In December, NYC became the largest city in the country to agree to phase out the use of fossil fuels in all new buildings. The New York City Council has passed a bill prohibiting natural gas hookups in new buildings, beginning next year.
NYC’s largest source of carbon emissions is from buildings- at 27%, more than double the amount that building emissions account for in other places (13% in the US as a whole), more than transportation, waste or any other category.
Appliances that run on gas — stoves, furnaces, boilers, and water heaters — also come at another cost. When natural gas combusts indoors, a mix of particulate matter, nitrogen and sulfur oxides, and volatile organic compounds is released — air pollutants that have harmful effects on respiratory and cardiovascular health. Gas-fueled appliances are also frequent emitters of methane, a more impactful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
With the new bill, New Yorkers can expect to see some changes by the end of 2023, when developers of new buildings under seven stories won’t be allowed to put in natural gas-powered stoves, boilers, or water heaters. Instead, these buildings will use electricity, relying on a mix of technologies like heat pumps and induction stoves to replace gas and oil.
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Lead has been flagged as a known health hazard for more than 40 years, but contaminated paint, dust and soil is still a problem in older NYC buildings and neighborhoods that had a lot of automobile traffic during the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Complete removal is difficult, and while cases of lead poisoning in children have been declining steadily since the first lead mitigation building regulations were established in 2004, the demolition and renovation of so many older buildings over the past decade has only added to the problem. The city had originally hoped to completely eliminate lead poisoning by 2010. Unfortunately it was not to be. However, with proper action taken by landlords, and enforcement by city agencies charged with monitoring this issue, New York City can move closer towards its stated goal.
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Ascendant Neighborhood Development (AND), an affordable housing company working in East and Central Harlem, has been working since 2015 on a plan to renovate and modernize 21 buildings in its portfolio, and Solar One is delighted to have partnered with AND on the solar portion of their strategy.
Our Here Comes Solar Affordable Solar team did the site assessments and provided technical advice to AND about which of their buildings were best suited for solar installations, and did the estimates of how big the systems could be and how much electricity they could generate. As a result, AND will be installing a 197 kW array, which will generate more than 235,000 kWh every year- enough to provide electricity to all the common areas of all 21 Ascendant Heritage buildings.
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This post was originally published on the Here Comes Solar blog, and was written by Affordable Solar Program Manager Anika Wistar-Jones.
It’s finally here, the dream of solar enthusiasts all over the city: solar for apartments. For years, while single-family homeowners have been installing solar right and left, New Yorkers have clamored for solar that fits the city lifestyle where most people don’t own their apartments, let alone the roof several floors above them. So New York State made it possible to participate in what’s called “Community Shared Solar”, where one large array – in a field or on a warehouse roof – can send solar credits to anyone in the same utility zone. After months of planning and building, for the first time, this is possible in New York City, and you can join now.
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Solar One, GRID Alternatives Tri-State and Co-op Power today announced the launch of Affordable Solar New York. The nonprofit initiative will bring low-cost solar power to affordable housing providers in New York, which provide critical housing and services to low-income residents. Solar can significantly reduce energy costs for both operators and tenants, yet up-front costs, credit scores and complex financing remain significant barriers for this sector to access the technology.
Affordable Solar New York will address these barriers by providing no-cost technical assistance, reduced-cost installation and zero-down financing options to Housing Development Fund Corporation cooperatives and other affordable housing providers in New York City. Projects will include both job training and energy efficiency education opportunities for residents.
“To reach Mayor de Blasio’s landmark OneNYC vision for a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient New York City, all New Yorkers will need the ability to tap into the cost and energy saving benefits that solar energy can provide,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “I applaud Solar One, GRID Alternatives, and Co-op Power on the launch of Affordable Solar New York, an important step toward a more inclusive energy landscape in New York City.”
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Solar One’s newest initiative Here Comes Solar helps homeowners aggregate their economic power and physical proximity to “solarize” their communities, one block at a time.
Check out this article from DNAInfo that explains how it’s done, how homeowners feel about the process and then go to the Here Comes Solar website and fill out the survey to see whether your home might be a good fit for solar!