After abandoning the old band-aid approach and adopting a “do it once” philosophy for capital projects, the Board of Directors of the Kimberley Gardens cooperative in Yonkers started debating how it could use its new state-of-the-art roofs.
“We asked ourselves how we could continue to make buildings green”, says the chairman of the board of directors Robert DiMartini. “We had insulated the heating pipes, put LED lights in the hallways and elevators, installed heat sensors in the apartments. We talked about installing solar panels on the rebuilt roofs, but with the help of our property manager, we realized that our location was more conducive to wind power than solar power.
And so the property manager, Valona Gjeka of Charles H. Greenthal, and the council set about putting together a team that produced a cutting-edge plan. Instead of covering all three roofs of the property with solar panels, he would use just 400 square feet on the roof of one of the six-story buildings to install a 12-foot-tall, 10-foot-wide array. wind turbinescalled a Windscreenmade by american wind in Huntsville, Ala. The wall of 108 turbines rotates as the wind turns, maximizing energy production.
“The area has an average wind speed of 10 mph, so it’s quite windy,” says Ted Rødormer of Net zero solutions, the distributor of American Wind products, noting that the WindWall generates electricity when wind speeds are as low as 1.5 mph. “The building is on a hill, above the treeline,” he adds. “The objective of the WindWall is not to go too far. The turbines have no friction, so they spin at lower wind speeds, which eliminates dangerous blades, noise and vibration, and it doesn’t harm birds either.
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Add Chris Schillerchairman of the consulting firm Resolution Energy“The technology itself is more efficient than solar, and the return on investment is much faster.”
Yonkers is in Westchester County, which has not required buildings to reduce their carbon emissions to specified levels. But Schiller works with many councils of cooperatives and condominiums in New York, where the Climate Mobilization Act will start imposing stiff fines in 2024 on buildings that fail to meet prescribed carbon emission caps. “For many buildings,” says Schiller, “the WindWall provides tremendous value. For some buildings, it will be the only way for them to comply with the Climate Action Act.
Although not under such a cheap gun, Yonkers Co-op is moving forward with the installation of a WindWall network which will include three backup batteries in the event of a power outage or a sharp drop in wind speed. The cost of material and installation will be between $650,000 and $900,000. With annual energy savings between $75,000 and $125,000the cooperative expects to recoup its investment in five years. The cooperative will also benefit from a one-time federal tax credit equal to 26% installation cost. Most of the initial cost of the project will come from Reserve fundand part will be taken from a Evaluation who paid for repairs to roofs and facades. The electricity produced by the wind turbines will help power the common areas of the buildings.
As it prepares to undertake its most ambitious capital project, the co-op’s board of directors feels a mix of emotions. “When you’re on the brink of something new, there’s always anxiety — it’s exciting, but also nerve-wracking,” says DiMartini, chairman of the board. “But I think we are going in the right direction.”
MAIN ACTORS — PROPERTY MANAGER: Charles H. Greenthal. CONSULTANT: Energy Resolution. DISTRIBUTOR: Net Zero Solutions. CONTRACTOR: B&G Mechanical. MANUFACTURER: American Wind.