Greening NYC’s Affordable Housing

June 10, 2016

New York City has made ambitious commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 and to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in ten years. Buildings account for roughly 70 percent of our emissions but affordable housing building owners and developers face a number of obstacles and policy challenges to making their buildings more sustainable.

In 2014-15, NYLCVEF conducted a civic engagement campaign in partnership with the Community League of the Heights (CLOTH), a local community development corporation (CDC) in Washington Heights. The campaign raised support for city funding to support the green preservation of affordable housing. In 2015, through continued conversation with CLOTH’s leadership and our other local partners, we identified a need for further education and engagement with various stakeholders on the issue. In partnership with Enterprise Community Partners and NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, we decided to convene a forum on the many issues related to CLOTH’s important work and affordable housing through New York City.

On February 3rd, the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, Enterprise Community Partners and NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service co-hosted a policy forum on the Green Preservation of New York City’s Multi-Family Affordable Housing with generous support from Crauderueff and Associates.

Co-sponsored by NYU and Enterprise, and with generous support from Crauderueff and Associates, NYLCVEF hosted a policy forum entitled “Green Preservation of Multi-Family Affordable Housing” on February 3rd. In conversation with moderators Esther Toporovsky of Enterprise Community Partners and David Hepinstall of the Association for Energy Affordability, panelists from city and state agencies, utilities, and housing developers discussed the myriad barriers and opportunities for advancing green preservation of privately owned, publically supported buildings in NYC.

Each panel featured discussion of the complex and interrelated issues that must be considered when implementing sustainability retrofits for multi-family affordable housing, including education, financing, resiliency, and stakeholder collaboration. Panelists then took questions from the audience of students, issue experts, financial sector professionals, and community leaders.

The audience, as well as members of our second panel that primarily featured advocates and affordable housing developers, delivered a resounding consensus on the need for a “one-stop shop” for technical assistance and other retrofitting programs. Agency representatives discussed recent developments with New York City’s Retrofit Accelerator, designed for just such a purpose – and we believe that effective implementation of the Accelerator’s programs remains a key piece of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

< Back to Policy Forums

Related Articles

In September 2014, Mayor de Blasio announced an aggressive carbon reduction goal for New York City to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. In order to address some of the key topics and major challenges to reaching these goals, NYLCVEF hosted a 4-part forum series this summer to address the…

NYLCVEF educational forums bring together elected officials, environmental leaders, and the general public for discussion on timely environmental policy issues and their solutions.

On February 1st, 2017, the NYLCV Education Fund hosted a forum on the topic of green infrastructure in the Capital Region. The forum featured two panel discussions of policymakers and green infrastructure experts from around the state, including representatives from the Capital District Regional Planning Commission, Cornell University’s New York State Water Resources Institute, Albany…

On Tuesday, October 11th, top environmental experts ranging from leaders in academia, policy, green infrastructure, and community-based organizations held a policy forum at the Buffalo History Museum, the focus of the discussion focused on green infrastructure in the Buffalo-Niagara Region.  The forum was held in a two-panel discussion, both with an equal mix of interests…

Throughout the fall of 2014, NYLCVEF brought together experts from different industries to discuss three big ways New York City can mitigate flooding, improve green space, and reduce waste. Our Dig Deep for a Greener New York policy forum series focused on Green Infrastructure, Funding an Equitable Park System, and Organic Waste and Composting. On…

Excess levels of nitrogen plaguing Long Island waterways has resulted in several mass fish kills, shellfish losses, harmful algal blooms, wetlands destruction, and more. Earlier this week, NYLCVEF hosted a forum at Stony Brook University to discuss this issue that has been over 45 years in the making. Scientists, politicians, and environmentalists gathered to explore…

Though retrofitting buildings can help to save energy, many homeowners do not know how to go about making their homes more energy efficient and may be concerned about the associated costs. However, ‘greening’ a home can also have the benefit of increasing its market value, once homeowners know where to start. On June 5, 2013,…

In 2008 NYLCVEF launched its “Powering the Future” campaign. Our goal was to host a series of policy forums aimed at breaking through the clutter surrounding energy policy and providing policy makers and the general public with an unbiased and neutral arena to discuss these critical issues. Partnering with NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School…

Did you know that New York City ships 10,500 tons of residential waste to out-of-state landfills every day? That adds up to nearly 27 million miles a year — all on large, long-haul trucks that spew massive amounts of climate-warming emissions into our air. New York City is lagging behind other major cities in the…

Get Involved

THANK YOU TO OUR ECO-PARTNERS