Hochul Announces $24 Million to Reduce Carbon Emissions in NYCHA Housing


Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers remarks in Buffalo, New York on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6, 2021.
Video screenshot courtesy of the Office of the Governor of New York.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced last week a $24 million pilot program aimed at reducing carbon emissions and improving the overall energy performance of affordable housing developments in New York City. Participating agencies include the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), as reported by YIMBY.


The pilot program is expected to support upgrades in approximately 1,200 living units of affordable housing and benefit 3,000 low-to-moderate income residents and government officials have said that funding amounts will vary on a project-by-project basis determined by a demonstrated need and the scope of work.


“This new partnership between NYSERDA and HPD will make it easier for affordable housing developments in New York City to access funding and retrofit their buildings for clean energy usage,” said Hochul. “Partnerships like this are moving us closer to achieving the State’s ambitious climate goals as we continue to seek out new and innovative ways to incorporate clean energy into our daily routines and lives.”


According to the impacted government agencies, the partnership will facilitate a streamlined funding process through which affordable housing property owners can access NYSERDA incentives without minimal administrative work. It is expected that these incentives will help offset the cost of upgrades necessary to improve the building’s energy performance and emissions. High-priced upgrades can include transitioning from fossil fuel-based heating and cooling to an electric system, facade replacement, the installation of heat recovery systems, or the replacement of traditional incandescent lighting with modern LEDs.


Doreen M. Harris, NYSERDA president and CEO said, “Through this partnership, we will demonstrate a simplified process for electrifying affordable housing, while developing replicable new retrofit approaches in order to reduce statewide emissions.”


Park Avenue Green, a new affordable housing community in the South Bronx is among the largest Passive House affordable developments in New York.
Photo courtesy of Bright Power

According to government officials, when the program launches in the fall, NYSERDA will provide, and later disburse, nearly $22 million in incentives, alongside HPD financing, directly to project developers. NYSERDA will also fund a Technical Assistance Provider to assist pilot participants and HPD in implementing electrification upgrades throughout the design, construction, and post-construction phases.


The program falls in line with New York State’s Climate Mobilization Act, described as a progressive package of laws that aimed to reduce carbon emissions by 85 percent by 2050, among other efficiency goals. The package also establishes hefty fines for buildings that exceed emissions limits.


The announcement is timely given the issue of climate change has seen renewed focus in the State and across the country in the wake of the devastation caused by Storm Ida, as reported, with calls from many elected officials to pass appropriate climate legislation sooner rather than later.


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, author of the Green New Deal, said on Sept. 2, in the wake of Storm Ida, “The fossil fuel industry and the future of humanity are fundamentally incompatible, and our window to act is closing.” She added, “The choice is clear: invest in renewable energy and prepare our infrastructure for a rapidly changing climate, or do nothing and lose countless lives as our planet becomes uninhabitable.


Applications for the new program funding will be accepted, upon launch, in the fall until the end of 2024 or until funds have been exhausted.


Meanwhile, on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6, the governor held a press conference in Buffalo where she signed into law the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (“NY HERO Act”). The new legislation obliges private employers to devise health and safety plans which target the spread of any future airborne infectious diseases. The full press conference can be watched here.


For more on the recent storm recovery efforts, click here, here and here.



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