Karate Joint, Cigar Spot Get Grants to Go Green

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A martial arts academy and a cigar store are the latest to score grants that will allow them to become more eco-friendly.

The Lower East Side Ecology Center awarded the grants Wednesday night to the Chinese Hawaiian Kempo Academy and Maraya Cigar.

Rebecca Krauss, manager of EcoBizNYC, said the Ecology Center program assesses businesses in order to recommend environmentally friendly changes. “We focus on changes that are free, low-cost, or can potentially save money for businesses, and our program takes only a brief amount of time for the business owner,” she told The Local. Participants become eligible for grants of up to $1,000.

Over 210 neighborhood businesses have enrolled in the program so far, and 31 grants have been awarded over the past two years. Last spring, the Source Unltd. copy shop scored funds for a new awning. This time around, Maraya Cigar also received money for an awning and the Chinese Hawaiian Kempo Academy got a grant for window shades. The measures will allow the businesses to reduce the amount of air conditioning they use during the summer.

Previous grants have allowed for the purchase of LED lighting at Fab Cafe, Ost Cafe, Studio Mohair; hand dryers at Kumo Sushi, Roots & Vines, and Zum Schneider; and air conditioners at Brown, B-Side, and Rosario’s, among others.

The East Village Community Coalition co-hosted the awards ceremony at Sustainable NYC (another recent beneficiary of the program) in celebration of the sixth edition of “Get Local,” a guide to local shops.

Sara Romanoski, managing director of the Community Coalition, said the guidebook has been available since October, but the launch was delayed because of Sandy’s effect on the listed businesses. The new edition, available at shops around town, includes more than 400 local merchants, including those in the Bike-Friendly Business District.

The online version can be found here.