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Clean Air Communities
Press Release

This Press Release is also available as a PDF file.

Cindy Drucker, NESCAF/CAC, (617) 259-2000
Chris Olert, Con Edison, (212) 460-4111

Clean Air Communities Announces $1.75 Million State-of-the-Art Steam Energy System at Seward Park Housing Cooperative

Announces Issuance of New RFP to Award Additional $1.5 Million in Grants

June 4, 2003 (New York, NY) -- Operating like a purring kitten, a new steam energy system located in an underground vault at Seward Park Housing Cooperative quietly showcases energy efficiency at its finest. Through Clean Air Communities (CAC) -- a collaborative of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), Con Edison and Northeast States Clean Air Foundation (NESCAF) -- the $1.75 million steam conversion system will displace the consumption of approximately 1 million gallons of heavy fuel oil, resulting in the annual reduction of approximately 60 tons of air pollutants and 13,500 tons of carbon dioxide, the primary contributor to global warming. In addition, the new system will reduce fuel delivery truck traffic and diesel truck idling in the community.

Donald West, board member of Seward Park Housing Cooperative stated, "Rather than using heavy fuel oil to heat water and then create steam, we're now able to directly access Con Edison's excess steam that is the by-product of electricity generation. In effect, we're turning 'waste' steam into reliable, efficient and clean energy that provides significant air quality and energy efficiency benefits to Seward Park and the surrounding community."

Supplementing the changeover to the steam metering station, Seward Park Housing Cooperative signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the CAC project partners committing to a host of energy efficiency control measures that will reduce total energy demand while yielding a reasonable return on investment to Seward Park. Examples of such measures include the installation of networked controls and central monitoring, recycling of steam condensation, and more effective shut-off valves, traps, and heat recovery hardware.

Ashok Gupta, director of air and energy programs at NRDC stated, "This project demonstrates the enormous untapped potential for improving air quality through fuel switching and efficiency improvements. Applying this approach to similar systems throughout New York City would be great for the health of all New Yorkers, make us less dependent on imported oil and lower energy costs at the same time."

The new steam metering station displaces approximately 40% of the output from four local residual fuel oil burning boilers in Lower Manhattan with a centralized system that uses 50% natural gas in a significantly more efficient manner through the co-generation of electricity and steam. This conversion, together with Seward Park's energy efficiency initiatives, will eliminate 29.8 tons of sulfur dioxide, 23.1 tons of nitrogen oxides, 2.7 tons of carbon monoxide, 3.3 tons of particulate matter and 13, 521 tons of carbon dioxide annually in the lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan.

Referring to Seward Park's classification as a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC), Don West added, "Given the heightened sensitivities of elderly residents to the adverse health effects of air pollution, we are especially pleased to sponsor this project, which not only improves energy reliability to our 1720 apartments, but delivers significant and meaningful air quality benefits to the Seward Park community."

Kevin Burke, president of Con Edison, cited the leadership and partnership of Clean Air Communities. "All of us have a vested interest in ensuring that the air is healthy -- for us, our co-workers, our neighbors, friends and children. Public-private partnerships like this can make New York an even better place to live, neighborhood by neighborhood, and Con Edison is proud to play a role in these clean air projects," Burke said.

Ken Colburn, executive director of NESCAF and Clean Air Communities stated, "This project exemplifies Clean Air Communities' ultimate mission: to work in tandem with community groups, regulators and private sector entities to bring measurable and replicable air quality and energy efficiency projects to New York City's disenfranchised neighborhoods. On the heels of the Seward Park success, we are pleased to announce that Clean Air Communities will be issuing a Request for Proposals on June 16th that will ultimately award $1.5 million to fund new projects." Details of the new RFP will be posted on the CAC web site (www.cleanaircommunities.org) on June 16th.

With initial funding of $5 million donated by Con Edison in 2000, CAC has already awarded $3.5 million to implement seven community-based clean air and energy efficiency projects in New York City, ranging from an advanced truck stop electrification installation at Hunts Point Cooperative Market to a commercial rooftop solar system at Greenpoint Manufacturing Development Corporation (GMDC) to an emissions reduction project for construction equipment at the World Trade Center and Battery Park City. With matching funds, leveraged funding and in-kind contributions from project partners, the total value of CAC projects to date has exceeded $7 million.

© 2003-2009 Northeast States Center for a Clean Air Future (NESCCAF)