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Retrofit Bedford Stuyvesant, Block by Block: 2009-2010 Summary Report
In 2009, the Pratt Center for Community Development and Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation teamed up to turn a stretch of Brooklyn's Herkimer street into a "model green block" for energy efficiency. Retrofit Bedford Stuyvesant used a block-by-block organizing model to compel property owners to take advantage of incentive programs and weatherize their homes.
The project provided incentives to homeowners to participate via free energy audits as well as visible upgrades to beautify the block in the form of street trees, graffiti removal, and improvements to the community garden. These projects were implemented by the NYC Justice Corps program of BSRC, which engages young people with criminal justice histories in job readiness, community-service learning, internships, and job placement.
In the pilot, Pratt’s Energy $mart Communities Coordinator conducted outreach and developed and materials in conjunction with BSRC to help homeowners access existing incentive programs to finance home retrofits. These include the Division of Housing and Community Renewal’s Weatherization Assistance Program; NYSERDA’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® and NYSERDA’s Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® programs, utility company incentives, Federal tax credits, and labor and materials from the NYC Justice Corps.
The Block by block approach is designed to:
- Make retrofits easy by packaging financial incentives and delivering retrofits to building owners’ doors;
- Target retrofits geographically to plug into social networks and lower the costs and time needed to do the work; and
- Train and employ neighborhood residents in weatherization work.
This report by Alexis Rourk Reyes assesses the results of the Retrofit Bedford-Stuyvesant Block by Block outreach and draws conclusions to inform the design of future community-based energy efficiency outreach programs.