We already know the innovative program NYC Clean Heat is yielding tremendous results: soot pollution from buildings in New York City has fallen by more than 50 percent since 2011, preventing an estimated 800 deaths and 2,000 hospital visits due to lung and cardiovascular diseases annually. That hard work by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the City of New York, and our partners has now been recognized –again.
The Association of Energy Service Professionals has given NYC Clean Heat an award for Outstanding Achievement in Non-Residential Program Design & Implementation. We are honored to receive this award from such a distinguished organization and believe it shows that a program like NYC Clean Heat is both necessary and replicable.
EDF partnered with the City to create NYC Clean Heat in 2012, which forged a diverse coalition of the financial, real estate, and non-profit communities, to launch a $100 million financing program to help phase out dirty heating oils. The program helped 4,000 buildings – half of them affordable housing – convert to cleaner, more efficient heating oils.
This latest award follows recognition in 2013 from the Citizens Budget Commission for Outstanding Public Service Innovation. EDF has always believed in the NYC Clean Heat program design – which marries technical assistance with access to financing – and is gratified to see others believe in it as well.
Indeed, New York City Mayor de Blasio is using NYC Clean Heat as a blueprint for the ‘retrofit accelerator,’ which will address building-wide energy efficiency as part of his aggressive plan to reduce carbon emissions in the city 80 percent by 2050.
The retrofit accelerator program will use the successful NYC Clean Heat model to upgrade 20,000 private buildings, 40 percent of them low-income housing. By connecting building managers with technical experts to help them with the retrofits, as well as financing opportunities to fund the energy efficiency upgrades, the retrofit accelerator stands to be just as effective as NYC Clean Heat.
Luckily, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, which oversees the retrofit accelerator program, is in good hands with its new director, Nilda Mesa. Mesa has a proven track record when it comes to environmental work in New York City and even has history with NYC Clean Heat. Previously, she worked at Columbia University where she helped wean many of its buildings off of dirty heating oil.
We look forward to working with Mesa and her office to ensure the successful NYC Clean Heat model is both expanded to include energy efficiency and replicable to reach other cities around the globe.