsletter March 2022
Brooklyn Chamber Lunch & Learn
On March 9th the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and NYC 2030 District co-hosted a virtual Lunch & Learn: ‘Greening Brooklyn Small Business’. Chamber President & CEO Randy Peers welcomed the attendees and introduced Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, who voiced his commitment to addressing climate issues and supporting small business in his new administration. Haym Gross presented NYC2030’s collaborative program and the Heat/Cool Smart Brooklyn campaign funded by NYSERDA and sponsored by the BK BP’s Office. HCSB has engaged contractors and consultants who work with ConEd’s Small-Medium Business (SMB) Program.
A presentation by Donovan Gordon, NYSERDA’s Director of Clean Heating & Cooling outlined NY State’s Climate Act and the challenge we face in implementing the transition from fossil fuel heating systems to clean electric heat pump technology for heating and cooling as we expand renewable energy to decarbonize the grid. Melodine Williams, Project Manager of SMB programs at Willdan described the incentives available for energy efficiency solutions, clean heating, cooling, refrigeration and lighting retrofits for businesses. She presented the process of engaging an approved consultant and contractor and the importance of performing and documenting the retrofit work to meet the program standards.
Antuan Cannon of Willdan’s Clean Energy Academy expressed the critical need for skilled workers to produce the installations necessary for the clean energy transition. Workforce training classes and certifications for green technology trades are provided by the Clean Energy Academy and other organizations. Nikki Dube, Marketing and Outreach Specialist for ConEd promoted the attractive services such as free energy assessments and great subsidies for efficiency upgrades to commercial spaces. HCSB will work with BCC, the Borough President’s Office and our community partners to help customers across Brooklyn to retrofit their businesses and participate in Willdan and ConEd’s programs.
Please fill out a form on our website to sign up your business or commercial property: https://heybrooklyn.org/commercial/
HCSB Engages Small Coops for Green Retrofits
The HCSB team is working with small coops in Brooklyn to make the change to clean heating and cooling. We have signed our first multi-family property to engage a FlexTech (NYSERDA-approved energy expert) consultant to assess and guide the retrofit process. The 16-unit Park Slope cooperative is self managed and the shareholders want to reduce the property’s carbon footprint. As they consider replacing the existing gas boiler and performing energy efficiency measures, they are also interested in a Solar PV system. SC Engineers will consult with the coop to perform an energy assessment and produce a sustainability plan for clean heat conversion and other improvements. A capital improvement plan can then be developed taking into account the best sequence of improvements, available incentives and financing options.
The team recently made site visits to properties of 6, 8 and 24 units, each with different heating systems. These small to medium sized multi-family properties face challenges in addressing energy efficiency and mechanical system projects, and HCSB is working along with our partners to help. The site studies and planning work must be done in time for the buildings to make good energy choices, before an emergency like a boiler failure limits options.
Please fill out a form on our website to sign up your multi-family property: https://heybrooklyn.org/multifamily/
Clean Heat and Solar for Low-and-Moderate Income Households: Webinar
Heat Cool Smart Brooklyn sponsored a webinar with local agencies providing services to low- and moderate-income households to help make their homes more energy efficient. Al Lopez, principal of Green Team LI, a leading HCSB contractor, presented clean heat, domestic hot water, and building envelope technologies for residential buildings with 1-4 units. He also gave an overview of NYSERDA and Con Edison funded incentives and financing programs. Nellie Piranio and Cristal Brown of Sunset Park Redevelopment Committee, a local Weatherization Assistance Program agency, presented the funding and energy reduction services they provide to households with incomes under 60% of State median income.
Byron Todman of Neighborhood Housing Services of Brooklyn described their advisory, training and financial services offered to homeowners and renters designed to preserve housing and encourage the growth of heathy, stable and diverse neighborhoods. Finally, Robert McCool of Neighbors Helping Neighbors and Bruno Estrada of Solar One presented the Barrio Solar program that provides technical and financial support to households at or under 100% of median income to develop solar systems on their 1-4 family homes. The recording and slide deck are available on HeyBrooklyn.org.
Renewable Heat Now Legislative Package Update
Renewable Heat Now is a coalition of 17 organizations working towards an equitable transition to clean energy in all buildings. https://renewableheatnow.org/about/. Reducing use of fossils fuels in our buildings is essential to meeting New York State and City’s targets to reduce carbon emissions by 85% by 2050. While buildings emit one-third of New York State’s gas emissions, in New York City they emit 68%. Statewide, the Climate Action Council estimates 1-2 Million homes must convert to heat pumps or geothermal systems if New York is to reach its targets. Renewable Heat Now developed a legislative and budgetary agenda to address these needs:
Legislative Package Materials can be accessed here: https://renewableheatnow.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/RHN-legislative-package_final.pdf
Draft Scoping Plan for the Client Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA)
The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) was signed into law in 2019 as one of the most ambitious climate laws in the world. The law created the Climate Action Council (the Council), which is tasked with developing a draft scoping plan that serves as an initial framework for how the State will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net-zero emissions, increase renewable energy usage, and ensure climate justice. Public comments can be made until June 10, 2022.
