Howard Avenue: NYCHA's Energy Efficiency Pilot Project

BACKGROUND

Since 2015, the New York Housing Authority (NYCHA) has been working with New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) to bring the benefits of weatherization to NYCHA's smaller multifamily buildings. Of NYCHA's 326 developments, 160 developments are single stand-alone buildings, low-rise walkups, or small multifamily buildings like Howard Avenue. NYCHA, HCR, and Sunset Park Revelopment Committee, Inc. (SPRC) announced in May 2017 the completion of a comprehensive, $1 million energy efficiency pilot project at Howard Avenue Houses in Brooklyn. This is the first NYCHA development to receive assistance through the program, which is sponsored by the New York State Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), the largest residential energy conservation program in the country. The project was part of a larger effort by NYCHA to provide energy efficiency upgrades to NYCHA developments and advance the goals outlined in the NextGeneration NYCHA Sustainability Agenda.

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SOLUTIONS

The WAP grant provided approximately $760,000 for the project, while Con Edison contributed $31,000 to cover a portion of the lighting installation costs through its Brooklyn-Queens Neighborhood Program. Howard Avenue received upgrades to lighting, heating, and ventilation systems.

“While the WAP program benefits the environment and assists to offset the owner investment for upgrades, which in some ‘small home cases’ can be completely free of charge; ultimately, the tenants are the ones who experience the day to day health benefit and realize the monthly savings to their energy bills,” said SPRC Executive Director Gary Brown during the rededication of the Howard Ave property.

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A recent evaluation of the Weatherization Program conducted by the National Renewable Energy Lab found that this work reduces heating costs by 20% or more in multifamily buildings in New York City, and has positive health benefits for residents. The energy savings resulting from this program will help NYCHA meet its goal to reduce energy intensity by 20 percent by 2025 as part of HUD’s Better Buildings Challenge, and will also contribute to the greenhouse gas emission-reduction goals of the NYC Carbon Challenge and OneNYC.

A full list of energy upgrades includes:

  • New windows
  • New boilers
  • Interior air sleeve covers/draft prevention inserts
  • ENERGY STAR® refrigerators
  • Water-conserving showerheads
  • Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
  • New bathroom ventilation fans
  • LED fixtures and lighting in apartments, common areas, and corridors
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OTHER BENEFITS

The upgrades to Howard Avenue will improve the quality of life for NYCHA residents by providing brighter lighting, better air quality, and heating that is more consistent and comfortable. “I’m really happy NYCHA did this. We needed it,” said Howard Avenue Resident Association President Rose Clifton. “We got these new windows, new vents in the bathroom, and I really enjoy the lighting they put outside because now you can see everything. Residents are so happy because everything is so much better around here.”

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Annual Energy Use

(Source EUI)
Baseline (2016)
158 kBtu/sq.ft.
Actual (2018)
101 kBtu/sq.ft.

Energy Savings:

36%

Annual Energy Cost

Baseline (2015)
$278,000
Estimated (2020)
$158,000

Cost Savings:

$120,000

Sector Type

Multifamily

Location

Brooklyn, New York

Project Size

133,000 square feet

Financial Overview

Project Cost: $791,000

Energy Efficient boilers installed at Howard Avenue
Energy Efficient boilers installed at Howard Avenue