Residents of 22 buildings in East New York, Crown Heights and Bedford Stuyvesant are about to get free solar-powered WiFi under a new program that could be replicated across the city’s entire affordable housing stock.
Workforce Housing Group (WFHG), a New York-based affordable housing development organization, secured first-of-its-kind financing from the NY Green Bank (NYGB) to install solar panels on 18 of its affordable housing buildings. Our Here Comes Solar team helped develop and execute the solar strategy for these buildings.
The solar arrays will generate clean energy and the savings that creates will go towards repaying the $60 million loan and providing residents with WiFi at no cost.
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Americans who were horrified about the murder of George Floyd and protested police violence and over-policing of people of color throughout last summer breathed a collective sigh of relief when the jury in the Chauvin trial returned a verdict of “guilty” on all three counts on Tuesday. Mr. Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, wrote this moving tribute in the Washington Post that speaks to what so many are feeling: exhaustion, relief, a sense of history moving slowly forward. The verdict is historic and we hope it is a strong first step towards more even-handed and less racially motivated dispensation of justice in the United States.
But there is still much work to be done. Hours before the Chauvin verdict was announced, 16 year old M’Khia Bryant was shot and killed by police responding to a 911 call in Columbus, Ohio. And in December of last year, two other Black citizens died at the hands of Columbus police: Casey Goodson, Jr., 23, and Andre Hill, 47. Many others around the country, including Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile and so many others have had the justice they deserved deferred or denied. We must continue to remember their humanity, the pain of their loved ones in the face of their tragic and unnecessary deaths, and the value to our society that was lost with them.
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Want an in-depth look at how Solar One is working with the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Sustainability to solarize our public schools? Check out this article from Solstice.us that includes a great interview with Amy Colorado, the Green Design Lab’s Program manager fro K-12 Curriculum & Instruction.
“Learning about buildings and how buildings use energy – that’s what sustainability looks like in the city of New York,” Amy said. “I’m incredibly thankful to have entered Solar One to be able to teach environmentalism that is relevant to NYC and its residents.”
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Nothing is more certain than change, and over the past 2,000 years, civilizations that once dominated their regions have all but disappeared. But how much did climate change have to do with some of those collapses, as with Mayan civilization in Central America, or the Polynesians of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in the South Pacific?
Stories of collapse are often told as parables of what happens when humans wreck things (think Noah’s Ark). The public’s interest in environment-driven collapse picked up in 2005 with the publication of Jared Diamond’s book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Some took issue with the interpretations in the book. Take Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, the South Pacific island settled by Polynesians known for its monoliths of heads (actually, the rest of their bodies are underground). The book popularized the idea that the population crashed because the islanders slashed and burned all the trees — a cautionary tale on the perils of destroying the environment.
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The recent horrors in Texas, as millions went without electricity and water during a historic winter storm and cold snap, remind us of the ticking time bomb that is our nation’s aging infrastructure. In the early 20th century, we made bold investments in our infrastructure that powered our success, and our continued prosperity depends upon our ability to innovate and adapt. Yet we have failed to invest for decades, leading to the American Society of Civil Engineers consistently giving America’s infrastructure C-minus to D-plus marks.
As climate change brings more frequent and intense weather events, our infrastructure will continue to face challenges it was not built to withstand. The most vulnerable among us will suffer disproportionately. If this is to be a time of equitable renewal amid a global pandemic, then we must meet this once-in-a-generation opportunity to address our crumbling infrastructure, climate change and social equity with a natural solution.
A 21st-century infrastructure system should incorporate conventional approaches using rock, concrete and steel that are strategically designed to work with natural infrastructure. Imagine a concrete flood wall with an expansive reef and marsh in front of it. The wall provides flood protection benefits during storms but does little on a sunny day. In contrast, the reef and marsh system not only reduces the power of waves but also self-adjusts to rising seas, captures carbon, improves water quality, and provides places for us to hunt, fish and recreate.
Further inland, river floodplains, parks and greenspaces can serve as pressure relief valves to help protect downstream communities from flooding and pollution. When conventional engineering and Mother Nature join forces, our communities are protected by multiple lines of defense that generate a wide range of economic, environmental and social benefits.
You can read more on the Washington Post website here.