Model Block Takes 'Cool' Approach to Making Manhattan Green

Go Green Lower East Side recently launched the "Model Block" initiative. Their most recent accomplishment provided 16 residents of the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association with free energy-efficient refrigerators.

By Jessica Fiur, News Editor

New York—Manhattan’s Lower East Side is taking a “cool” approach to going green. Go Green Lower East Side recently launched the “Model Block” initiative to green a whole city block. And their most recent accomplishment, along with Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer, Fourth Arts Block, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Solar One, provided 16 residents of the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association with free energy-efficient refrigerators to reduce energy costs.

The residents of Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association, an affordable housing community, were enrolled in NYSERDA’s EmPower New York program. Through the program, they will be receiving upgraded appliances, lighting and other sustainability improvements. Queens-based nonprofit Community Environmental Center will also be providing upgraded appliances.

“NYSERDA’s EmPower New York program helps low-income residents reduce their use of electricity, improve the efficiency of their heating systems and increase the comfort of their homes,” Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO of NYSERDA, said in a press statement. “The use of EmPower New York services in this Cooper Square project will make a real difference in people’s lives and would not have been possible without close collaboration of many organizations, including energy efficiency contractors and community organizations.”

Residents enrolled in the Model Block program will also receive weatherization treatment and a new boiler from the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation.

The Model Block program started with upgrading refrigerators because this is the most expensive appliance to operate in the kitchen; additionally, refrigerators end up using the most energy. By replacing the older refrigerators with Energy Star models, residents could save up to $200 a year and use 20 percent less energy, according to NYSERDA.

“I am proud that Go Green Lower East Side is taking such a giant step forward today by providing residents with free, energy-efficient refrigerators as part of our Model Block Initiative,” Stringer said in a press statement. “This is exactly the kind of responsible, forward-thinking advance that can take place when residents, city and stage agencies, businesses and community groups work together and implement programs to build a greener, more sustainable New York City, one block at a time.”

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