Owen Wilson Powers Low-Income South Bronx Housing!

It’s been a grim few months for Owen Wilson, but he’ll have a reason to be chipper if he heads to the South Bronx next Monday.

The Fordham-Bedford Housing Corporation is announcing a week from today that Jacob’s Place, a green affordable housing development on Webster Avenue in Fordham, has been completed. And they’re unveiling its solar panels, which Mr. Wilson happens to have indirectly bought, thanks to the eerie-sounding Solar Neighbors Program.

That program, spearheaded by thespian Ed Norton, contributes a green energy system to low-income housing whenever a celebrity buys solar panels, too. Isn’t Hollywood grand?

In this case, the 11-kilowatt, 64-panel solar “photovoltaic” system (which powers the building’s common area lighting, ventilation and elevators) was made possible for Jacob’s Place because of Mr. Wilson’s personal purchase.

Here’s one way to think about all this: A bank of South Bronx elevators is basically being powered by the inherent goodness of Owen Wilson.

On the other hand, Mr. Wilson didn’t have to personally do all that much. A spokesperson for affordable housing builders Enterprise said Mr. Wilson paid full price for a bunch of solar panels for his own home use, knowing that “he would be helping a low-income affordable housing complex receive the system.” (Enterprise and oil giant BP, which makes the solar panels, are the actual donors here).

Meanwhile, Jacob’s House also happens to have a 3,900-square-foot “Zero Floor Green Roof,” which limits storm water impact on the sewer system and such. The press release, which describes other good things like recycled tires and rain water collectors, is below.



MEDIA ADVISORY FOR Monday, October 15, 2007Enterprise and Fordham-Bedford Housing Corporation to Unveil Solar Panel Unit at one of NYC’s Most Environmentally Sustainable Affordable Housing Developments

What: Jacob’s Place Ribbon Cutting (Bronx) – Enterprise, the city’s leading nonprofit provider of affordable housing, and Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation will announce the completion of Jacob’s Place, a 63-unit green affordable housing development in the Bronx. The project includes numerous innovative green elements, including a solar panel unit donated through the Solar Neighbors Program sponsored by Enterprise and BP, as well as a green roof and playground. The Solar Neighbors Program is the brainchild of producer, actor and director Edward Norton, an Enterprise Trustee.

When: Monday, October 15, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. (speaking program)

Media Tour and Photo Opportunity at 10:15 am

Who: Abby Jo Sigal, Enterprise Vice President and Director of NY office; John Reilly, Executive Director, Fordham Bedford; Shaun Donovan, Commissioner, HPD; Jose Serrano, Congressman, 16th District, the Bronx; Elliot J. Hobbs, JP Morgan Chase Vice President; Cindy Wymore, BP

Where: Jacob’s Place, 2348 Webster Avenue, Bronx, NY (north of 184th Street)

Under the Solar Neighbors Program, every time a participating celebrity purchases a BP solar system for their home, BP donates a similar system to be installed on a low-income family’s home. An affordable housing developer partner is selected by Enterprise to be the recipient of a solar panel. Jacob’s Place was given an 11 Kilowatt 64 panel solar photovoltaic system that will power common area lighting, ventilation and elevators. The solar panel donation to Jacob’s Place was made possible by the actor Owen Wilson, who purchased a solar unit for his home.

Jacob’s Place – named in honor of the late Astin Jacobo, a longtime community leader from the Crotona section of the Bronx – includes numerous innovative green elements that preserve health and save energy while reducing emissions, including solar panels, a green roof and a rainwater harvesting system for irrigation.

…The green elements in Jacob’s Place are intended to preserve the health of residents, save on energy costs, and reduce overall emissions to combat global warming. In addition to the solar panel, the project includes a 3900 square foot Zero Floor Green Roof to limit storm water impact on the sewer system, provide a cool surface for the 8th floor of the building and allow for more efficient operation of the solar array. The green space and playground, meanwhile, has a porous safety surface made from recycled tires, and a system for rainwater to be collected and used for irrigation.

Additional green elements include: Low VOC paint; Low E, argon filled windows to improve building insulation; Use of bamboo, recycled ceramic tile and linoleum (100% “No VCT” project); energy efficient elevators and appliances.


Owen Wilson Powers Low-Income South Bronx Housing!