The Community Environmental Center (CEC) was founded in 1994 by President & CEO Richard Cherry, and is the parent company of Solar One and Build It Green! NYC.  Continue reading our interview with Rick below to learn more about their work in weatherization and sustainability!

What is CEC?
RC: Since 1994, the not-for-profit Community Environmental Center (CEC) has been a leader in the burgeoning energy-efficiency field, providing energy-conservation services for new and existing buildings and advocating green living and working conditions, especially for the neediest among us.

CEC believes that the climate crisis is the determining circumstance of our time and that addressing the environmental impact of energy use is fundamental to CEC’s overall goal: establishing the environmental health of New York City. With dedication to the betterment of people’s lives, the skill acquired from nearly twenty years of practical experience making buildings energy efficient, and commitment to environmentally sound public policy, CEC strives daily to achieve that goal.

Rick Cherry, CEC President

How do CEC and Solar One work together? 

RC: CEC founded Solar One in 2003, to teach about the interdependence of buildings, human beings and the natural world. From the beginning, Solar One has been the heart of CEC’s educational program, bringing knowledge about the environment to people of all ages; offering hands-on sustainability workshops and training sessions; and illuminating the worlds of energy-conservation and sustainable design, the ecology of rivers and parks, and even ecological art.

What is the most exciting thing CEC is working on right now in its many programs? 

RC: Hard to choose. The Weatherization Innovation Pilot Program (WIPP) is very exciting, because this energy efficiency and conservation program, administered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), has granted CEC $3 million to explore innovations in whole-house weatherization, to increase the energy efficiency, health and safety of buildings for low-income families. But dear to my heart is CEC’s EcoHouse, a traveling environmental education exhibit that resembles a house on wheels and will go to neighborhoods all over the city, so that youngsters, their families and teachers can have a hands-on experience of what it means to live in an eco-friendly house.

How is CEC playing a role in realizing New York City’s sustainability goals? 

RC: CEC is 100% behind PlaNYC, the plan to build a greener, greater New York by 2030.

Along those lines CEC is helping Solar One raise funds for Solar 2, so that a net-zero, environmental education center can rise along the Manhattan side of the East River. Here at CEC, for the 3rd year in a row, we are organizing the painting of one million more square feet of NYC rooftop, for the NYC CoolRoofs Program. In addition to putting WIPP into action, we continue to provide weatherization under New York State’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), and we have received a $3 million HUD grant to implement, study and monitor the effects of energy retrofits on affordable housing – a program model for the rest of the country. All of these projects contribute to the continued greening of our great city, and the preservation of the all-too-fragile earth on which we depend.