Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens New Redevelopment Will Be Carbon Neutral

September 21, 2022

ASTORIA – Queens Borough President Donovan Richards joined Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens (VBGCQ), in collaboration with Mega Development and Ettinger Engineering Associates, on September 20 to announce their new redevelopment will be carbon neutral. The project will be Carbon Neutral-Ready and will fully electrify all building systems while simultaneously certifying to USGBC’s LEED Gold rating.

While in the design phase, the project is actively studying the potential to:

  • Utilize ground source heat pumps for heating/cooling in the Club space and generating project domestic hot water,
  • Deploy an electrical battery system that can either supplant or supplement its code required, gas‐fired emergency generator, and
  • Self‐baseline its embodied carbon footprint and reduce this by at least 10%.

On the back of the above, the Club is pleased to have been able to submit a proposal for the project to the highly coveted NYSERDA Buildings of Excellence competition and anxiously awaits the release of awards this year.

“This Climate Week, the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens is proud to unveil our plans to build our new building carbon neutral and have it function as a renewable energy learning lab. For too long our community has borne the brunt of fossil fuel technology polluting our backyard. Now our kids will see the energy revolution on a firsthand basis learning how we go green right here in Western Queens. We are excited to help the scientists of the 21st century on their first steps toward leading the way. Thank you to Queens Borough President Richards, Mega Development, Ettinger and our Board of Directors here at VBGCQ for their commitment to this vision,” said Costa Constantinides, VBGCQ CEO.

Emanuel Kokinakis of Mega Development at the press conference announcing the carbon neutral redevelopment at Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens. Photo: Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens

“I commend The Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens for showcasing just how committed Queens is to leading by example in the fight for environmental justice by ensuring their redevelopment project is carbon neutral,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “By operating as a renewable energy learning lab, they are also giving our future generations the education they need to beat climate change. On behalf of the Astoria community and the whole borough, we thank Costa and all our partners for leading in our efforts to build a better, more sustainable tomorrow.”

New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said: “To protect our community and our country from the climate crisis, Queens needs to lead. I’m proud to represent the Variety Boys and Girls Club, soon to be home to a new carbon-neutral facility, and commend their continued efforts to make our community stronger and healthier.”

“Mega is proud to partner with the Variety Boys & Girls Club and the Institute for Community Living on this project to deliver a new state of the art Boys & Girls Club space and 229 much needed affordable and supportive housing units to the Astoria and Long Island City communities. This project will serve as a pillar for the children and families of these communities and shape tomorrow’s future. We at Mega strive to be at the forefront of energy efficient development and construction and in collaboration with our design partners have the goal of achieving a Carbon Neutral-Ready design and certify to USGBC’s LEED Gold rating for the Boys and Girls Club space,” said Mega Development.

“The communities with the poorest health and mental health outcomes are disproportionately impacted by pollution and other environmental factors. An important part of ICL’s whole health approach is ensuring that the people we serve are living in a healthy physical environment. We are proud to partner with the Variety Boys & Girls Club and Mega Contracting Group to create a model for providing supportive and affordable housing in an energy efficient, sustainable building, that will good for both the environment and the residents who will call it home,” said Jody Rudin, President and CEO of the Institute for Community Living.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards joined Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens (VBGCQ), in collaboration with Mega Development and Ettinger Engineering Associates, on September 20 to announce their new redevelopment will be carbon neutral. Photo: Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens

“With CHPE, we’re proud to provide clean power directly to NYC and to support science, technology, engineering and math programming at the club. A successful energy transition will be built on partnerships grounded in dialogue and trust with stakeholders, not only shareholders,” said Serge Abergel, COO, Hydro-Quebec Energy Services.

The VBGCQ Redevelopment Project will be a mixed use building containing 229 affordable and supportive housing units and a newly constructed landmark of 123,000 square foot Club space. The Club will use its redevelopment to build and expand upon its current community standing as a nexus for educating, promoting, and cultivating sustainable practices. There will be interactive screens that’ll show energy and water usage, carbon footprint, solar power production and more. The club will use its new STEM labs as a living renewable energy lab to facilitate curricula and programs embodying the above.

With a project sponsor like Costa Constantinides, former Councilmember and Chairperson of the NYC Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, the existing facility is already on an active mission to promote clean energy. However, the redevelopment embodies how a long-standing community partner can both lead the way and actively promote sustainable and cost effective design practices in tandem with advocating for a carbon‐neutral future.

A rendering of the carbon neutral building. Photo: Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens

The apartments will be designed utilizing Passive House principles that vastly improve building envelope performance and drastically reduce heating and cooling energy use. The project will install a 125+ KW rooftop solar photovoltaic system that will offset over 10% of the annual residential electrical demand. The central courtyard will comprise a vegetable garden for use by both, the club and residential tenants, and will include bioretention planter boxes that will retain stormwater on-site. MERV 13 and UV filters will be used in select high‐traffic locations in both the Club and residential program to maintain improved air quality in the post‐COVID landscape.


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