New York: Weatherizing Westbeth Reduces Energy Consumption

Project Overview
Positive Impact: Project provides energy savings and the improved health and safety of the residents within the building.
Locations: New York
Partners: New York State Homes and Community Renewal Division,Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, Association for Energy Affordability, Weatherization Assistance Program
EERE Investment: $2.9 million in Recovery Act funds and $550,000 leveraged from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority 
Clean Energy Sector: Energy-saving homes, buildings, and manufacturingPDF

The New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) initiated a weatherization project on a Westbeth Artists Housing complex—home to almost 400 low- and middle-income artists from a variety of artistic disciplines—in New York City’s West Village. The Westbeth complex is on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a New York City Landmark in 2011.  Professionals in the area of historic preservation are often concerned with their ability to simultaneously make worthwhile energy-efficiency investments and preserve the historic designation of the buildings. However, after an initial audit was performed by the Association for Energy Affordability, which provided heating and ventilation specifications and construction oversight, it was determined that weatherization services could begin on the Westbeth complex.

The weatherization efforts are expected to reduce energy consumption by more than 40% annually. Upgrades to the facility include replacing the 40-year-old steam heating plant with high efficiency, dual-fuel hot water boilers and controls, and converting parts of the existing distribution system from steam to hot water. Other improvements include installing roof insulation and high efficiency lighting, air sealing, and upgrading the ventilation system. Residents of the housing complex also received energy-efficient ENERGY STAR® refrigerators. Along with energy savings, the project has improved the health and safety of the residents within the building and brings the housing complex into compliance with city requirements to burn cleaner heating fuels. Westbeth continues to support the repair and maintenance of its buildings. In June 2012, Westbeth announced a loan agreement with Signature Bank to finance the long-term maintenance and rehabilitation of its aging properties and infrastructure.

The visibility of this project gave HCR the opportunity to illustrate how effective energy rehabilitation can be on historic buildings. On June 14, 2012, a ribbon-cutting celebrated the completion of the Westbeth weatherization project. 

The Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office (WIP) provides funding and technical assistance to its partners in state and local governments, Indian tribes, and international agencies to facilitate the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

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