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Global Green USA Collaborates with IKEA US and NYC Parks to Launch 'Solar For Sandy' Initiative, Increase Resiliency of New York Community

Solar for Sandy’ Install at Red Hook Recreation Center Brings Back-Up Solar Power to Brooklyn Community Devastated by Hurricane Sandy; Project Marks One-Year Anniversary of Superstorm

NEW YORK (OCTOBER 23, 2013) - Global Green USA today announced that NYC Parks’ Red Hook Recreation Center in Brooklyn is the first official beneficiary of its ‘Solar For Sandy’ resiliency initiative. Designed to bring bring grid-tied, back-up solar energy systems to five or more community facilities that serve urban areas hit hardest by the superstorm, the ‘Solar for Sandy’ initiative was announced last June at the Clinton Global Initiative America. Global Green’s inaugural ‘Solar For Sandy’ installation will take place in collaboration with lead funder IKEA, the world’s largest home furnishings retailer, which has a store just a few blocks from the recreation center and with support from the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation.

“For more than a decade, Global Green USA has been on the ground, bringing together partners committed to helping disaster-struck communities rebuild resiliently,” said Mary Luevano, Director of Policy & Legislative Affairs for Global Green USA, speaking in front of an audience at the community celebration of the project at Red Hook Recreation Center. The national environmental organization was recognized by TIME Magazine for its work in New Orleans post-Katrina and it has brought a similar catalytic, post-disaster recovery model to the ‘Solar For Sandy’ program.

"We congratulate Global Green on their commitment to providing a benefit to the community by implementing innovative technologies that enable solar to operate during power disruptions." said Sergej Mahnovski, Director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Long Term Planning & Sustainability. "These innovative solutions reflect the goals of PlaNYC: A Stronger, More Resilient New York, the City's comprehensive resiliency plan."

“The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation is excited to be a part of this new partnership with Global Green USA’s Solar for Sandy Initiative,” said NYC Parks Deputy Commissioner Robert Garafola. “The initiative’s goal of building sustainable and resilient communities aligns with the mission of NYC Parks. The partnership will provide the Red Hook Recreation Center with renewable energy, it will increase the Center’s capacity to educate New Yorkers about climate change, and it will enable the Center to provide potential relief to the public in the wake of severe weather events. We look forward to working together with Global Green on this project that will benefit the environment and the community of Red Hook in the wake of last year’s Superstorm Sandy.”

Today’s announcement marks the one-year anniversary of the hurricane that overwhelmed the East coast last October when Sandy wreaked havoc on the historic Brooklyn neighborhood, leaving the Red Hook Recreation Center and local residents without power for weeks. The catalytic ‘Solar For Sandy’ program will provide an indispensable resource to this resilient community as it continues to rebuild and recover from the aftermath of the storm.

The solar installation will provide essential back-up energy capacity, help mitigate future power blackouts and provide expanded emergency services, making the recreation center a safe and reliable haven during crises. Upon completion of the build, the Red Hook community will have access to critical resiliency features, including:

  • A safe, lit and centrally-located gathering point;
  • Heating, cooling and ventilation;
  • Communications services, such as cell phone and laptop charging stations;
  • Energy efficient lights;
  • Refrigeration for food and emergency medicine.

Furthermore, the solar system will produce energy on an ongoing basis, lowering energy bills and resulting in overall savings for the Recreation Center. “Our vision for ‘Solar For Sandy’ is that it will serve as a model for future resilient, renewable energy projects across the country,” added Luevano, “especially when it comes to green rebuilding of low-lying, coastal neighborhoods devastated by natural disasters.”

“Collaborating with Global Green on this Sandy solar installation project at the Red Hook Recreation Center is a natural fit for IKEA. Not only are we committed to renewable energy with solar array installations on 39 IKEA US locations, but we also have a store in Red Hook, Brooklyn that was impacted by Sandy causing great hardships to our co-workers and customers. The Red Hook solar installation is a step forward; providing renewable energy on an everyday basis, as well as providing essential energy needs during future disasters,” commented Mike Ward, IKEA US president.

At this inaugural site, Global Green USA will install solar panels donated by Suntech Power Holdings Co. This installation is a model that Global Green hopes becomes standard in community and emergency centers in low lying, vulnerable areas. The Red Hook Recreation Center, one of 35 NYC Parks Recreation Centers citywide, offers cardio equipment, weight lifting, and exercise classes. In the summer, the park hosts an Olympic sized outdoor pool which draws thousands of visitors every year.

About IKEA
IKEA, the world's largest home furnishings retailer, was founded in 1943 in Sweden. Since that time, IKEA has offered home furnishings of good design, quality and function at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 340 IKEA stores in 41 countries, including 38 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, see IKEA-USA.com, facebook.com/IKEAUSA, @DesignByIKEA, and http://pinterest.com/IKEAUSA/.

About NYC Parks
NYC Parks is the steward of approximately 29,000 acres of land - 14 percent of New York City - including more than 5,000 individual properties ranging from Coney Island Beach and Central Park to community gardens and Greenstreets. We operate more than 800 athletic fields and nearly 1,000 playgrounds, 550 tennis courts, 66 public pools, 48 recreational facilities, 17 nature centers, 13 golf courses, and 14 miles of beaches. We care for 1,200 monuments and 23 historic house museums. We look after 650,000 street trees, and two million more in parks. We are New York City's principal providers of recreational and athletic facilities and programs. We are home to free concerts, world-class sports events, and cultural festivals.

About Global Green USA
Global Green USA is dedicated to helping the places, the people, and the planet in need through catalytic projects, transformative policy, and cutting-edge research. Global Green USA's signature programs include greening affordable housing, schools, neighborhoods, and cities as well as rebuilding communities - such as New Orleans and areas of New York and New Jersey - that have suffered from the impacts of climate change, sea level rise, and environmental degradation. Global Green USA is the U.S. affiliate of Green Cross International, which was founded by President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993 to foster a global value shift toward a sustainable and secure future. For more information, visit and follow us at @globalgreen.

CONTACTS

For GGUSA
Tina Vennegaard, 310-581-2700 x117 | tvennegaard@globalgreen.org
Matt Higgins, 215-584-7883 | mhiggins@groupsjr.com

For IKEA
Mona Astra Liss, 610-834-0180 x5852 | Mona.Liss@IKEA.com

For NYC Parks
Arthur Pincus/Meghan Lalor, 212-360-1311 | pressoffice@parks.nyc.gov



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