NEW YORK – October 17, 2017 – Solar One, a non profit organization whose mission is to provide education and resources that create more sustainable and resilient urban environments, the New York Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), and Council Member Dan Garodnick participated in a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony for Solar One’s Environmental Education Center. The groundbreaking took place at FDR Drive and the East River at 23rd St. The new building will provide education and services and help to make the five boroughs more resilient and prepared for future weather events and disruptions to the grid.
NYCEDC is overseeing the development of the project for the Environmental Education Center and has retained Gilbane as the construction manager. Gilbane has retained BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group to design and construct the building. This project was made possible in part by Council Member Dan Garodnick, who allocated significant funding towards its completion.
“Recent record breaking hurricanes in the Caribbean have devastated Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands and exposed the fragility of energy infrastructure and grid preparedness,” said Chris Collins, Executive Director of Solar One. “New York City experienced similar grid disruption during Superstorm Sandy and Solar One was able to provide power for a week before the grid came back online. The new Education Center will enable Solar One to expand its education programs and our solar and battery storage program to help New Yorkers learn about the importance of building a resilient city.”
As a replacement for Solar1, the new Environmental Education Center will support Solar One’s programs including the Green Design Lab and Clean Tech K-12 Education Program, Workforce Training Program and the Here Comes Solar Program. The building will also enable Solar One to expand their outdoor summer programming, which includes solar powered film, dance and music festivals. It will also serve as an anchor for the care and maintenance of Stuyvesant Cove Park. Built along the East River the building will be raised to meet waterfront zoning standards and will feature photovoltaic solar and battery storage and will be a net zero energy building.
“If you want to see the future of sustainability, look no further than the banks of the East River in Manhattan,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “Right in Stuyvesant Cove Park, Solar One’s new Environmental Education Center will stand at the cutting edge of energy efficiency and resilient design. It will be an incredible, unique asset for East Siders and all New Yorkers and I am proud to have played a role in making this project a reality.”
“As the effects of climate change become increasingly apparent, building a resilient city is a critical part of strengthening New York’s economy in the face of an ever-changing future,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “We’re thrilled to be working with Council Member Garodnick and Solar One to create a beautiful, sustainable new home for the city’s first resiliency education center right here on the East River waterfront.”
Existing and former elected officials in support of Solar One’s new Environmental Education Center include:
Carolyn Maloney, Congresswoman
Bill de Blasio, Mayor
Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City Council Speaker
Dan Garodnick, City Council Member
Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President
Scott Stringer, NYC Comptroller
Brad Hoylman, New York State Senator
Brian Kavanagh, New York State Assemblyman
Tom Duane, Former New York State Senator
Christine Quinn, Former New York City Council Speaker
Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Partner, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group
Cecil House, Senior Project Executive, Gilbane
In addition to funding from the City of New York through the Mayor’s Office, the City Council and the Manhattan Borough President, major capital support was provided by The Kresge Foundation, Geoff and Sara Gund, The 11th Hour Project of The Schmidt Family Foundation, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust and the J.C. Kellogg Foundation.
Sources: Solar One www.solar1.org, New York City Economic Development Corporation, Council Member Dan Garodnick, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group