Blog Action Day: What are We doing about Climate Change?

Posted on 10/15/2009 by The Bridge

As a human service and housing provider, we are concerned, not only with the cost of providing housing, treatment and vocational services, but also with the quality of life of our clients – and climate change affects all of the above.

The Coalition for the Homeless reports this week that there are more than 39,000 homeless people and 10,000 homeless families in New York City shelters each night. New construction programs are well underway to meet this high demand, and we have taken an extra initiative with the help of Community Environmental Center (CEC) to make these new buildings, green buildings. We are working with CEC to install green elements from the initial design including energy efficient elevators, Energy Star equipment and windows, energy efficient lighting, irrigation and rain water collection, native plants, use of green building materials for floors, cabinets, low or zero VOC paints and adhesives. In addition to their help, Enterprise Green Communities program has granted The Bridge $21,000 to help in the green design of a new residence, Bridge Gardens.

Our efforts don’t stop at new construction; we are also retrofitting 5 existing buildings that house clients and serve as program sites. Since 2008, The EME Group, an environmental engineering firm, has been w
orking with us to transform our outdated buildings into energy efficient structures.

During this process it has been encouraging to receive funds from both federal and state governments that have supported the high up-front costs to make these changes. The federal government through its stimulus funding is offering tax credits and putting more money into retrofitting certain types of low income housing. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through its Multifamily Performance Program, is providing incentive funding based on saving 20% in energy costs to put in new windows, provide energy efficient lighting, purchase Energy Star refrigerators and other equipment, etc. We are currently working with CEC to apply NYSERDA. Another funding source is the Weatherization Program for low-income tenants which provides financial assistance for new windows, insulation, etc. These funds are made available through the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) on a matching basis, and the good news is that the federal stimulus bill has increased the amount of money being made available for this program.

As we continue to combat climate change with retrofitting and creating new housing, the higher up-front costs still remain a concern. Even though there are substantial future savings with green designing through decreasing operating costs for fuel and water, government agencies that provide capital funding for special needs housing have not yet routinely supported the expensive costs of these green projects. This issue needs to be addressed at all levels of government.

Nonetheless, The Bridge acknowledges the dangerous consequences associated with climate change and we will continue to implement our green housing initiatives to make the world a safer place for future generations.
Cartoon Source: Unknown Source

Dr. Peter Beitchman
Executive Director

Carole Gordon
Director of Housing Development

Blog Action Day 2009 | Climate Change

One Day. One Issue. Thousands of Voices.

No Response to "Blog Action Day: What are We doing about Climate Change?"

Leave A Reply