Residents from Jamaica, Richmond Hill and surrounding communities will participate in a city-wide energy efficiency program.
In an effort to reduce energy consumption on a block-by-block basis, the New York City Council has partnered with the Pratt Center for Community Development to bring free or low-cost energy upgrades to homeowners throughout the city.
After an initial pilot program in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the "Retrofit NYC Block by Block" program is bringing its organizing model to homeowners in Queens, specifically in Jamaica, Richmond Hill and surrounding neighborhoods. It will provide free energy audits and help homeowners access existing incentive programs to finance home retrofits, or upgrades that make homes more energy efficient. These upgrades include improved insulation, pipe wrapping, new windows and new heating systems.
The Pratt Center's Deirdre Lizio said the program has already been successful in bringing energy upgrades to neighborhoods in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. "They're reducing greenhouse gases, they're making their homes more comfortable. They're indentifying health and safety issues. It's not uncommon for an audit to expose a gas leak or a carbon monoxide leak."
The Pratt Center is tapping into block associations, houses of worship and local businesses to help spread the word about the campaign. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the initiative will save thousands of homes from $1,200 in energy costs per year.