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Union Know-How Helping NYCHA Go Green

April 14, 2015
By Neal Tepel


New York, NY  – The largest energy savings program for any public housing authority in the country will begin in New York City. Through a series of competitive Energy Performance Contracts (EPC), over $100 million in work will occur across 300 NYCHA developments. 

Thousands of buildings will be upgraded to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Millions will be saved and over 500 union jobs created. The goal is an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“New York City must continue to set the pace when it comes to the bold climate action our cities and our planet need,” said Mayor de Blasio. “That’s why we’re the largest city in the world to commit to an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050 – beginning with a sweeping green buildings plan that includes the nation’s largest public housing energy savings program. The benefits of these upgrades will be measured in many ways: in a real reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, in tens of millions of dollars in savings for NYCHA, and in hundreds of good jobs created. This collaboration with HUD means a greener, more efficient future for NYCHA and millions more New Yorkers.”

Over the last ten years, NYCHA’s utility costs for water, electricity and heat have increased 64 percent from $350 million to $576 million, though consumption has increased just 9 percent during that time.

The energy-saving measures will include upgrades to heating plants and distribution systems, and installation of energy efficient lighting and apartment sensors. The heating-related upgrades will enable more reliable and efficient heating for NYCHA residents.

The first RFP for this initiative will seek an energy services company (ESCO) that can maximize both energy savings and cost savings across 89 properties housing 87,000 apartments – or approximately 50 percent of NYCHA’s public housing portfolio – representing over 200,000 residents. NYCHA’s annual utility cost for these 89 developments is almost $300 million.

The Energy Performance Contract will be subject to NYCHA’s recently negotiated Project Labor Agreement with the Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC) of Greater New York, as well as its affiliated unions. The PLA will result in both swifter capital repairs and access to union jobs and training for NYCHA residents.

“These funds are not only going to upgrade the buildings to make them more energy efficient and subsequently save millions of taxpayer dollars, but also create good union construction jobs and career opportunities for NYCHA residents, thanks to the project labor agreement between the BCTC and NYCHA.  I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio and HUD Secretary Castro for moving forward with this important initiative,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.

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