$1.2 million project will dramatically improve living conditions for families in Steamboat Square
October 21, 2022
New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) President and CEO Doreen M. Harris today announced joint funding of more than $1.2 million dollars for a model energy efficiency project at Steamboat Square, an Albany Housing Authority (AHA) residential complex in the South End neighborhood of Albany. The South End is a disadvantaged community, a designation created by the Climate Act and defined by the Climate Justice Task Force, which means the community is made up primarily of low- and middle-income households who face hardship. disparate public health, environmental pollution and climate issues. impact of change.
The project is a model of the cost savings and environmental benefits associated with retrofitting large multi-family buildings with rigorous, state-of-the-art energy conservation measures. The project also includes a “greening initiative” to bring new natural spaces to the Steamboat Square community, reduce air pollution and mitigate extreme heat.
“Far too often, low-income communities and communities of color are unfairly burdened with more expensive and less comfortable homes due to a lack of investment in new energy- and cost-efficient technologies,” said Attorney General James. “With this revolutionary project, we are improving the conditions and quality of life for families in Steamboat Square. I am grateful to our partners at NYSERDA and the Albany Housing Authority for working with my office to protect the health and well-being of New Yorkers.
“The Steamboat Square project exemplifies what can be done to provide energy-efficient, comfortable and healthy homes for New York families living in historically underserved communities as we work diligently to meet Governor Hochul’s goal of two million climate-friendly homes by 2030.” said Doreen M. Harris, CEO and President, NYSERDA. “NYSERDA is proud to partner with New York Attorney General James in this endeavor and we look forward to continuing to support efforts like this to help build vibrant and inclusive communities across New York State. ”
“The Albany Housing Authority works hard every day to improve the quality of life and comfort for our residents. Investing in cost-effective and energy-efficient technologies will transform the well-being of families in Steamboat Square,” said Chiquita D’Arbeau, Executive Director, Albany Housing Authority. “We must continue to pursue green initiatives in historically underserved communities as we look forward to a more sustainable future. I commend Attorney General James and NYSERDA for their partnership and efforts in bringing this initiative to fruition. »
The project is part of revitalization efforts for Steamboat 20, an 88-unit high-rise building in the Steamboat Square complex. The funding will support the purchase and installation of geothermal heat pump systems and other efficiency improvements, including exterior wall and roof insulation, air sealing and installation of heat recovery ventilation and thermostats. This work will be supervised by NYSERDA.
These improvements are expected to save at least 40% energy and reduce pollution due to climate change. At the same time, investments in Steamboat Square will significantly improve resident comfort by providing each apartment with air conditioning and giving each unit control of its own temperature settings, among other benefits. Additional funding of $91,000 will be used for urban greening measures recommended in the October 2019 Albany South End Community Air Quality Study from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) , and may include the planting of trees and other vegetation and the establishment of living walls, green roofs and plant barriers. These measures will improve air quality, reduce local heat islands and improve the natural environment and the well-being of residents of Steamboat Square and the wider South End neighborhood. This work will be implemented by AHA. Funding for this project is provided by NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program, National Grid’s New York State Clean Heat program, and a 2005 settlement the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) obtained against the Ohio Edison Company. The OAG and NYSERDA have since successfully used these funds to implement a larger statewide green and affordable housing project.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
“DEC is committed to improving environmental justice communities across the state and it is exciting to see this funding for the South End neighborhood of Albany,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “DEC’s Air Quality Study recommendations to coordinate community housing improvements with air quality and greenhouse gas reduction goals were driven by science and community contribution, both of which will be critical to achieving our national climate justice goals. I commend Attorney General James and NYSERDA Chairman Harris for these investments. “I commend Attorney General Letitia James and NYSERDA for partnering with the Albany Housing Authority and for this investment to both improve the quality of life in Steamboat Square and fight climate change,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “This initiative, along with the multi-phase renovation of Steamboat Square, will help ensure that residents of Albany’s South Neighborhood have state-of-the-art homes they can be proud of and that we mitigate our impact on the environment.
“The $1.2 million improvement and investment for the Steamboat Square project shows how our Attorney General Letitia James is working for our most disadvantaged residents,” said Albany City Council Speaker Corey Ellis. “The Attorney General working with NYSERDA will improve energy efficiency for Steamboat Square residents. Attorney General James continues to give a strong voice to those who are sometimes left behind when it comes to new energy investments. Thanks to Letitia James and NYSERDA for being a partner in our Albany community.
“The transition to clean energy must be fair, just and affordable and the Steamboat Square project is an important step in this process which invests cutting-edge technologies in the environmental and social justice communities”, said Rudy Wynter, President of New York, National Grid. “Reducing energy consumption through energy efficiency is an important pillar of National Grid’s clean energy vision, and demonstrating it in this community breaks down a significant barrier as we strive to leave no side community in the energy transition.”
“This project is part of AVillage’s mission to prioritize and amplify the voices and needs of marginalized communities,” said Tabetha Wilson, Chairman of the Board, AVillage, Inc. “Working hard to mitigate the effects of systemic oppression, pollution and blight is a key aspect of improving the health and well-being of South End residents.”
“Our work is rooted in the social determinants of health. This project will change the paradigm for residents who live with a concentration of health disparities, food apartheid, lack of amenities, such as pharmacies, proximity, and a concentration of polluters,” said Eva Bass, Executive Director, AVillage, Inc.. “As we move towards a sustainable future and a new economy of green jobs, we want to walk in step with the community and include them at the forefront of these projects.”
This case is being handled for the OAG by Special Counsel Stephen M. Nagle under the supervision of Environmental Protection Office Chief Lemuel M. Srolovic. The Environmental Protection Bureau is part of the Social Justice Division, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux and overseen by Senior Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.