Castle Hill Houses in the Bronx has recently turned 50 and it celebrated its Golden Anniversary with great pomp and show by winning the coveted Energy Project Award of the year. It will be hard to find a housing society in NY that has shown so much dedication into reducing their carbon footprint and making themselves less of a burden environmentally.
This prestigious award was given by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). The judging for the award was done on a regional basis and included several states. However, NYCHA’s energy management project was the only one that was chosen from among others presented by various housing authorities this year. To be considered for the award, the energy management project had to be in operation for at least six months. In addition, it also had to show substantial dip in the installation costs along with operating savings.
Castle Hill Houses were built in 1960 and after 5 decades of operation, it was felt that the original lighting and heating systems could do with major reworking and upgrading. It was decided to do something that would make financial sense over a period of time and also indicate the residents growing concern for environmental sustenance. Three major areas of improvements were identified – the climate controls, the boiler plant, and the lighting.
After a painstaking study of variety of plans and taking into account thousands of suggestion from experts as well as residents, innovative upgrades were installed, which not only have improved the quality of life for all residents but would also help save NYCHA millions of dollars. Highlights of this ambitious project include Wireless Energy Modules to monitor voltage, demand and temperature in each apartment and use of energy efficient lighting in the common areas of the buildings. And, not to forget, this project also provided jobs for the residents who worked in tandem with NYCHA’s Resident Employment Services program.
The Castle Hill project reflects the goals of PlaNYC, a plan created by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for the sustainability of New York City. So pleased was the Mayor with the achievements of the project he paid a personal visit to the site to encourage and congratulate the team on a spectacularly done job. Indeed, this collection of 14 buildings and some 2000+ apartments has set a path-breaking green trend for other New York housing societies to follow.