Project Will Expand Hands-On Energy-Efficiency Training, Partnership Includes Habitat for Humanity and YouthBuild
February 27, 2013
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced a $143,000 award funded through New York State’s Green Jobs - Green New York to Northeast Parent & Child Society to renovate a home at 209 N. Brandywine, Schenectady, into a “lab house” for hands-on energy efficiency training. Training will be targeted to at-risk and low- and moderate-income young adults between 18 and 24, college students and adults.
Lab houses, also known as pressure houses, are built and outfitted so the entire house becomes a building-science laboratory, demonstrating energy loss issues and other problems faced by those working in energy efficiency fields.
The lab house in Schenectady is one of five such facilities being developed across New York State with NYSERDA funding to increase regional access to hands-on field training and testing facilities that prepare energy efficiency workers for certifications. The other NYSERDA-supported lab houses are located in Queens, Plattsburgh, Ulster County and on Long Island.
Northeast Parent & Child Society purchased the home last month and plans to complete renovations by the end of May and open the facility for training on June 1. The home is adjacent to an old firehouse that will serve as headquarters for the organization’s Home Energy Connection program.
Development of the Schenectady lab house will include Habitat for Humanity and YouthBuild members in Albany, Schenectady and Troy. A total of 1,425 individuals are expected to be trained at the house during its first three years of operation.
“This lab house will benefit everyone who lives and works in the Capital Region and beyond,” said Dr. Peter F. Stoll, Chief Strategy Officer for Northern Rivers Family Services, parent company of Northeast Parent & Child Society. “The young men and women who advance their careers here will help us all as we build a cleaner, greener, more energy-efficient community.”
Northeast Parent & Child is providing more than $70,000 of “in-kind” labor and equipment from Habitat for Humanity and YouthBuild. In addition to the $143,000 award, NYSERDA has also provided $204,000 in federal stimulus funds for the purchase of equipment to support energy efficiency training at both Northeast Parent & Child’s current training center and at the new lab house.
“As the Capital Region’s cleantech economy expands, energy efficiency training programs like the one at Northeast Parent & Child are critical to ensuring there is a qualified workforce to support the growing demand of the clean-energy industry,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA. “This innovative lab house project adds strong hands-on work experience, which gives job applicants a step up when applying for jobs. In addition, it supports Governor Cuomo’s commitment to giving young adults in our urban areas the skills and the opportunity to build a career.”
Both sides of the two-family home will be used for training, with one side remaining as-is to demonstrate a typical home in need of energy efficiency improvements and the other side featuring new energy-efficient appliances, windows, doors, furnace and hot water tank to demonstrate opportunities for efficiency gains. Space in the basement and attic will also be used for demonstrations and hands-on practice.
Habitat for Humanity will renovate the two-family home, including removal of one wall and construction of two classrooms.
“Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County, Inc. and Northeast Parent & Child Society have partnered on numerous affordable housing projects in Schenectady since 2009,” said Anne Rockwood, Construction Manager at Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County. “Helping to make the new NYSERDA lab house a reality is an exciting opportunity for Habitat to learn more about the building science needed to rehab Schenectady’s existing housing stock into energy-efficient, affordable housing.”
Among the groups to be targeted for training are young women on public assistance with dependent children. Outreach to this group will take place in collaboration with organizations such as the federal Women, Infants and Children program (WIC), the YWCA, Girls Inc. and day care centers.
Much of the work at the house will be done by Habitat for Humanity volunteers and YouthBuild Schenectady members. The latter will be paid through the U.S. Department of Labor YouthBuild funds.
Northeast Parent & Child Society provides a full array of residential, special education, family foster care, children’s mental health, family preservation, and career development programs. Over the past 124 years, it has helped more than 100,000 children and families build better futures. Its dedicated staff is over 600 people strong, annually serving 7,000 people from its 35-county service area in New York State. For more information, please visit www.neparentchild.org.
NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.