|Greening A Block||An urban showcase of energy efficiency, pollution reduction, job development and community sustainability.|
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ABOUT THE PROJECT
Greening A Block will focus on a single city block (or the two facing sides along adjacent streets)
to demonstrate the gains in air quality, public health and economics possible through
community-based energy-efficiency measures because a single block:
Primary Elements of the Project
Other Air Quality Improvement Measures to be Considered:
Financial Strategy Development:
Con Edison / East River Project Settlement Fund
In 2002, as part of a settlement permitting it to expand electricity production at the East River Power Plant, Con Edison set aside $3.75 million for environmental mitigation projects. Most of this fund has been earmarked to subsidize Con Edison’s purchases of cleaner natural gas to displace fuel oil burned in older East River boilers during the fall and winter heating season.1 The environmental benefits of this expenditure will disappear once the fund is spent.
Fortunately, the settlement provides that the monies may be used for other purposes that “relate to local air quality improvement, health improvement, or amenities programs in the vicinity of the East River [Power Plant] Complex.” 2 We believe that our Comprehensive Energy Target Zone proposal provides a compelling alternative to the natural gas displacement plan.
Our intent is to leverage the settlement fund money to maximize investments in energy efficiency. The exact mechanisms for funding the projects will be worked out in the feasibility study, in conjunction with NYSERDA and others with experience in energy project financing. We will leverage all available state, federal and other funding sources in addition to the settlement fund money. Our goal is to minimize the costs to the tenants and landlords, thereby maximizing participation and avoiding Major Capital Improvement (MCI) claims by landlords.
Based on a preliminary analysis, we believe our demonstration project can deliver these benefits:
Using a preliminary model for a sample block near the East River power plant, we estimate that the air quality improvement from Greening A Block will far exceed the likely improvement from the natural gas purchase plan.3 Furthermore, we expect this demonstration project to serve as both a model and a catalyst for follow-on projects covering much of Community Board 3. The enactment of follow-on projects will see CB3 and all of NYC benefiting from cleaner air through improved energy efficiency for many years to come. Contrast this to the transient air quality improvement from burning up the settlement fund in Con Ed’s boilers over just several years.
1 One million dollars from the fund has been committed to installing smokestack nozzles to increase the “exit velocity” of exhaust gases from the East River Plant, and to connect a handful of large apartment buildings to the Con Ed steam system.
2 From Section VI.E.7 of the Settlement. Download it here.
3 Particulate matter (soot) in the air on the Lower East Side averages 15,000 nanograms per cubic meter over the course of the year. The Con Ed “gas burn” alternative would reduce this by 20 nanograms for four years, assuming that is the period over which the funds are drawn down, at Village East Towers, several blocks from the East River plant. The Energy Target Zone project would reduce particulates by eight as much, 165 nanograms, on the model block, and this reduction would persist over the lifetimes of the energy-saving measures. If the savings persist as we expect, the pollution reduction from the energy efficiency project will be at least a dozen times greater than the reduction from the Con Ed gas burn.
2005, Greening A Block