Energy-efficient options for low-income New Yorkers
by Andrew Shilling
Nov 05, 2013 | 1125 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pictured from left to right are Richard Cherry, Gregory Watson, assistant commissioner of the state Homes and Community Renewal, Charvey Gonzalez, aide to State Senator Martin Dilan, and Evelyn Cruz.
Pictured from left to right are Richard Cherry, Gregory Watson, assistant commissioner of the state Homes and Community Renewal, Charvey Gonzalez, aide to State Senator Martin Dilan, and Evelyn Cruz.
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CEC hosts insulation demonstration at El Puente.
CEC hosts insulation demonstration at El Puente.
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CEC founder and president Richard Cherry.
CEC founder and president Richard Cherry.
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With energy efficiency at the forefront heading into the winter months in many communities, residents in underserved communities are often left out when it comes to conservation efforts.

Through an innovative method of injecting hollow walls with fire-retardant cellulose made of recycled newspapers and boric acid for insulation, the Community Environment Center (CEC) has developed an efficient way of cutting energy bills.

Richard Cherry, founder and president of CEC, spent the day at an insulation installation demonstration at the El Puente Bushwick Leadership Center at 311 Central Ave.

“When we come to your house, it’s really like we put a blanket around your house,” Cherry explained. “It makes you feel cozy inside. The draft stops, it’s warmer and I know when we did it in my house my wife and I had trouble staying awake it was so nice.”

He noted that homeowners who do not take advantage of the service, which is state funded by way of the U.S. Department of Energy, should use caution when selecting a private insulation contractor for their home.

“In the walls, when it’s a closed wall, you could get cheated easily because they don’t fill the wall all the way up,” Cherry warned.

Evelyn Cruz, congressional aide to Congresswoman Nydia Valázquez, explained the importance of low-income families taking advantage of the services provided through the CEC.

“Through the energy audit program, it is possible that a household family can save about $400 a year,” Cruz said. “That is important when you think about the kind of savings you can really get out of weatherizing your home.”

Cruz added that while the CEC has secured $18 million for weatherization services in Brooklyn and over $8 million in Queens between 2012 and 2013, the current program is constantly threatened by proposed cuts from the national government.

The CEC is a parent company of Build it Green!NYC, a program that reutilizes discarded building materials, and Solar One, a leading innovator in environmental education programs.

“This program does work, and what the CEC does is so critical because it goes out, does the outreach and also educates the public,” Cruz added.

Frances Lucerna, executive director of El Puente, said she was happy to partner with the CEC once again for a community outreach and to inform the underserved population of Brooklyn and Queens about the services provided through the program.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to extend our reach and provide this type of alternative energy efficiency workshop to the Bushwick community,” Lucerna said.

Esteban Duran, a representative of El Puente, said that his community, in particular, is in desperate need of ways to cut the cost of energy bills.

“We have people whose homes are over 100 years old, and they have insulation that’s very old,” Duran said. “Now we have new technologies that exist to be able to assist them.”

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