Davis & Warshow, an 85-year-old family run business
that is the region’s premier dealer of kitchen and bath fittings, has powered up New York City’s
largest private-sector solar installation at its Queens headquarters. The initiative crowns the
company’s Practically Green program, a pragmatic, small steps approach to going green that
was inaugurated two years ago.
The installation, which encompasses 1,038 panels affixed to the roofs of three buildings within
the company’s 250,000-square-foot complex on Maspeth Creek, will produce in excess of
270,000 kWh of clean energy annually, enough to satisfy more than a third of the facility’s usage.
The energy output potential of this system makes it the largest private-sector installation in
New York City, according to Sustainable CUNY, the lead implementer of the New York City Solar
America Cities Partnership, a U.S. Department of Energy Program. Other benefits of the PV
system include the elimination of more than 235,000 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution, more
than 757 pounds of sulfur dioxide pollution, and 263 pounds of nitrous oxide annually, making
it equivalent to the planting of 18 acres of trees.
“When we first issued our Practically Green manifesto, we knew that we’d be taking baby steps
toward making Davis & Warshow green,” said David Finkel, company president. “The move
to solar is a giant leap for a company our size, and we’re proud that it’s such a substantial
achievement among New York City’s environmental improvements. We believe it is important
for even the smallest business to do its share and reduce its environmental impact without
adversely affecting the bottom line. We’re finding that our commitment has both environmental
and economical payoffs, thanks to a number of state and federal programs in which we participated.”
The solar panels top buildings housing corporate offices and a central warehouse. It is a site
that is surrounded by low-rise neighbors with substantial southern sunlight exposure, making it
ideal for an installation of this kind.
To finance the project, D&W obtained Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds through
the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), including NYSERDA
incentives worth $453,606, a one-time treasury grant of $393,650 and annual, fouryear
property tax abatements of $75,123. Finkel estimates that in three to four years Davis &
Warshow will recoup its nearly $900,000 investment in the photovoltaic system, which features
panels installed by National Grid Energy Management working in concert with Solar Energy
“The challenge, and long-term goal of becoming carbon-neutral may seem insurmountable,”
said Finkel, “but gradual steps, as we’ve undertaken, do add up. I think our actions prove
that smaller companies can make a big impact on the environment, whether they encourage
employees to carpool, install low flow fixtures in their restrooms, or retrofit their facilities so that
heating, cooling, lighting and all operations are more energy efficient. We’re proud to serve as a
model and can confirm that going green in a practical manner is a surprisingly painless process.”
Since plumbing products are Davis & Warshow’s stock-in-trade, the company was especially
mindful of the water-saving innovations it could apply to its own sustainability goals. According
to Finkel, D&W’s facilities—which include seven showrooms and eight warehouses—have
converted to dual-flush toilets, waterless urinals, and faucets with low-flow aerators and infrared
sensors. He said all locations serve as test labs for the eco-friendly products the company
sells. Bottled water has been banned in favor of clean drinking water filtered by systems that
also are among its product portfolio.
“What’s most rewarding is that the work practices have helped raise the consciousness
of many of our employees, who are taking the green experience home and trying to apply it to
their daily lives beyond work,” said Finkel.
Davis & Warshow, New York City’s premier kitchen and bath distributor, has been serving New
York City’s wholesale and retail plumbing needs for more than 85 years. With 7 showrooms and
8 wholesale locations and nearly 300 employees in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester,
the company’s unparalleled selection and unmatched service have earned national accolades,
including Supply House Times “Wholesaler of the Year” in 1988 and 2003, and “Showroom
of the Year” in 2010. Davis & Warshow is 100 percent owned by its employees. For more
information, visit www.dwny.com.