News City agencies, utilities make strides in green upgrades The city's first biogas facility at Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Greenpoint. Photo Credit: NYC Department of Environmental Protection By IVAN PEREIRA firstname.lastname@example.org @IvanPer4 Updated April 17, 2014 5:37 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email From utilities to government agencies, New York has made major strides in making a greener Big Apple. Here are some of the programs, initiatives and infrastructure improvements that took place this year and are planned for the near future. Con Edison The electricity provider said it worked to make sure it didn't sacrifice power for environment. Upgrades to two of its steam facilities at 59th and 74th streets last year allowed it to reduce 148,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Con Ed also encouraged its residential customers to go green themselves by switching to natural gas, and last year 1,500 1-to-4 family residences in the five boroughs and Westchester made the conversion. The utility also pushes its customers to think about going solar, and demand for that alternative has gone up. More than 2,000 solar projects, producing nearly 40 megawatts of renewable power have been completed in Con Ed's service area, a big increase from 2010 when it had 8.5 megawatts of solar generation in its system. For those customers who are debating whether to outfit their roofs with solar panels, the utility provided technical assistance for nycsolarmap.com, which shows people the solar potential of their building. City Department of Environmental ProtectionThe city's agency that manages its water supply unveiled several projects to make sure all of their facilities were cleaner. In December, it announced a partnership with the city sanitation department to produce the city's first biogas facility at Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Organic pre-processed organic food waste is delivered to the plant and added to the wastewater sludge to increase the production of cleaner biogas. National grid will convert that biogas into renewable natural gas and reduce 90,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas. Another ongoing DEP project will not only improve the health of the several of the city's water bodies but also create new green spaces. The agency and the Trust for Public Land partnered to create 40 new school playgrounds that will include green infrastructure to capture stormwater when it rains. Once completed, the playgrounds will ease pollution at the Gowanus Canal, Newtown Creek, Westchester Creek, the Bronx River, Flushing Bay and Jamaica Bay. Verizon The communications company said it has encouraged its customers to recycle their old phones when they trade in and response has been good. About 2.1 million phones were recycled nationally under their zero-landfill policy. It also helped to create several solar-powered charging stations in the city that offer cellphone customers a green way to keep their devices powered on the go. By IVAN PEREIRA email@example.com @IvanPer4 Ivan has been a staff reporter with amNewYork since May 2012 and covers breaking news, politics and enterprise stories. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.