Volume 75, Number 41 | March 1 -7 2006

Green project wants a block to make energy efficient

A public forum will be held on Mon. March 6 on a proposal called Greening a Block, a model project to mitigate pollution from the expansion of the E. 14th St. Con Edison plant. The project — which is designed to “promote community health and environmental and economic sustainability through energy efficiency” — seeks to convert the buildings on one East Village street to use less fuel and emit fewer emissions.

The estimated $3.8 million project would be roughly 60 percent funded by $2.3 million in mitigation money Con Ed put aside four years ago to forestall a community lawsuit against the plant’s planned expansion. Under the terms of the settlement, the money can either be used by Con Edison to burn gas instead of oil in its E. 14th St. plant on a temporary basis or Community Board 3 can decide to fund an alternative project to reduce air pollution around the plant.

The Greening a Block proposal is a joint effort of Charles Komanoff, a Tribeca-based energy economist; Jeff Perlman, a consultant on renewable energy and energy efficiency; and Lois Sturm of the Neighborhood Energy Network, who have done feasibility study on the project. Ways to reduce energy use and emissions would be buying new energy-efficient refrigerators for apartments, sealing cracks in walls, adding fluorescent light bulbs and installing foliage-laden green roofs, among others.

The block the project would target — if the residents accept it — hasn’t been selected yet, according to Komanoff and Perlman, but neighborhood response has been very positive so far at community presentations.

The project has been put on the agenda of the C.B. 3 Public Safety and Transportation Committee’s March 21 meeting and, if approved then, would next go before the full C.B. 3 board on March 28 for a vote. If C.B. 3 approves the project, it would be put out to bid to hire a project manager.

At the Mon. March 6 forum, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at P.S. 34 at 730 E. 12th St. (between Avenues C and D), in the auditorium, the proposal will be presented and audience questions will be answered. For more information, visit greeningablock.org.

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