The Real Deal New York

De Blasio’s housing policy lacks green cred: OPINION

Superstorm Sandy showed retrofitting is needed to protect vulnerable New Yorkers

June 13, 2014 05:30PM

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From left: Rory Christian, post-Sandy flooding in Red Hook and Bill de Blasio

From left: Rory Christian, post-Sandy flooding in Red Hook and Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $41 billion affordable housing plan would provide more benefits to poor New Yorkers if it tackled energy efficiency, Rory Christian, New York director of clean energy at the Environmental Defense Fund, argued in a Crain’s editorial.

The fact that nearly half of properties affected by Superstorm Sandy were rent-stabilized, subsidized or housed low-income tenants lends urgency to the issue, Christian wrote.

The administration should empower building owners to retrofit properties to become more sustainable by expanding the scope of the NYC Clean Heat program, according to Christian. The program, which de Blasio extended beyond its June 30 termination date, is currently focused solely on converting buildings to cleaner heating fuels.

Such an initiative would provide owners with the technical assistance they need to upgrade insulation, windows, electricity meters and heating and cool systems, Christian wrote, all of which would slash energy bills.

An expanded program could also help owners integrate systems that generate on-site renewable energy such as solar panels – technology that could help New Yorkers weather power outages. [Crain's]Tom DiChristopher

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