Going Greener One Building at a Time

(Norwalk, CT) — Creating greener neighborhoods one building at a time! On Thursday April 27th, a solar panel installation kick-off was held at 80 Fair Street in Norwalk, New Neighborhood’s (NNI) 57-unit multi-family apartment building. The event was hosted by GRID Alternatives, America’s largest nonprofit solar installer.

The project, financed by the Connecticut Green Bank, is one of the first of its kind in the state, and will provide over $360,000 in lifetime energy cost savings. It also includes energy efficiency education for residents and hands-on solar workforce training for local job trainees and community college students. Event volunteers were provided by Wells Fargo Bank.

Ben Healey, Director of Clean Energy Finance at CT Green Bank and board member of GRID Alternatives Tri-state said, “In terms of Connecticut, we think that this partnership with Grid Alternatives and NNI is a model that we can use across all kinds of affordable multi-family housing to demonstrate that we can get this done; that we can deliver these kinds of beautiful projects to diverse communities, and really deliver on the promise of clean energy,.”

80 Fair Street is the second building to “go green” at NNI; the first being Samuel’s Court, New Neighborhood’s property in Danbury.

“We’ve been monitoring our energy usage now for over 7 years and maintain on-going online monitoring of all of our properties. We have seen dramatic savings, and of course anything we save allows us to put even more into our tenant services and into improving our properties in other ways,” stated NNI Construction and Asset Manager, Cathleen Miller.

A blended community of NNI team members, 80 Fair Street tenants, GRID alternatives, Wells Fargo volunteers, along with CT Green Bank enjoyed a tour of the facility, which included a demonstration of the solar installation operation and strapped on hard hats to take a closer look at the panels on the roof. A lunch was shared on the Fair Street patio which was followed by a series of speakers.

Speakers included Peter Mandelstam, Executive Director of GRID Alternatives Tri-State; Brian Garcia, President and CEO of CT Green Bank; Miguel Vargas, District Manager at Wells Fargo; Cathleen Miller, Construction and Asset Manager and Ross Burkhart, Former NNI President and CEO.

Once construction is complete, there will be an inspection of the installation and interconnection. The building is expected to begin using the solar energy system by the end of May.

Andrell Yarbrough, Director of Operations at NNI stated, “We had so much fun from beginning till the end.  It was like being with old friends, even though we all just met. We know what a huge effort it took to make this first CT GRID/Green Bank partnership so successful. Thanks again to all of the people who were involved in putting together this wonderful event.”