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Habitat Magazine July/August 2020 free digital issue

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Not Glamourous, But a Real Money-Saver

Mike MacGowan has worked as support staff for almost a lifetime. “I grew up in Yorkville, on the East Side of Manhattan, and I went to work at the Children’s Aid Society on 88th Street,” he says. “I went there as a child, and they hired me as a custodian. I just outgrew that job, I guess.”

Moving on to bigger and better things seems to be a pattern for MacGowan. Since working that first custodial job, he’s been a resident manager for 31 years, the last 16 at the York River House at 1175 York Avenue at 63rd Street. There, he manages a staff of 16, one commercial garage, and 220 residential apartments. One of his “bigger and better” projects has been upgrading the lights in the fire stairs.

“We use motion-sensor LED light fixtures – they save energy and cut down on the electrical bill,” says MacGowan. “We put in about 60 fixtures.” With these particular fixtures, small LEDs are on all the time, but when a door is opened, a motion sensor is activated and a fluorescent light turns on. Since the fluorescents are not on constantly, “we’re saving money. And there’s an emergency backup, so if the power does go down, the light comes on for about 90 minutes.” The installation itself was done by the staff members, who put in 20 fixtures at a time. Having staff install the new fixtures compounded the savings. And that was a win-win for everyone.

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