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The Surdna Foundation helped to organize a day in the field for White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Nancy Sutley to see the models being developed at the city and state level in New York to accelerate energy efficiency, job creation, and household and business cost reduction through large-scale retrofitting.  Chair Sutley, accompanied by CEQ staff, visited New York City on January 15, 2010, to learn from the experiences and successes of practitioners on the ground.  Her day included:

  • a tour of the Mason Tenders' Training Center, a green jobs training site in Long Island City that houses the Laborers' International Union of North America's (LIUNA) Weatherization Training Program - a skills-based program that prepares workers for retrofitting homes and helps connect them to jobs in the field;
  • a stakeholder lunch conversation that brought together key groups and agencies - community organizations, labor, state energy administrators, financial institutions, city policy makers, and environmental justice organizations - to discuss the collaborations that are already working in New York State and New York City retrofit efforts and the next steps to scaling up retrofits and making them an instrument of economic change nationally;
  • a tour of West 135th Street Apartments, a Section 8-assisted complex that recently received the first award announced under the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) new Green Retrofit Program for Multifamily Housing, through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds - a $3.6-million grant to Jonathan Rose Companies to increase the energy efficiency of the building's 198 units; and
  • a conversation on the ways that philanthropy and the Administration can drive large-scale energy efficiency retrofits across the country.

CEQ is interested in this work as part of Chair Sutley's efforts to lead the Administration's work on Recovery through Retrofit, a program that has developed recommendations to expand the market of energy retrofits in American homes and businesses and grow green job opportunities.  With almost 130 million homes in the US, responsible for more than 20 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions, the opportunity to make them up to 40 percent more efficient through retrofits will lower greenhouse gas emissions as well as save Americans money on their power bills.  CEQ brought back valuable models of success from its conversations in New York, which will inform its ongoing exploration of retrofits at a national scale.  During her visit, Chair Sutley discussed the fact that a robust home energy efficiency sector is an important part of realizing President Obama's vision of a clean energy economy.

Chair Sutley views hands-on teaching tools, including a multi-layered residential wall replica, at the Mason Tenders' Training Center in Long Island City.



After describing their training program and classes, two current students at the Training Center present Chair Sutley with an inscribed hard hat - and a second hat to be given to President Obama.
A range of stakeholders from community organizing, environmental justice, labor, finance, philanthropy, and city and state government discuss their lessons learned from experience on the ground with Nancy Sutley and the CEQ team.
CEQ staff views the new HUD-funded energy efficiency retrofit work that Jonathan Rose Companies is beginning at West 135th Street Apartments, a mixed-income housing site in Harlem.


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