Here is the link to read the document and comment https://climate.ny.gov/Our-Climate-Act/Draft-Scoping-Plan
The Climate Action Council will hold public hearings in New York City as follows:
Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 4pm: Bronx Community College, Hall of Fame Playhouse, Roscoe Student Center, 2155 University Avenue, Bronx, NY 10453
Tuesday, May 3, 2022, 4pm: NYC College of Technology, The Theater at City Tech, 285 Jay Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Additional information, including instructions for joining each event remotely to view the proceedings, will be made available prior to each event on the Climate Action Council Meetings and Events page.
New York City Budget Hearings
The NYC Council began preliminary budget hearings this month on Mayor Adam’s proposed $98.5 billion FY2023 budget. It contains a Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG) that requires across agency staffing reductions of 3,200 in 2022 and 7,000 in FY2023 through vacancy elimination. The PEG is injurious to agencies tasked with implementing NYC’s carbon reduction programs such as the Department of Buildings, (DOB) Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) among others. The budget hearing for DOB and HPD was held on March 14th. DOB faces 81 position cuts from the PEG but has been challenged to fill 421 existing vacancies, 20% of which are building inspectors and 11% plan examiners, positions critical to carrying out LL97. Salary levels not competitive with the private sector could be one reason for this difficulty. Agency representatives explained that DOB has been assigned many new tasks and initiatives, many carbon reduction related but faces a stagnant budget.
The dates for budget hearings for the following Committees are: Transportation and Infrastructure-March 16, Sanitation and Solid Waste-March 23 and Environmental Protection-March 25th. For more details go to: https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx
Barrio Solar: Affordable Solar for Brooklynites
Nonprofits Solar One, Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) and Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN) have partnered on Barrio Solar, a new solar campaign designed to support 1-4 family homeowners, particularly Low-Moderate Income (LMI) homeowners, in the direct acquisition of solar energy.
The campaign provides FREE technical assistance to individuals on solar basics, installation viability for their buildings, costs, savings, financing options, and the permitting and installation process– all of the guidance one needs to determine if solar is the right choice for their families. Interested homeowners are bundled together to achieve greater purchasing power and reduced installation costs. So ALL Brooklyn Homeowners are encouraged to submit an interest form. Homeowners that make less than 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI), for example family of 4 should make less than $143,160 a year, to be eligible for a $3,500 cash subsidy toward the cost of their solar installation, which can be used for related expenses like roof repairs or electrical system upgrades. This program is designed to support equitable access to the benefits of solar for all homeowners.
If you have any interest, to fill out a very brief form on: https://fifthave.org/affordable-solar/ or call 646-820-1301!
Virtual Webinar: Energy and Equity Talks
March 29th from 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Join the Tishman Center and the NYC 2030 District for a talk about the hows and whys of energy and equity in the NYC area. This event will feature speakers with expertise on building energy efficiency, residential solar energy and building science. The speakers will talk about their experiences in the field and how we can create more equitable outcomes for energy access. Speakers include:
Emily Baumbach, Senior Sustainability Consultant with Kinetic Communities Consulting (KC3)
José Tulio Gálvez Contreras, Solar Researcher / Program Manager with Here Comes Solar, Solar One
Richard Leigh, Visiting Professor of Physics, Pratt Institute
The panel will be moderated by Mike Harrington, Assistant Director at the Tishman Environment and Design Center.
Feeling greenspiration? Join us for a lively and interesting webinar series on building electrification!
|Join Regional HeatSmart Teams, Renewable Heat Now, community partners, and special guests for a lively and interesting webinar series on building electrification.We’re kicking off the series on St. Paddy’s day with a presentation on induction cooking by chef Rupert Spies of Ithaca and a cooking demonstration by sustainable fishmonger Sasha Bernstein Skon of Tarrytown who will be frying up some Guinness Battered Pollock. (scroll down for the recipe).|
|Spring Webinar Series Schedule-All events are at 7 pm|
March 17 – Induction Cooking Presentation and Cooking Demo
March 31 – Heat Pump 101: The Dos and Don’ts of Making the Switch
April 14 – Heat Pumps for All – Benefits for Low-to-Moderate Income
April 28 – Energy Efficiency: Comfort and Savings at Home
May 12 – Don’t get left out in the cold: Get Heat Pump Ready
May 26 – Getting to Scale: Welcome to the GeoGrid