FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Council of the City of New York
Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22
January 30, 2019
Contact: Terence Cullen
Constantinides, de Blasio administration Announce Solar Panels on Six Council District 22 Schools
Move Reflects Citywide Commitment to Reduce Its Dependence on Fossil Fuels to Significantly Decrease Carbon Emissions in the Next 30 Years
Astoria, N.Y. — Council Member Costa Constantinides joined with members of the de Blasio administration, educators, and Astoria community leaders today to announce solar panels will be installed at six Council District 22 schools within the next two years.
“I am thrilled that western Queens will have enriched students who breathe cleaner air in greener schools because of these solar panels,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection. “I want to thank SCA President Grillo, DCAS Commissioner Camilo, Speaker Johnson and Borough President Katz for their partnership to make our district a better place. Students will be able to see how renewable energy directly improves their daily lives, empowering these future leaders to understands the needs of powering a City in the 21st Century.”
“Climate change is real and it won’t wait. We have to confront it and deal with it now. My agency, the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), gives City agencies the resources they need to provide the best possible services to the public. Sustainability—along with equity and effective government—is a core DCAS value. We are very proud to provide funding for solar panels on the rooftops of the four public schools in Council Member Constantinides’ district in Queens. As a result of this and our larger energy management program, we are helping to cut the City’s carbon footprint, in line with Mayor de Blasio’s goal to slash greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, we are helping the kids in those schools learn about climate change, and we’re all taking another step together toward preventing it,” said DCAS Commissioner Lisette Camilo.
“The time to protect our environment and combat climate change is now. As we continue to fight for policies that are environmentally friendly and push for cleaner air for all, installing solar panels in schools will improve our environment and allow schools to use the money they save on electric bills on supplies for our students. I am glad Council Member Constantinides and I were able to allocate funds for this school solar panel initiative,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
Constantinides, Grillo, and Camilo made the announcement at I.S. 141 — The Steinway School, which will receive solar panels later this year thanks to an allocation from DCAS. They were joined by Vanessa William, Principal of I.S. 141; Alexander Angueira, Principal of I.S. 126; Anna Aprea, Principal of P.S. 122; Florence Koulouris, district manager of Community Board 1, Queens; and members of the Department of Education’s Division of School Facilities.
Along with its the allocation to I.S. 141, DCAS also funded panels at P.S. 151, Junior High School 10, and I.S. 126. Constantinides and Speaker Johnson allocated the funds for P.S. 171 in Astoria; Borough President Melinda Katz and Constantinides secured money for solar panels at P.S. 122. SCA will install the solar panels on school rooftops over the next two years, with work expected to begin this summer. Each school will have a monitor that shows how much renewable energy is created as well as the share of greenhouse gases emissions not emitted and how much fossil fuels were not burned at the location. I.S. 141 — The Steinway School is estimated to save 31 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year, which is equal to powering 3.9 million smartphones.
New York City is committed to a 1-gigawatt solar capacity by 2030, which is enough energy to power 250,000 homes, and has more than quadrupled its infrastructure since 2014. Clean, renewable energy is vital to the Big Apple’s historic goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 80% from their 2005 levels by 2050. Part of this ambitious effort is to install solar panels on more than 100 New York City schools in the coming years.
Phasing out dirty fossil fuels in favor of less expensive renewable energy not only improves air quality, but reduces operational costs for schools. Powering K-12 schools is the second-highest cost nationwide for the education industry, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Significant energy reductions can free up funds for other crucial needs for these schools — as well as higher education institutions.
“I want to applaud and thank Council Member Constantinides and the City officials who are making this bold step possible,” said Assembly Member Aravella Simotas. “Anything that can be done to make our air cleaner in western Queens should be done for the sake of all who live and work here. But beyond the immediate goals of improved air quality, this project will help to teach our children that the climate crisis is real and that using renewable energy can mitigate global warming.”
“Zone 126 is proud to be joining Councilman Constantinides along with Superintendent Composto on this momentous occasion,” said Anthony Lopez, Executive Director of Zone 126. “Increasing the number of solar panels that will be installed in our districts schools is a smart long-term investment. We look forward to seeing our Zone 126 Neighborhood Community Schools PS 171Q, IS 126Q, and Long Island City High School get these upgrades, for a greener tomorrow.’
Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the Chair of the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on the For-Hire Vehicles, Land Use, Parks, and Transportation Committees and the Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.
The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) provides value-added and effective shared services to support the operations of New York City government. Its commitment to equity, effectiveness, and sustainability guides its work with City agencies on recruiting, hiring, and training employees; providing facilities management for 55 public buildings; acquiring, selling, and leasing City property; purchasing more than $1 billion in supplies and equipment each year; and implementing conservation and safety programs throughout the City’s facilities and vehicle fleet.