The city schools are about to get an electric jolt, Mayor Eric Adams and officials said Friday.
Hizzoner unveiled a plan to get rid of dirty oil burning boilers in some 100 schools and replace them with cleaner electric heaters, which will run on New York’s power grid and not burn fuel on property, officials said.
The $4 billion green energy program in city schools will start in areas with “real asthma issues” and other health-related factors, Adams said. All new schools that will be built in the city will also have fully electric heating.
The program will reduce as much pollution as removing 26,000 cars from the city’s streets, the mayor said.
“This will be the single most impactful energy initiative under this administration to reduce emissions for city government operations,” Adams said at P.S. 5 Dr. Ronald McNair in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
The small elementary school will be the first in the Big Apple to stop burning oil, officials said.
Bed-Stuy has one of the top 10 highest asthma rates of all neighborhoods citywide. Nearly 4% of all children ages 0-17 in the area had to go to the ER for the respiratory condition annually, according to city data.
Roughly 60,000 city school kids in grades K through 8 have active asthma, the report found.
The citywide project will also install efficient LED lighting in 800 schools — roughly half of all Department of Education buildings.
“You have two mothers, I like to say you have the mom that gave birth to you, and you have Mother Earth. And we must love both those mothers, because one gave birth, the other sustains us,” Adams said.
The program should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 120,000 tons annually, according to a press release.
As a start, some 200 schools will keep producing power for heat onsite, but will switch from No. 4 heating oil for ultra-low sulfur biofuel.
The move away from the highly polluting substance was already required under local law, but shifts up the timeline for implementation by a few years.
The city will also start with a $520-million investment to electrify 19 schools in the next two years, growing to the total of 100 schools by 2030.
“This is just the start, and our goal is to continue to move forward,” said Adams.
The mayor also sold the program as a jobs plan with a $13-million investment in a future green workforce, including electricians, plumbers, steam fitters and machinists.
“What this project is going to do for us first of all, it’s going to make sure that this environment where our children are learning is going to be a safe and clean environment for them,” said P.S. 5 Principal Lena Gates. “For our community, it’s going to clean up the air in our community.”
“These are the children that’s going to pick up this project and move with it. We’re doing this for them,” Gates said.
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